Why numbers no longer win arguments

A number in the news is no longer a cold fact, it is a killer fact,
with all the murderous zeal that word implies. Journalists everywhere
know the meaning of the phrase, the dagger of detail that runs the
opposition through: the 23% up! The £16m wasted! The 140,000 children!

For an example, try 271. I have it on reliable
authority that this is the percentage increase in the money supply in
the US in five months. There, he’s gone cold on me again, you’re
thinking. But stay a moment. This is the killer fact in a piece by a
smart, famous former senior advisor to President Clinton.

The
point is obvious. The economy is in weirdness overdrive, things are out
of control, cash is flooding through nook and cranny, but barely a cent
is spent.

Feel the peril. 271%! — BBC News