COINCIDENCE BEHAVING BADLY & GONZO STATISTICS
I’m gonna get you kids. No matter where you go, no matter what you do, I’ll find you! Oh, you are so deceased! – Count Olaf
I thought it worth casting an eye over shenanigans unfolding like a slow-mo face-pieing in British Tabloid Land. The sheer number of bizarre coincidences involved, the statistical improbability of their taking place in anything like the concentration involved seems worthy of investigation in its own right. Is it possible for such a confluence of coincidences to take place or, are we in fact, seeing some new and previously unknown phenomenon in the making?
My curiosity was piqued during Murdoch’s recent testifying before the British Government’s Committee for Ignoring-the-Bleeding-Obvious. As the inquiry hunkered down to investigate the corrupt and criminal practices of his News of the World the ageless nonagerian was slam-dunked by an artificial cream pie (can’t pranksters afford real pies anymore – or is there some insurance proviso preventing the use of good British home-baked custard pies?). This ersatz pie being as close to real justice as the geriatric fraudster is likely to come.
While Murdoch’s numerous apologists – and it seems there are many both within and outside the Murdoch-camp – jostle to apologise for and sing his praises the real story of gonzo statistics is being ignored.
The tally begins with the ‘coincidental’ death,from ‘natural causes’, of Sean Hoare, the News of the World journalist-turned-whistle-blower:
“Yes, your honour it looks as though he tripped and fell onto the bullet causing it to lodge in his brain!”
In yet another coincidence, the investigating body, Scotland Yard, has been rocked by the resignation of former top-cops, assistant commissioner John Yates and Sir Paul Stephenson. Both cops had – you guessed it – coincidentally admitted to accepting bribes to pass information to Murdoch’s NOTW.
And there’s more! Can you guess who has been investigating Sean Hoare’s demise? Select the correct answer below:
A. The News of the World
B. DCI Tom Barnaby from Midsomer Murders
C. Scotland Yard
D. Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Grainger
If you though C. you were right – though DCI Barnaby or Harry, Ron and Hermione might be expected to be to be more objective in the pursuit of any wrongdoing.
Again coincidence at work! All we need to discover is that the pie-chucker was employed by Murdoch’s empire to elicit sympathy for the venal old coot for the circle to be complete.
Then there was the matter of the coot’s protege, Rebecca Brooks. Brooks’ calm assurance that NOTW had paid police for information – despite a statue on the books making this a crime (no biggie for News Corp. apparently) – followed buy her equally assured admission that they had not paid must be reckoned happenstance of a very high order.
The misunderstanding about the issue of bribery being explained by the fact that Ms. Brooks had thought it acceptable to bribe police in another parallel universe similar to this one. The confusion being highly understandable.
Most improbably, after years of cultivating corrupt, dishonest and illegal journalistic behaviour at the NOTW – just how many record breaking pay-outs can one newspaper have awarded against it ? – Mr. Murdoch continues to claim no responsibility.
Coincidence or not – you be the judge.
And finally, what of the coincidence-topping coincidence that the NOTW has been caught with its pants down, yet again doing things with the neighbour’s cat and an electronic device that defies description?
In the words of the poet “Who woulda thunk it?”
Be assured astute readers that while the investigation continues the Indolent Grasshopper will continue to report the facts… unless coincidence raises its ugly head!
Separated at birth ?