My friend Douglas Pressman noticed this recent story about road rage and gender:
It is, of course, preposterous in the extreme, and a lesson in how awfully the commercial media often handle basic surveys and statistics.
As anybody with any substantial time on the cars-first roads knows, there is absolutely no way women are more into road rage than men.
So, how did this survey find that up is down and black is white? By asking respondents how often they feel road rage.
Of course, feeling outraged is not road rage. Road rage is aggressive driving triggered by feeling outraged.
This survey might say something about the gendering of emotional awareness and honesty, but it is preposterous as a way of knowing who does road rage. Asking about feelings to measure that is like watching the storks for signs of new babies.
The real measure of road rage would be crime statistics, but, of course, road rage/aggressive driving is only loosely captured as a crime. Cops are extremely hesitant to write reckless/careless driving tickets.
Nonetheless, the real evidence is massively clear: It’s overwhelmingly men who do the rageful driving.
But such is the state of journalism. Something that sounds so titillatingly counter-intuitive might either be genuinely counter-intuitive and newsworthy, or it might be an intentional falsity designed to exploit the obvious titillation to attract page hits to self-interested sponsors.
In this case, it’s clearly the latter phenomenon, as the sponsor of the survey is something sad and awful called careerbuilder.com (yes, “career,” circa 2012: ROFL).
A real journalist would sort this out and act accordingly. Our system, in contrast, is a megaphone for such shameless shenanigans.
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