No. 2 is a euphemism
Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.
First, on letters to the editor: This time of year, I know you’re too busy to write, but you’ve got to do your bit to make this newspaper as interesting as possible. If you are one of the people who’ve sent me provocative letters lately, thanks. If you’re one of those people who forward me a letter to the editor from Moveon.org or the Minutemen Defense Corps, c’mon, don’t bother. So, please, send me something that’ll get a rise out of somebody. Tell me I suck.
Next: So the National Alliance to End Homelessness put out a report about homelessness. The RG-J ran a Jan. 10 story that carried the headline “Count ranks Nevada No. 2 in percentage of homeless.” Thank you, Gazette, for doing your job. We need to know this stuff. I had barely started reading the story when my butt started to pucker. Superficial. Insulting. Misleading. Stereotypical.
I downloaded the report. It’s at www.knowledgeplex. org/showdoc.html?id=230159.
We’re not perfect over here, either. But let me ask you this: In a story that talks about percentages, don’t you think the actual percentage should appear somewhere in the story? It’s 0.68 percent. Nearly one person out of a hundred live in weekly rentals, on the street or in shelters in Nevada. More than double the national average of 0.30 percent.
How about this? If you were going to say that Nevada is No. 2, wouldn’t it be interesting for the reader to say who No. 1 is? Hey, look at that. It’s Washington, D.C. (A) D.C. is not a state. That means Nevada is the No. 1 state. (B) There are 5,518 homeless out of a population of 550,521 in D.C. That’s 1 percent. In Nevada, there are 16,402 homeless out of a population of 2,414,807. Percentages can lie when not interpreted. Also, there are lots of states with many more homeless people than Nevada. For example, California has 170,270 homeless people.
Now, here’s what really irritated me, Myrna the Minx’s blog, www.renodiscontent.com, beat me to the punch with her commentary on the same topic.