The Numbers Don’t Lie! Do They???

As you may know, there is a flap over the number of people who attended Wednesday’s school closings march and rally.  This article in today’s Chicago Sun-Times outlines the respective positions of the police–who had estimated the number between 700 and 900–and the Chicago Teachers Union–who put the number between 5,000 and 6,000.  The Sun-Times did its own count by using a photo of the rally and put the number at about 2,750.

This is not the first time there’s been a heated disagreement about attendance numbers at a high-profile event.  It happened at the Million Man March, too, as I recall.

It brings to mind an old joke about accountants.  A company interviewed three candidates for a job in the accounting department.  The first applicant was given a set of numbers and told to come up with the correct answer.  Applicant number one worked with the numbers and then said, “This is the correct result.”  He was told the company would keep him in mind.

The second applicant worked with the numbers and then said, “This is the correct result.”  He was told the company would keep him in mind.

The third applicant was given the same set of numbers, glanced at them and then told the interviewer, “What do you WANT the answer to be?”  He was hired on the spot.

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  • Mary A . Kowalski

    So true. A pervasive issue.