(Graph) Number of times the word ‘scrounger’ has been used in UK newspapers since 1994


The dichotomy between “shirkers” on the one hand and “strivers” on the other is the backdrop against which the coalition is reforming welfare. Building the narrative, however, relies upon a friendly, nay compliant media.

The graph below, created by Gavin Edwards using data from Lexis Nexis, show the number of times the word “scrounger” has been mentioned in UK newspapers annually since 1994.

Scroungers

I’m not sure there’s anything to add; the graph speaks for itself.

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  • http://twitter.com/rpkaye Robert Kaye

    No it doesn’t. When you’re doing LexisNexis research you have to control for the number of newspapers archived on the service. Many local newspapers don’t go back very far. Try doing a search on a neutral word like ‘associated’ or ‘evidence’ and you’ll see what I mean. Or you could try limiting it to UK national newspapers, most of which do go back to 1994 in full.

  • OldLb

    Quite right. No control.

    However, I suspect that the trend is there.

    Google trends which is adjusted shows the rise too

    http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=scrounger&cmpt=q&geo=GB

  • Sparky

    Another day, another poorly-researched and flawed piece of thinking from James Bloodworth.

    If you graphed the phrase ‘greedy bankers’ you would see a similar explosion. Does that mean that Left wing politicians had control of the media too? What rubbish.

  • Hank

    I know. Search for the number of times Taylor Swift was mentioned in the media. And then draw a line showing when the coalition was elected. This will prove once and for all that Taylor Swift’s career only really took off because we had a change government.

  • http://twitter.com/edmorrow87 Ed Morrow

    That’s a totally duff comparison. Taylor Swift is a proper noun. It’s not value-loaded – it’s rate of occurrence would tell you nothing about people’s opinions of her – merely that she was being talked about. Whereas ‘scrounger’ IS value-loaded – it gives you an opinion as well as a subject, thereby it’s rate of occurrence is far more informative.

  • Hank

    Then let me amend that. Search for the number of times “Taylor Swift is amazing”. Or how about “UFOs are real”. Or “Apple stock is set to soar”. Then draw a line on the graph when governments were elected. These supposed causalities only have meaning if you approach the subject with a link already formed in your mind. It is statistically and logically fallacious to infer any link based on an exercise like this.

  • Hank

    Then let me amend that. Search for the number of times “Taylor Swift is amazing”. Or how about “UFOs are real”. Or “Apple stock is set to soar”. Then draw a line on the graph when governments were elected. These supposed causalities only have meaning if you approach the subject with a link already formed in your mind. It is statistically and logically fallacious to infer any link based on an exercise like this.

  • Hank

    Then let me amend that. Search for the number of times “Taylor Swift is amazing”. Or how about “UFOs are real”. Or “Apple stock is set to soar”. Then draw a line on the graph when governments were elected. These supposed causalities only have meaning if you approach the subject with a link already formed in your mind. It is statistically and logically fallacious to infer any link based on an exercise like this.

  • Sparky

    Mr Morrow, you have degrees in archeology and cultural heritage. Come back and argue about statistical significance and causality modelling when you have a background in a numerate discipline.

  • Sparky

    I might also suggest that if you want to be taken seriously by potential employers (rather than getting another internship) then you remove those ridiculous ear studs.

  • http://foomandoonian.net/ Foomandoonian

    It’s the projection I find most disingenuous. The use of the word clearly increased after the election, but then it stayed at that level for two years, then made another noteworthy jump — so obviously this year the use will skyrocket? I don’t think so. The chart is dramatic enough without an exaggerated estimate.

  • revolting pedant

    Doesn’t look so dramatic on a log scale:

    http://i41.tinypic.com/5frrbp.gif

    Doesn’t it just show the media getting hold of a phrase. ‘Too far too fast’ would also peak under this gov – more evidence of a biased media?!

    Would be better to graph mentions in Hansard, or to filter for direct quotes by politicians (subtracting those saying the word to disagree with its use), and then allow for duplicate stories. But hey, you’re on a roll, don’t let accuracy get in your way.

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