Finding tomorrow’s hot property, TODAY

Misleading Headlines

Misleading Headlines

News media is always happy to sensationalise an issue or embellish the facts to make sales but sometimes they go beyond what has always been known in the journalism industry as a beat-up.

Sometimes, indeed increasingly often, what we are presented with is an outright lie – with journalists happy to present their customers with misinformation.

It’s highly unethical and dishonest – and in legal terms there’s a word for it – it’s called fraud – seeking to make money dishonestly.

There are examples in news media every day where the headline is a lie, with claims in the headline that are not supported by the information in the article that follows.

Here’s just one recent example of this increasingly prevalent practice of inspiring you to click on something through a headline that’s blatantly false.

The headline in the Sydney Morning Herald and other Fairfax publications declared “Disasters hit 18 million Australians”.

The headline in another Fairfax publication, the Australian Financial Review, on the same topic claimed “More than 7 million homes” were impacted by flooding last year.

The articles appeared under the bylines of journalists who are notorious for sensationally negative reporting on real estate and other issues.

These articles made claims such as:

  • Almost every person in NSW and Queensland was hit with a natural disaster in the past 12 months
  • 18.1 million Australian were affected by floods in 2022 – including 93% of all people in NSW
  • AND A record 7.2 million households across Australia were affected by floods in 2022

This was all based on research by the major professional services firm KPMG – but the claims made in these articles were not what the KPMG research found.

Here’s what the research report actually said:-

7.2 million households live in local government areas which were affected by floods in 2022 and 18 million Australians live in local government areas which were affected by a natural disaster of some kind in 2022.

You will note that KMPG does not say that 7.2 million households were flooded, but that 7.2 million households live in local government areas that had floods – which is very different thing.

So for example the Brisbane River flooded in February 2022. A total of 1.28 million people live in the Brisbane City Council local government area, therefore 1.28 million people live in a local government area that was impacted by floods – but most of those residents were not directly impacted by the floods at all.

Around 20,000 homes in Brisbane suffered flooding, so perhaps 50,000 people were directly impacted  – which is of course a major disaster and far too many people lost their lives.

However, 1.28 million people do not live in households that were flooded, as these articles tried to infer. Around 4% of this population were directly impacted with flooding of their homes.

The claims in these newspapers represented a quite deliberate twisting of the facts contained in a research report to imply that most Australians experienced a flooding of their homes in 2022, or some other natural disaster, which is clearly false.

Sadly, for some in the news media, this kind of distortion of the truth is second nature and an almost daily exercise.

We need to be constantly on alert and sceptical about what we read and hear in all forms of media  – about real estate and everything else.



Subscribe to our newsletter today and receive a FREE copy of How To Identify Hotspots