OLD Media Moves

Comparing apples to oranges

April 4, 2006

When I’m in my classroom, I emphasize a lot about avoiding comparing apples to oranges. In the “Business Reporting” class, an example would be to compare the actual stock price of two companies when we all should know that’s a comparison that can’t be made because the two companies don’t have the same number of shares outstanding.

So imagine my chagrin this morning while watching the “Today” show on NBC and seeing a report they did on gasoline prices and how some are predicting that prices are going to get higher this summer, maybe even as high as they were right after Hurricane Katrina.

The reporter, whose name I did not catch, mentioned the fact that higher gasoline prices were coming at a time when the oil companies were reporting higher profits. Then, he mentioned the fact that this had resulted in Exxon replacing Wal-Mart at the top of the Fortune 500 list.

Ugh. Hey dude, the Fortune 500 list is based on revenue, not profits. Now maybe Exxon is at the top of the list because of the increased revenue, but them being at the top of the list has nothing to do with their profits.

Anybody else got a good example of a screw-up related to business terminology in the national media?

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry daily or weekly.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry.