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Public television station M1 produces manipulative report on “Elkxrtuk” viewership

picture of Ferenc Gyurcsány

State-run news channel M1 used a peculiar method to try to prove that more people were interested in the television premiere of the movie “Elkxrtuk,” funded by government booster Gábor Kálomista, on TV2, than the premiere of the series “Servant of the People,” starring Volodymyr Zelenskyy, reports Media1.

“Elkxrtuk,” which purports to show the events surrounding the political disturbances and street riots in Budapest in 2006, has been called “Fidesz’s propaganda film” by opposition party DK. Government politicians have been big supporters of the film, which was reportedly mandatory viewing for high school students in some towns.

It was previously reported that 561,000 Hungarians watched the TV premiere of “Servant of the People,” while “Elkxrtuk” was watched by 552,000.

Anyone with a basic understanding of arithmetic knows that 561 is more than 552, which remains true even if you add three digits after each number.

However, someone in Hungary’s public media structure apparently disagreed with this, prompting the news station to prove otherwise in a report that used questionable methodology, writes HVG.

Instead of comparing the number of people who viewed the two shows, the news channel used data on the share of viewers that watched “Elkxrtuk” versus those who watched “Servant of the People” for each day. In this comparison, M1 found that 15.4% of television viewers were interested in the “Gyurcsány film,” while 12.1% of viewers watched Zelenskyy’s show.

In other words, M1 only looked at the proportion of people who watched each show compared to the total number of television viewers at that time. If, for example, a total of 100 people watched television on a given day and 90 of them watched one specific show, then that show gets a 90% share of that time slot.

But if 1,000 people are watching TV on a different day and 600 of them are tuned in to a single show, then that show gets a 60% share for that time slot, even though numerically there were more viewers than the show that got a 90% share.

As HVG notes, “only public media can draw the conclusion that a 90% share on one day means a larger viewship than 60% on the other day.”

M1’s report can be seen here (in Hungarian):

[HVG]

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