Mirko Benedetti

BEYOND THE VALUE OF DATA IN THE POLITICAL DISCOURSE: THE «EXCITING NUMBERS»

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Keywords: Official Statistics; Political Communication; Statistical Storytelling; Fact-Checking; Frame Analysis.

The article analyzes the political communication of official statistics on the labor market through the Frame Analysis method, focusing on the «exciting numbers», that is to say, storytelling practices aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of the political message by a rhetorical use of numbers that arouses empathy. Taking as a field of observation a sample of statements published on the Italian Fact-Checking website Pagella Politica in the last two years, the analysis shows that, while the «exciting numbers» generate emotional involvement, they may bent official data to partisan interests, distorting their real meaning. In this perspective, the «exciting numbers» can damage official statistics as a public good. Loading numbers emotionally, in fact, risks to trivialize them, thus reducing the right of access to public figures, at disposal of citizens for understanding phenomena, making decisions and participating in the democratic life.

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