TRC 218: Price Gouging + Intentionally Deceptive Reporting + Does Captain Go Down With the Ship

Episode 218 is a gem that will likley never be forgotten by avid TRC fans. The episode begins with an amazing skeptical parody by Pat of a song that is apparently kind of popular on the internet. This is followed by Elan, who starts the show proper(ly) with a segment about Price Gouging, and how it may not be as bad as people are making it out to be. Darren then looks into the shoddy reporting of a study whose conclusion is quite absurd. Adam closes out the show with the myth of the week: Does the Captain always go down with the ship? Enjoy the show!

Download direct: mp3 file

If you like the show, please leave us a review on itunes.


Price Gouging

Wikipedia – Opposition to laws against price gouging

USA Today – Sandy Price Gouging

Slate – How Price Gouging Bans Make Disasters Worse

Free Market – The non crime of price gouging – Price Gouging Saves Lives in a Hurricane

Intentionally Deceptive Reporting

Deceptive article at A Voice for Men

Does the Caption Go Down With the Ship

Captain goes down with the ship – Wikipedia

Bounty (1960 ship) – Wikipedia

MTS Oceanos – Wikipedia

Costa Concordia disaster – Wikipedia


This entry was posted in The Reality Check Episodes. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to TRC 218: Price Gouging + Intentionally Deceptive Reporting + Does Captain Go Down With the Ship

  1. Quaz says:

    Ok few problems with “chigaro school of economics” philosphies.

    Economics has no morality. It was particularly bad that you danced around this issue. Something that you may need to be comfortable vs. something you may need to survive, are treated the same way in an ecomonic system. There is no difference between $7 for bread, and being forced to sell your home and emptying all of your life savings for drug therapy.

    This economic system is responsible for the major household, and personal debt that people are accumulating. While people do have the responsibilty to maintain their finaces, sometimes expenses are choice between eating and heat for you home. I find it ironic and distressing companies do everything they can to convice you to buy at all costs, while it is these habits that actually threaten the ecomony as a whole.

    Compition is supposed to be the balance in the system ; In many cases no compition, or low compition is lacking where price gouging takes place. Sometimes compition is lacking due to monopolization of either businesses, or the supply chains. If the government is discouraged from pretecting people from predatory buisness practices, the government should not protect said buisnesses and remove patent and copyright protections to ensure fair pricing.

    This type of Economics ignores reality of human nature. Desperate people react to lack of supply and price gouging by not just paying more, they may also steal, loot, riot, and turn to the black market. These are illegal to protect the buisnesses (and economy). If economist believe that government should be hands off because it is “never good for the economy”, these illegal activities should also be allowed so as not to play favours.

    IF you want some good examples of the free market in action, look up so articles of the markets ran by warlords in numerious African countries where aid is prevelent. Oddly the arguement here is, that if food aid is being hoarded, and resold at inflated levels by warlords, that food aid to Africa should not be provided at all, or indeed sold at inflated prices in the first place.

  2. Kara says:

    The CBC had a show in the summer called the Invisible Hand that explored economic topics including price gouging (it’s episode 1 on the podcast).

    They argued for price gouging and I must admit I found the argument convincing. There are many natural experiments with every disaster where people are incented to provide services or products (for example undergoing personal expense to get resources to disaster zones – something too risky to do without the promise of reward).

    While Darren’s arguments on the risks of gouging are valid, they are essentially the critiques of capitalism in general. Limiting all price gouging is a blunt instrument. We have nuanced approches to balancing capitalism and poverty reduction in non-critical times; when disaster strikes is not the time to rewrite the economic rules. Especially since we have even less evidence that price fixing in the marketplace is good policy.

  3. Spookie says:

    I don’t understand this concept of a “trigger warning”

    It’s only ever used in the context of rape as far as I’ve seen, and therefore isn’t “trigger warning” in itself a “trigger”?

    Though this is an anecdote, considering I only ever see “trigger warning” used for rape, it’s basically saying “Oh by the way try not to remember you were raped”

  4. Dumbass says:

    My first thought on hearing that headline about rape victims was that maybe they’re using an overly broad definition of rape. They sometimes do things along those lines in an attempt to try and coax out a figure for the number of rapes that aren’t reported. Tricky thing to figure out, can lead to questionable data if you’re not careful.

    But I guess it turns out that they just made the whole thing up. I felt gypped at that. That’s not half as interesting as a genuine statistical blooper.

  5. Cody says:

    So, my reading of the rape article left me with the conclusion that the entire article was made up as an example of what they perceive ‘feminists’ are allowed to get away with in similar articles, etc. citing unrelated studies, conclusions not justified by data, overly bold headlines.

    But the way you guys talked about it in the show, it seemed like you all had the impression that they believed what was stated in the article, and were just honest enough to admit in the end that the evidence didn’t back it up.

    I think we can all agree that they were horribly irresponsible for circulating an article like that when most people are only going to read the headline or at most the first few paragraphs, and that they are probably not guys we would want to hang out with. But I thought it was incorrect to accuse them of believing what they wrote in the article, when I think it was meant to be specifically outrageous to demonstrate the tactics they think other people are using. Am I wrong?

  6. Darren McKee says:

    Hi all,
    Thanks for the comments.
    Addressing my segment (for the moment),
    I re-listened to my segment and I don’t believe I/we ever said the authors sincerely believed what they wrote. I honestly don’t know what they believe, nor do I think I said I did. I did say/imply that it was so wholly irresponsible to be dangerous, malicious and misogynistic. Further, if you look at the rest of the website, this is not a bastion of intellectual discourse, pointing out flawed means of discussion. I saw it more of a propaganda filled cesspool.

    Indeed. There are numerous complications with both the definition of assault and the validity of accusations. Unfortunately, this segment was about crap masquerading as intellectual commentary.

    Valid point and it’s the first time I’d said it. I’m not sure but perhaps it offers several seconds for someone to shut it down instead of being led along and ‘suddenly’ find themselves listening to something they didn’t want?

  7. Cody says:


    Thanks for responding. I listened to it again also just to see why I came away with that impression, and you’re right, no one ever said that they thought the authors were expressing their genuine feelings. But there were a couple comments, like saying that it came dangerously close to hate speech, as well as allot of discussion of the merits of the views it contained that made me think that the segment was as much about those views as about the article itself.
    It’s just that once I read the last paragraphs of the article, it seemed like the rest of it was invalidated. They were basically saying, ‘Hey, you thought I meant all that stuff I said up there? Gotcha! See how I said something outrageous, then threw in a couple of studies and had you believing it? That’s what the feminists do.’
    Again, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to find out that there are people in that organization that do believe those things, and it sounds like the website supports that. I just thought that the article was more of an irresponsibly executed commentary on a trick they think someone is getting away with, whether that’s valid or not. And since you guys didn’t seem to see it that way I thought my opinion was worth mentioning. I don’t mean to be nit picky. Hopefully next time I post I will be defending someone more worthy of it. Love the show, thanks again.

  8. Jo says:

    On the first segment. Ellan, I find it sad that you think a family will take 2 rooms because they can afford them in case of crisis… Moral applies, and we have seen in times of crisis people helping each other. If the hotel allows it, I wouldn’t be surprise to see 2 family sharing the same room… Also, you said as a positive argument that it would favors companies to keep more supplies. It cost in storage for companies, and if it’s perishable things (like bread), it is a huge waste (I have heard that more than 1/3 of perishable food is thrown away, partly because shops always need to have everything available). Instead, wouldn’t it be better to have survival kit, including ration packs in primary schools, organised by the government?

    My second comment is on the article about rape… I think the author may not have thought that the readers wouldn’t read the whole article. But I can’t understand people that shared it on facebook! Even if it was true that 55% of women loved being raped, you cannot spread this information for the 45% remaining. Spreading the rape culture gives a personal legitimacy to rapist, and will most probably increase the numbers of rapes.
    It was asked in the podcast if we have to address the issue. If the author believed it, we should have sued for hate speech. If not, we can call for that person to remove the article after explaining, if he doesn’t, complain to the magazine or website. Not addressing a question because it seems too ridiculous seems to be what scientists did with creationism for too long… And see how it goes now.

  9. verquer says:

    I just got around to listening to this episode. I was a bit confused by your apparent confusion in the second segment on the rape article. You seem to not understand the authors intention, although it is quite clearly written in the article:

    These items, indeed this entire article, are illustrative examples of what Murray Straus identified as “Evidence by Citation” and other forms of academic fraud in widespread and unchallenged use by feminist ideologues. They were presented here as an example of their destructive use.

    So…. the intention was entirely educational and judging from your reactions (“I couldnt get through”) quite needed. The message was: read and criticize the original studies. I cant see anything wrong with that messeage. You should also have done that with the other study on gender bias in academia a couple of episodes ago.

    Anyway, still loving the show.

  10. Darren McKee says:

    Once again, thanks for the comments all. Cody then Jo then Verquer…

    No worries, the discussion is important to have. I still disagree and stand by what I said and wrote. I’ll provide an analogy and you tell me if it is similar and what you think.
    Imagine there was a website that had a huge headline saying, in caps, Most Black People Liked Being Slaves. The article then basically goes on to say, They do, they really do, further, they really do… oh, no, they didn’t. I made all that up to prove a highly debatable point (and I know most people won’t read that last bit).
    I call bullsh!t.

    You make an excellent point that if, in some odd universe, 70% of women did like it, that still leaves 30% that don’t and we shouldn’t be empowering the rapists.

    Glad you still love the show.
    Taking your last line first, perhaps there is a misunderstanding. I did criticize the original study on gender bias. My whole segment was covering the original study.

    Second, I don’t know if you read the comments of the other people who posted, but I wasn’t confused at all, I just might disagree with you. As I wrote to Cody before (but see right above):

    I honestly don’t know what they believe, nor do I think I said I did. I did say/imply that it was so wholly irresponsible to be dangerous, malicious and misogynistic. Further, if you look at the rest of the website, this is not a bastion of intellectual discourse, pointing out flawed means of discussion. I saw it more of a propaganda filled cesspool.

    You see the message as read and criticize original studies. I think this is a great message too… but I don’t think that was the goal of that post.

    Thanks again everyone!

  11. T McIntyre says:

    Robin Walbridge, captain of the HMS Bounty was my boss’ stepbrother. From what I understand, he looked after others to get them off the ship. He then had the misfortune of perishing before he could get himself off the ship.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *