Well said. These days, I find myself reflexively skeptical of any headline with a number in it.
I suspect the gambit is much like what we observe in political ads: the public decries the flood of negative ones, claiming “We want to discuss the issues!” Yet the negative ads keep on coming. Why?
Because the data show they are effective. They appeal to the broadest audience. (Sadly) they become the champions of the attention game by being manipulative in the headline, but not meaningful in the body.
I hope the tactic reaches a burnout point. Until then I’ll keep digging for pieces like yours.