But I think the issue has become much worse recently as data has become more freely available. For example, data journalism has emerged as a field in its own right. Some journalists have taken to applying tortuous analysis to large data sets and the results are then used to “prove” a particular point. Note the use of the word “some” in that last sentence; there are many excellent journalists who use data properly; but not all do so. And it is not just my fellow scribes who are guilty, it is increasingly apparent (although less publicly so) in the commercial world.
I am not (obviously) saying that data analysis is wrong; given my day job that would be an odd stance to take. But I do want to caution against the practices of the data analysis zealots and to make the point that context is vital because (despite what the zealots appear to believe) judgement and context are a major part of any good analysis.