Tuesday 26 July 2011

He Said, He Said

Don't you just love newspaper op-ed pages? Newspaper editors believe, incorrectly of course, that they must give a "balance of views". With reference to yesterday's post (Hong Kong great city, shame about the locals) it was expected that there would be a response that was diametrically opposed ... just for "balance", you understand. That letter can be seen below.

Newspapers, editors and the media in general mistakenly believe that they have to give a "balance of views", which is typically seen as giving equal weight to both, or all, sides of the argument. This is extremely irresponsible.

Instead, they should provide some numbers (simple statistics) of how many letters were submitted in support and in opposition of the issue in question. Granted, this is not the best way to represent views, but at least it gives a sense of which way many people may be thinking. Next, a public opinion poll would be more interesting, rather than just reading what "He Said and He Said". Newspapers, editors and the media need to step up and be responsible.

Remember: Anecdotal evidence is not data, and data trumps anecdotal evidence every time.

Residents living in Hong Kong, have a sense of how "friendly" the people in the city are, in general. However, a poll would reveal what most people think, generally.

Related Post
Hong Kong great city, shame about the locals

Reference (SCMP; paywall)
This visitor has nothing but praise
Jul 25, 2011

On reading the letter from Australian visitor Steve Stefanopoulos ("Great city, shame about the locals", July 20), I could not let it go without a reply.

My husband and I are presently on our fourth visit to Hong Kong and while I agree with him that it is a city full of life and excitement, I cannot agree with his other comments.

Many times when I have been on the MTR, I have been offered a seat, rarely have I ever had to stand and there is always that friendly smile.

On other occasions when we have been lost and trying to sort out where we are, we have been approached by local people offering their help who soon have us on our way again.

Unlike Mr Stefanopoulos, we have encouraged family and friends to visit Hong Kong, telling them it is a wonderful place to spend a holiday, and we will continue to do so.

Robin Mead, Brisbane, Australia

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