Regarding the idea of surveys and polls. I was not surprised to read that in one suvey 60% of Americans opposed school choice (public to private and vise versa) and in another survey 75% of Americans supported it. I am reminded of the defense often used by politicians and other public officials about polls. They always seem to be saying, "according to the polls," and "the polls today say." Well hello, of course you are going to get different results everytime that you poll a group.
Presidential polls are often some of the most misleading polls of them all. In one instance John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith is winning in the polls and an hour later its Michael Jackson Moore taking over the lead. The truth is that opinions of people change like the wind (and in case you didn't know that is pretty fast). Another reason that polls can be inaccurat in their depictions of the public's opinion is through the use of poorly worded questions. Hence, ask a stupid question, expect a stupid answer, or even ask an invalid question recieve and invalid answer.
Examination of a poll's questions is crucial in understanding the true meaning and context in which the poll has been included. Organizations (government and otherwise) often use polls to prove points that they agree with and for that reason don't include the questions that were given when the poll was first taken. The natural human reaction is not to question the source from which the poll results came, but it is important to be concious enough to know that these questions play an integral roll in interpreting a poll.
Asking questions that are direct was another important issue brought up in chapter 6. As Elyse Branam said, "Wouldn't it make sense to always ask directly? That way, the interviewer is getting more CORRECT information rather then hinting to certain questions and trying to get answers." I agree completely with her point in this statememnt.
Chapter 7 back tracked to the prologue and the idea of America being overly afraid of risk. Fears are often magnified by the press through alarmist reporting. Meaning that the media focus primarily on events and the extent of harm they can cause. What makes news might not always constitute as the big health problem that it is made out to be...meaning that some reporters tend to make mountains out of mole hills. Hazard reporting talks about events rather than issues because there is a desire to tell a good story in order to capture reader attention. Often times drama is compelling and involves a hero and a villian.
There is mention of a breast cancer statistic in the begining of this chapter that I found very interesting. It said 1 in 8 women have the disease. The chapter went on to explain that this was a very controversial statistic because of the articles surrounding the disease. Apparently in order to seek out more government funding from the government activists put a bug in the ears of reporters in order to get them to write about breast cancer. The high-hype and media attention may be slight exaggeration.