“Spring Break” Article Riddled With Errors
By: Jack Koenig, Executive Director
Expert Source Bureau (www.expertsources.org)
March 28, 2006
A recent Associated Press article suggesting female students traveling on “Spring Break” are promiscuous drunkards is demeaning to collegiate women across America.
The article, “Study Warns Women About Spring Break,” was based on a press release authored by the American Medical Association (AMA), which in turn was based on an advocacy poll commissioned by the AMA, a strong opponent of collegiate drinking in general, and female collegiate drinking in particular.
The underlying purpose of the press release was apparently to frighten female “Spring Breakers” out of excessive drinking based on a specter of unintended consequences. Instead, the poll and subsequent press release had unintended consequences of their own: college age females across America are outraged by both the AMA and the co-sponsor of the project, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
It appears that once the AMA determined their objective, they commissioned pollsters Fako & Associates of Lamont, Illinois to design and execute the poll. Interestingly, the Fako website (http://www.fakoassociates.com) proudly proclaims “We analyze the data and give you the information that you need to put a winning plan together…”. The fact they designed the poll to give information a client needs to meet a pre-determined objective should have raised a bright red flag in any credible reporters’ eyes. But apparently not for Lindsey Tanner, author of the much publicized and now, discredited article.
But that’s only the beginning of problems with the AMA and Tanner’s portrait of collegiate females. The actual polling raises still another bright red flag!
The poll itself was conducted by Survey Sampling International’s “Survey Spot Panel,” whose website (http://www.surveysampling.com) states the “Spot Panel’s” procedure involves the use of the Internet to gain responses from a selected group of rewarded participants.
The three attributes, Internet, selected, and rewarded are troubling to say the least. To begin with, Internet polling is problematic at best. There is simply no current method to insure the intended participant is actually responding to the questions. Secondly, selected participants implies the pollsters could seek out those more inclined to answer in the manner their client desires. And finally, rewarded participants is another serious problem. Well-respected pollsters rarely reward participants in order avoid the “I’ll say what I think you want said” type of response. These three factors seriously compromise the poll’s integrity.
Further doubt on the poll’s validity was cast when USA Today reported only 27% of the respondents ever attended such a spring break. That means 73% of the results were based on hearsay. And since these 73% were unable to travel on “Spring Break” themselves, one has to wonder if a somewhat disgruntled respondent has any business in the survey group in the first place.
Not only are the poll and the polling methods suspect, but the widely circulated article based on its “findings” is also seriously flawed. In the article “Study Warns Women About Spring Break,” author Lindsey Tanner states “The women’s answers were based on first hand experience and the experience of friends and acquaintances.”
That is patently false!
Since only 27% of the respondents ever attended such “Spring Breaks,” only one question could have been based on 1st hand experience and even that incident is suspect.
Finally, the AMA itself destroyed the polls credibility when it took liberty and redefined what the respondents actually said in two key areas:
- The AMA arbitrarily translated reckless behavior to be mean sex and binge drinking.”
- The AMA arbitrarily translated outrageous behavior to mean public nudity, dancing on tables/bars and participating in drinking contests.”
In the AMA’s defense, they did provide two footnotes at the end of their “press release” admitting to their liberal interpretation. However it appears the Lamestream Media (ABCNNBCBS) and the liberal print media ignored those footnotes and “ran” with the interpretation.
The bottom line is the public was deceived in much the same manner as when Clinton’s cronies alleged “everyone’s doing it” when referring to the former President’s marital infidelities. That lie was exposed by an ongoing study on human sexuality at the University of Chicago which revealed that roughly 70% of men, 50 years and older, have never cheated on their wives.
In the ongoing onslaught by the liberal element to destroy family values and corrupt morality, we have once again been insulted by an advocacy poll designed to meet a client’s objectives; a poll whose data was gathered in a questionable manner and from questionable participants; a poll in which 73% of the participants based their responses on hearsay; a poll in which the client (AMA) reworded the answers in two key areas to meet their objectives; and a poll which was used by an AP reporter to author yet another seriously flawed report.
Is it any wonder the Lamestream Media (ABCNNBCBS) and their fellow travelers in the print media are rated lower than lawyers?
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