Monday, 25 July 2011

I report, you decide

Ok. In the comments, tell me whether the Otago Daily Times editorial staff are:
  1. Lazy and don't check their figures: they just copied from the NZ Herald editorial (noted here) and couldn't be bothered to check anything. Seriously, check the Herald piece; they totally lifted the Herald's argument.
  2. Idiots
  3. Deliberately trying to mislead their readers
My vote's for the first. But I'm curious what others think. The more often they do this, the more inclined I am towards the third. From today's editorial:
Those who argue anti-smoking legislation goes too far do so on grounds it intervenes in rational personal choice, even when that choice is for an addictive drug. The difficulty with this argument is a right of personal liberty ceases to be that when it affects the rights of others. It has been well demonstrated passive smoking can be harmful to individuals forced to inhale the smoke exhaled by others.
The case for liberty is on less solid ground, too, when the cost of smoking to the public purse, estimated to be $1.7 billion a year, is considered.
Again, the $1.7 billion figure comes from Des O'Dea's study of the costs of smoking. The $1.7 billion figure includes a whole pile of costs that smokers impose upon themselves and only about $350 million that smokers cost others via the health system. And again, quoting from Des's study: does seem reasonably apparent that the tax contribution of approximately $1 billion annually by smokers exceeds substantially the external costs of smoking which fall on non-smokers. If savings on pension costs from premature mortality of smokers were added as well the net fiscal contribution of smokers, to the fiscal gain of non-smokers, would be further increased. 
If the Herald and ODT repeat a lie often enough, it becomes a public truth.


  1. In this type of situations I am a supporter of Hanlon's razor.

  2. The media are terrible, and people seem to believe everything they read

  3. Can you vote for all three?

    The ODT also have a history of pulling their online articles very quickly when they realise they've reported on "sex scandals" committed by their own staff members..

  4. @Luis: I lean to Hanlon as well; that's why my pick was number 1. But at some point ignorance becomes willful.