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  Saturday, January 31, 2009

Newspaper Logic

The local newspaper, The Bulletin, has an editorial today on a proposed life vest law that would require boaters to wear a life vest in more circumstances. Their rationale for backing that law confuses me. It seems illogical or even hypocritical. I'd link to the article, but it's behind their paywall. The free press isn't free.

They say, "In general, we believe that people should be free to make their own choices in life, healthy or otherwise, as long as they don't hurt anyone else in the process." Okay, so far. Laudable, in fact. I totally agree with that statement.

They continue by saying, "That's why we're typically suspicious of nanny-government policies that target smokers, chain restaurants and large retailers." WTF? Or rather, Huh?

Is The Bulletin really trying to claim that smokers don't harm anyone but themselves? That second-hand smoke is healthy? They oppose laws protecting people in bars from second-hand smoke but are in favor of a law protecting people from vest-less idiots? Maybe they're worried about running into submerged bodies when they fall off their boat.

I agree with The Bulletin that anyone with a lick of sense should wear a life jacket when negotiating rapids, and those who don't risk winning the Darwin Award by proving that stupidity is a "crime" often punishable by death. I'd even support such a law for minors, who can be considered "not in their right minds" until adulthood. But if an adult wants to be an idiot, should we stop them? It seems a slippery slope (or rapid) from there to a law mandating holes in buckets so you can't drown in a bucket of water.

I wish we knew more about the authors of this editorial. I've heard that The Bulletin hires mostly young kids out of school to save on salaries. I'm not saying that young reporters can't write well, but experienced reporters are more apt to ask good questions, to understand the ramifications of an event, and to connect the dots to past events that kids may be unaware of. Our buddy Duncan recently noted this lack of dot-connection in a post on home sales.

The Bulletin is all for transparency in government so they can sell more newspapers, but there's not a lot of transparency in their hiring so we can judge the acuity of their writers. It does no good for them to quote a statistic if they don't put it in context and give it relevance.

I must have missed the class on newspaper logic.

Posted by Dave    Blog Tag: Opinion


At 2/09/2009 12:11 PM, Blogger Rusty said...

Another helmet law but without the thin rational of mental vegetables putting a strain on our medical resources. Those who drown running rapids generally dont wind up as potted plants. I suppose a case could be made about the exposure of rescue personnel during body recoveries. The real point here is that you used "Logic" and "newspaper" in the same sentance.


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