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Some answers needed

In the Midweek Nation of Wednesday, October 3, 2012, I saw the front page headline “Yes to Jeff” and read its page 3A story on a CADRES poll which indicated that just 45 per cent of “more than 1,000 people polled” felt that Jeff Broomes “should be allowed to remain at the helm” of Alexandra School.

The story nowhere indicated whether or not the newspaper commissioned the poll. And if not, exactly who did. The story deliberately failed to present the precise questions that were asked of those being polled. I believe that Barbadians are sophisticated enough to realise that the very structure of a question can often skew the response.

Did the pollsters establish exactly what was meant by “Separation”? Many people still remain unclear as to what exactly what is meant by this term. I have realised that there are still many conflicting interpretations of “separation” even though it was clarified by the BSTU both prior and to the Commission. Could fuzziness re: this term, if not clarified by the pollsters, have possibly muddled responses? The newspaper owes its readers some answers along these lines.

Some other queries:

Are there any other demographic data known besides the presented ones of “BLP Supporters”, “DLP Supporters”, “Uncertain Voters”?

Why were such distinctions along political lines made in the first place?

Of what possible significance are such distinctions in this particular issue?

Should party affiliation really bear upon one’s opinion on whether or not Jeff Broomes should be separated from the school? If so, what does it say about the independence of our thought?

Why do we have no information of the responses as they relate to the respondents’ Age? Gender? Level of Education Completed? Profession? Professional Rank? Employer/Employee? Trade Union Movement Supporter/Trade Union Movement Non-Supporter? Were not such demographic data captured by the very experienced pollsters? If not, why not? But if so, why didn’t the story present them?

Surely, these are legitimate distinctions. Might the poll have brought back very different results if these distinctions were used? Could it have been that these distinctions were ignored because they would have brought back results with which the newspaper would have been uncomfortable?

Is this an unfortunate attempt to locate this issue within a purely political context? If so, why so? What is the [paper’s] justification for this? It owes its readers some answers.

It would be contemptuous of the newspaper if it presumed that its readers are mindless simpletons, sponge-like accepting what they read on its pages and incapable of any critical analysis of its stories.

In my opinion, the newspaper coverage of this whole Alexandra issue leaves much to be desired as it has often been anti-intellectual and one-sided.

The Nation has been guilty on countless occasions of being sensationalist and trying to fabricate issues, and its story regarding this commissioned poll is another case in point. It leaves one to question why a paper would so frequently have to resort to such ploys. Papers which can be trusted for balanced journalism and unbiased reporting really don’t have to stoop so low.

– Carlton Irish

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