Over the weekend I was explaining a Twitter exchange I saw about election day care promises, and it was so hard for me to explain, we realized it wasn’t ME, it was what was being said was so … confusing, that I didn’t quite absorb it. So, I dug it up and it was even worse than I thought, and this isn’t even about the politics of the matter.
It’s about what the exchange revealed – a long time reporters’ thought processes on the subject.
In brief, Wab Kinew had tried to score some cheap bogey-man points on a PC spokesperson at a forum, by raising the whole “Pallister will privatize day care agenda” routine. And online, a discussion began because Wab was misleading voters; it isn’t like we don’t have private, for-profit day cares licenced by his NDP, already.
Note how Mary Agnes Welch chimes in, gets it wrong, then tries to argue her observation was ‘qualified’.
What did I learn from this? That because Mary Agnes Welch, after years of reporting for the Free Press, can only name ONE private day care, when Tom Brodbeck corrected her that there are 34 such enterprises, Welch argued A) that’s only 5% of the total (not the issue at hand), and B) “I said almost (my emphasis) none” (also not the issue at hand), and C) tried the ‘look over there’ tactic as if anyone was talking about how Ontario does things in the first place.
How can a reporter refuse to concede she was factually incorrect because — in her mind — ONE (1) is somehow close to THIRTY-FOUR (34) ? Is this some kind of “new math”?
How can we trust her previous interpretations of news stories involving statistics when her point of view for whatever reason, distorts her view of the meaning of the statistics?
And worse yet – and I had missed this development – she has left the newspaper to go to work for Probe Research. A polling company.
I can’t wait for her new employer to get a phone call from a client because MAW spins a poll they paid for, to minimize some number in the results as meaningless because it doesn’t fit her experience/world view.