And we wonder why S'poreans grow more wary of mainstream news

Source of all misinformation wars online stems from conflicting headlines.

Belmont Lay| October 08, 06:53 AM

So, I woke up this morning, turned on the Internet, lo and behold, this:


Source: Channel News Asia, Oct. 7, 2013


And this:


Source: The Straits Times, Oct. 8, 2013


I don't know about you, but my head hurts reading the headlines.

Could anything be more conflicting than this?

And then we bemoan the fact that trust in all the sacred cow institutions in Singapore, including the mainstream press, is eroding.

And wonder why there is a misinformation war going on online.

I don't want anybody to get hurt, but I've only got 3 questions to ask, even though there are so many questions surrounding these two articles:

1. Why didn't both articles just provide a link to the original source of the study or survey? Or press release? This could have been placed in the first few paragraphs.

2. Is the survey referred to by CNA and the study referred to by ST even the same? I doubt anybody can tell just by reading both pieces of news.

3. If the survey and study are the same, then shouldn't a comprehensive headline be: "Study: More Singaporeans in favour of public transport, but car still preferred choice"?



Anyway, I decided to investigate and answer these questions myself.

Basically, the CNA's article was based on LTA's latest year-long Household Interview Travel Survey conducted between June 2012 and May 2013.

ST's article referred to a joint study by NUS and LTA to look at factors affecting commuters' choices.

In other words, CNA and ST did not write about the same thing.

And anyone would be able to find this out -- if you actually spent 30 minutes digging through the rubble.

And here I am, silly me, thinking that the media's role is to inform and make sense of the news and the world around us, for us.

Shouldn't a transport correspondent at CNA and ST interpret why these two studies came up with different conclusions?

Isn't and shouldn't that be the real news value?

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