Letter to the editor: When your newspaper reported the (admittedly extraordinary) claim by Mr. Hanlon that he saw an ...

Rachel on May 11, 2018

Please Explain

Why is the answer A and not D?

5 Replies

Anita on May 15, 2018

We're looking for a principle with which the argument would conflict. The writer's beef is with the actions of the newspaper, not the actions of Mr. Hanlon.

So D, which tells us Mr. H should have waited until he had evidence, doesn't necessarily conflict with the writer. That may very well be the case, but the writer still thinks that because of Mr. H's respectable past, he should have been granted the benefit of the doubt.

A's principle is that an extraordinary claim should come with extraordinarily high evidence in order to be reported uncritically. If that is in fact the case, then the newspaper did nothing wrong, and the author is proposing action contrary to that principle.

Kanyinsola on July 4, 2019

I thought A directly conflicted and chose that but I'm having trouble understanding why E is wrong. Can you break that down?

Victoria on July 4, 2019

Hi @Kanyin,

The letter is claiming that the reporter exhibited an "unjustified bias" when using a skeptical tone in the article about Mr. Hanlon seeing a spaceship.

E is incorrect because it does not impact the argument presented in the letter. The author of the letter is arguing that the tone of the article was unjustified. Answer choice E is focused on whether or not the article should have been published in the first place.

While E is a tempting choice as confirmation by an independent source would address the issue of bias, the focus of the letter is on how to present a report once it has been published. Therefore, E is incorrect.

Hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any further questions.

Danielle on September 4 at 07:53PM

Can you please explain why B is incorrect?

Victoria on May 4 at 03:16PM

Hi @dace,

There is no evidence provided in the passage to suggest that the claim was acquired through an intermediary source as opposed to Mr. Hanson himself.

Therefore, answer choice (B) is incorrect as the principle does not apply to this situation.

Hope this is helpful. Please let us know if you have any further questions.