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?

7 Replies

Anita on May 15, 2018

@rmkrutz@crimson.ua.edu
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, 2019

Can you please explain why B is incorrect?

Victoria on May 4, 2020

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.

on October 21 at 03:49AM

Hi

Can someone explain why C would be wrong? Thanks!

Victoria on April 12 at 11:27PM

Hi @liwenong28,

Happy to help!

The letter argues that the newspaper exhibits an unjustified bias. Why? Because the tone of the article reporting that Mr. Hanlon saw an alien spaceship was very skeptical despite the fact that Mr. Hanlon has proven himself to be a trusted member of the community.

We are looking for the answer choice which outlines a principle that the argument conflicts with.

Answer choice (C) is incorrect because it does not conflict with the argument. Granted, we do not know if the newspaper has trusted Mr. Hanlon in the past. However, Mr. Hanlon has proven himself to be a trusted member of the community in which the newspaper operates. Therefore, answer choice (C) suggests that the newspaper should trust Mr. Hanlon.

If we assume that the newspaper has never interacted with Mr. Hanlon, then this principle is irrelevant.

Regardless of the assumption we make, answer choice (C) does not directly conflict with the argument. Therefore, it is incorrect.

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