Unnecessary Obfuscation

Reader comment on: The War on For-Profit Education

Submitted by John Beck (United States), Nov 14, 2010 23:27

This paragraph:

There are no comparison figures given for percentages of revenue from government sources for other universities. Right under the Times's nose in New York City, for example, there exists something called the City University of New York, which gets 50% of its funding from taxpayers of the state of New York, and 11% from taxpayers of the City of New York. Of the remaining 39% that comes from tuition payments, $329 million of it came from federal Pell Grants.

Is uninstructive. You use percentages up until the end, but by not telling us what that $329 million is a percentage of, we cannot make a comparison. If it's $329 million out of $1 billion, then it's scandalous that for-profit schools take a larger percentage of funding from the federal government than not-for-profit. if it's $329 million out of $330 million, then it's incredibly scandalous how little comes from non-governmental sources. Why do you switch gears like that? Why do you deliberately obstruct the ability for the reader to make informed comparisons by changing the measurement metric in mid 'graph?

While I want to agree with your article, you're engaging in tactics quite similar to those at the NYT which you decry: using a big scary number in place of a number with which the reader can make meaningful comparison.

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Other reader comments on this item

Title By Date
You're on to Something [102 words]ross crawfordNov 15, 2010 21:06
Federal Funding for Private Companies [38 words]BobNov 15, 2010 14:01
They actually pay taxes [60 words]BTNNov 15, 2010 11:27
Conflict of Interest? [357 words]J.JohnsonNov 15, 2010 11:12
⇒ Unnecessary Obfuscation [221 words]John BeckNov 14, 2010 23:27
For profit article based on ideology, not reality [138 words]D. Melvil DeweyNov 14, 2010 06:42
Really off base here [68 words]Penn6020Nov 12, 2010 23:41
Thank you.... [269 words]Marlon R. GravesNov 12, 2010 19:26
Earned??? HAH! [22 words]WhoProfitsNov 12, 2010 16:51

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