LET 'Reality Check' was misleading

The Teen Beat "Reality Check" feature, entitled "Gloomy Future" on May 28, presented misleading data about attitudes toward today's youth. (The Post-Bulletin is not the source of the data or the misleading representation, both of which come from an organization called "Public Agenda.")

To set the record straight, the question asked of adults and teens was, "When today's children grow up, do you think they're likely to make America a better place, a worse place, or will they probably make little difference?

"Of the general public (the largest sample), 38 percent said a better place, 18 percent a worse place, and 39 percent said "little difference." Public Agenda could have reported that 77 percent said today's children would make America "a better place or make little difference." They could have reported that only 18 percent of the general public and 19 percent of parents think today's children will make America worse, while twice as many think children will make it better.

For reasons difficult to understand, they instead chose to report that 58 percent would make it worse or make little difference. As long as we are checking reality, perhaps we should notice that national media survey organizations are making news by putting a negative spin on survey data about children.

The data can be seen in its original form at


Phil; Wheeler


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