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In Turkey - Türkiye'de
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In Turkey - Türkiye'de
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Poor statistical sampling results in faulty analysis...
Thanks to Hürriyet Gazetesi -- 24 June 2006
by way of
Pew Global Attitudes Project
Disputing the Experts
-- Pew, spelled P.U. --
A long time ago my father explained the meaning of the word 'expert' to me by saying, "The 'ex' stands for a 'has been' and the 'spurt' stands for a 'drip under pressure'." Ever since then, I haven't had as much respect for 'experts' as I should have, I guess.
Which is why, when I saw the full coverage that Hurriyet Gazetesi gave (in its June 24 issue) to the latest provocative and disturbing 'experts report' from the Pew Global Attitudes Project, I decided to investigate further.
For certain, the things that Hurriyet attributed to the Pew Report were disturbing. Such things as:
Sixty-seven percent of Turks think Westerners are 'Fanatical', fifty-nine percent think us 'Dishonest', 69% think us 'Selfish', 70% think we have 'Violent Tendencies', 67% think we're 'Stingy', and another 67% think we're 'Insolent'. That was according to Hurriyet, according to Pew.
So I went to the Pew Website, just to make sure that Hurriyet hadn't misquoted the Pew Report. The first thing I noticed was Pew's advert for its latest book, 'America Against the World' -- written by Pew Global Attitudes Project Director, Andrew Kohut -- and a journalist on Pew's payroll, Bruce Stokes. And it occurred to me that there might be a connection between that provocative book title and what I was searching for. And so there was...
Using Pew's website search box, I found that Pew had indeed drawn the conclusions (and some even more disturbing ones) mentioned in Hurriyet's fully illustrated, half-page article. According to Pew, its conclusions were based on their 'experts' poll -- conducted as part of their Global Attitudes Project, in personal interviews with a "random sample" of 1,003 Turkish residents between April 27-May 14, 2005. And, as if to lend credence to its polling technique, Pew added the Statistician's standard disclaimer, "For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 3 percentage points."
Excuse me, but that's the biggest load of crap I've heard since Bill Clinton swore he 'did not have sex with that woman'.
To be sure, Turks have lost faith in Western political leadership, particularly the leadership of George W. Bush -- as has almost everyone in the world -- since his mishandling of one thing after another subsequent to the Twin Towers debacle. No dispute there...
But to lump all Westerners (as Pew has done) into a single bunch and then ask a completely unrepresentative 'random sample' of 1,000 out of 70,000,000 Turkish-residents what they think about that 'bunch' is both logically ridiculous and statistically contrary to any (legitimate) poll-taker's operating criteria.
And to then utilize such unrepresentative random findings to draw any conclusions at all, much less the sweeping negative conclusions that Pew does, goes way beyond the pale.
Furthermore... it flies in the face of my 15-consecutive-years of on-the-ground experience here in Turkey, during which time I've generally observed modern-day Turks mixing happily with foreigners. Viewing each foreign visitor as a separate, respectable individual without a hint of national stereotyping -- taking each person at face value. If anything, Turks appear to me to treat individual Westerners with more kindness, respect, and attention than they do their own Turkish countrymen!
So I opine that the Pew Global Attitudes Report's real purpose is not to enlighten or educate, but to hype sales of 'America Against the World.' And I guess it will.
But don't you be mislead, dear reader. Because, at least as it pertains to Turkey, this latest Pew Global Attitudes Projects Report is cow-dung -- and 'pew', we believe, aptly describes the odor rising from it.
© Learn Turkish of the People! - PEW, an International Study, with an outhouse smell