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Company Information :
Not Dead Yet
7521 Madison St.
Forest Park, IL 60130
Ph. 708-209-1500, ext. 29
Fx. 708-209-1735

Media Contacts:
Stephen Drake
Research Analyst
708.209.1500 Ext. 29

Disability Activists Blast AP For Badly Botched Kevorkian Survey, Reports Not Dead Yet

AP-Ipsos Poll on Kevorkian Inaccurate and Misleading

For Immediate Release

FOREST PARK, Ill./EWORLDWIRE/May 31, 2007 --- Disability activists from Not Dead Yet have demanded corrective action from the Associated Press after the release of poll data just three days prior to the parole of Jack Kevorkian. Kevorkian has served eight years on a second-degree murder conviction for his killing of Thomas Youk by lethal injection.

According to a widely-distributed AP story announcing the results, 53 percent of the respondents disagreed with Kevorkian's incarceration.

According to disability activists who have followed Kevorkian's career closely, the results are highly suspect since the question the public was given misled it in regard to the nature of Kevorkian's crime and the characteristics of his overall "body count."

According to the AP, the survey asked the following question:

"Do you think that Michigan doctor Jack Kevorkian should have been jailed for assisting terminally ill people end their own life, or not?"

"This question misinforms the respondent about the nature of the crime Kevorkian was convicted of and also mischaracterizes the health status of the majority of people who died at his hands. As anyone who watched the 60-Minutes telecast knows, Kevorkian directly injected lethal chemicals into Thomas Youk. This is not 'assistance'," says Stephen Drake, Not Dead Yet's research analyst. "Further, the word 'people' is paired with 'terminally ill', indicating that the majority of his body count consisted of people who were close to death." Beginning with the Detroit Free Press series 'The Suicide Machine' in 1997, there is overwhelming documentation that the majority of people who went to Kevorkian had non-lethal chronic conditions and disabilities.

Diane Coleman, president of Not Dead Yet, personally contacted Trevor Thompson, the AP's Manager of News Surveys, to demand a retraction and correction.

"Mr. Thompson eventually agreed the question didn't jive with the facts of Kevorkian's career or conviction but rejected any corrective action after consulting with the D.C. Bureau Chief, Sandy Johnson. Johnson claimed that the story about the poll was accurate, disregarding responsibility for contaminating the poll with a misleading question."

Carol Gill, Ph.D., agrees with the concerns of Not Dead Yet. "All good survey designers know that misleading questions produce invalid results. When participants are asked to respond to inaccurate and confusing items, the result is spoiled data. Unfortunately, this poll contained flawed questions. It's impossible to base sound conclusions on these results." Professor Gill is a research psychologist and associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Drake adds that the refusal of Thompson and Johnson to address the misinformation in the poll is a violation of the AP's public "Statement on Values and Principles," which calls for swift and comprehensive corrective action when it publishes erroneous information.

"This is worse than the usual error," says Drake. "In this case, it created news in the form of a survey and then reported on that fabrication. Instead of simply reporting misinformation, AP has created the information in a way that superficially resembles scientific sampling. It has knowingly polluted the public discussion about an important public policy topic - and the organization is refusing to take responsibility for it."

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Diane Coleman
Not Dead Yet
7521 Madison St.
Forest Park, IL 60130
PHONE. 708-209-1500
FAX. 708-209-1735
EMAIL: ndycoleman@aol.com

Stephen Drake
Not Dead Yet
7521 Madison St.
Forest Park, IL 60130
PHONE. 708-209-1500, ext. 29
FAX. 708-209-1735
EMAIL: sndrake@aol.com

KEYWORDS: euthanasia, disabilities, assisted suicide, disabled, handicapped, right to die, bioethics, Kevorkian, assisted suicide, euthanasia, right to die, disabilities, handicapped, disabled

SOURCE: Not Dead Yet


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