[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Lee plays loose with words

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[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Lee plays loose with words

I enjoy Brian Lee’s often provocative writing in “Sports View.” But he often asks the reader to believe what he writes simply because he implies that it’s true.
One past example: He told us that Park Chan-ho had lost his fastball. Likely true. But did he talk to Park? Or Park’s coaches? He doesn’t say.
If not, he needs to use qualifiers before such a statement such as: “It appears as, arguably, likely, I believe that, etc.” But Mr. Lee doesn’t.
In his Nov. 13 column (“Win-at-all-cost mentality at odds with human rights”), Mr. Lee writes: “From the Japanese colonial days, physical punishment was the norm, not only for athletes, but also for many generations of students.”
This phrase implies, intended or not, physical punishment (stick hitting) was initiated by the Japanese toward Korean students during its colonization of Korea from 1910 to 1945.
But Korea has a long history of meting out physical punishment. The Dutchman Hendrik Hamel, who spent 13 years shipwrecked on Korea from 1653, writes in his book, “Hamel’s Journal”:
“Anyone who fails to pay the King’s tax is beaten twice or thrice a month on the shinbones.” And, “Thieves generally are beaten on their footsoles until slowly they die.”
Does Mr. Lee actually mean: “Korea has a long history of physical punishment, but it only began toward students and athletes during Japan’s colonization?” Who knows?
Even in opinion pieces, accuracy and unambiguous writing is essential. Readers should not have to guess at what the writer is saying. And important “facts” must be attributed.

by Mark Dake
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