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Whenever a major airplane accident occurs, there is a dramatic increas

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Whenever a major airplane accident occurs, there is a dramatic increas  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 11 Oct 2018, 00:56
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51% (01:45) correct 49% (02:03) wrong based on 1217 sessions

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Whenever a major airplane accident occurs, there is a dramatic increase in the number of airplane mishaps reported in the media, a phenomenon that may last for as long as a few months after the accident. Airline officials assert that the publicity given the gruesomeness of major airplane accidents focuses media attention on the airline industry, and the increase in the number of reported accidents is caused by an increase in the number of news sources covering airline accidents, not by an increase in the number of accidents.

Which of the following, if true, would seriously weaken the assertions of the airline officials?


A. The publicity surrounding airline accidents is largely limited to the country in which the crash occurred.

B. Airline accidents tend to occur far more often during certain peak travel months.

C. News organizations do not have any guidelines to help them decide how severe an accident must be for it to receive coverage.

D. Airplane accidents receive coverage by news sources only when the news sources find it advantageous to do so.

E. Studies by government regulations show that the number of airplane flight miles remains relatively constant from month to month.

Originally posted by tanvid on 15 Mar 2010, 22:01.
Last edited by Bunuel on 11 Oct 2018, 00:56, edited 4 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Whenever a major airplane accident occurs, there is a dramatic increas  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Mar 2010, 18:13
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Hey,

There seems to be enough confusion surrounding this to merit the full MGMAT treatment. So let's do it!

Whenever a major airplane accident occurs, there is a dramatic increase in the number of airplane mishaps reported in the media, a phenomenon that may last for as long as a few months after the accident. Airline officials assert that the publicity given the gruesomeness of major airplane accidents focuses media attention on the airline industry, and the increase in the number of reported accidents is caused by an increase in the number of news sources covering airline accidents, not by an increase in the number of accidents.

Conclusion: Increase in reported accidents caused by increased media attention, not increased accidents
Premises: After major accident, dramatic increase in reported accidents
Assumption: There's not some other reason accidents may increase

This question fits nicely into a category we call "Eliminate alternate causes", in which case the assumption is always that there isn't some other cause. All we need to do is weaken that assumption, and we're good to go.

A. The publicity surrounding airline accidents is largely limited to the country in which the crash occurred.
PROBLEM: This doesn't change any of the facts as we know them. All we care about is the inarguable fact that reporting goes up after a major accident. It doesn't matter where.

B. Airline accidents tend to occur far more often during certain peak travel months.
ANSWER: This explains why there might be lots of accidents that arrive in groups: because of peak travel times. This means it actually is more accidents causing the increased coverage.

C. News organizations do not have any guidelines to help them decide how severe an accident must be for it to receive coverage.
PROBLEM: This means that reportage might be a bit arbitrary, but like answer choice A, it doesn't change the facts. We want to know WHY reporting of accidents goes up. To say that there is no guideline to connect severity to newsworthiness does NOTHING to address the issue of why reportage goes up after a major accident.

D. Airplane accidents receive coverage by news sources only when the news sources find it advantageous to do so.
PROBLEM: Still, we don't know WHY they would find it advantageous to report more airplane accidents at some time than at others, so this doesn't help us.

E. Studies by government regulations show that the number of airplane flight miles remains relatively constant from month to month.
PROBLEM: This actually strengthens the argument. If flight miles are constant, it wouldn't make sense for there to be more accidents at one time than another, so it must just be a question of reportage.

Hope that helps!

-t
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Whenever a major airplane accident occurs, there is a dramatic increas  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Feb 2016, 17:31
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carcass wrote:
Whenever a major airplane accident occurs, there is a dramatic increase in the number of airplane mishaps reported in the media, a phenomenon that may last for as long as a few months after the accident. Airline officials assert that the publicity given the gruesomeness of major airplane accidents focuses media attention on the airline industry, and the increase in the number of reported accidents is caused by an increase in the number of news sources covering airline accidents, not by an increase in the number of accidents.

Which of the following, if true, would seriously weaken the assertions of the airline officials?

(A) The publicity surrounding airline accidents is largely limited to the country in which the crash occurred.

(B) Airline accidents tend to occur far more often during certain peak travel months.

(C) Media organizations do not have any guidelines to help them decide how severe an accident must be for it to receive coverage.

(D) Airplane accidents receive coverage by news sources only when the news sources find it advantageous to do so.

(E) Studies by government regulators show that the number of airplane flight miles remains relatively constant from month to month.


The OA is (B), and that's the best answer.
(B) Airline accidents tend to occur far more often during certain peak travel months.
If there are peak travel months, then the most airline travels happens those times of years. This means that major accidents are more likely, and so are smaller airplane mishaps. Those two would be correlated, because the increase in both is cause simply by the increase in total number of flights offered at that time of the year.

This is quite similar to the statistic that most car accidents happen within a mile of a driver's residence. You can imagine all kinds of wacky emotional explanations (folks get careless when the territory is more familiar, or people get impatient to get home, or people start texting folks when they get close to home, or etc.) We could dream up a few dozen seemingly compelling distractors. The actual reason is that, by far, the most driving occurs within a mile of a person's residence, and where the most driving happens, the most accidents happen. Accidents per hour of driving are no more likely close to or far from home, but many more hours of driving are spend close to home.

(A) The publicity surrounding airline accidents is largely limited to the country in which the crash occurred.
Hmm. Strangely irrelevant. Regardless of whether the publicity is limited to one country or extends beyond international borders, the airline industries fundamental argument could remain unchanged. This is not an effective weakener.

(C) Media organizations do not have any guidelines to help them decide how severe an accident must be for it to receive coverage.
Well if the media organizations did have guideline ("only report accidents of this such-and-such level of severity or greater"), then they wouldn't be reporting all the mishaps. The fact they report all kinds of minor mishaps suggests that this factoid may be true, but that doesn't make it a good weakener.

(D) Airplane accidents receive coverage by news sources only when the news sources find it advantageous to do so.
This totally strengthens the airline's argument. After a big crash, the hazards of airflight are on people's minds, so the news organizations focuses on it to give people what interested them at that moment. This totally justifies and supports the airline's argument. Often, one trap on a weakener question is a solid strengthener, and vice versa.

(E) Studies by government regulators show that the number of airplane flight miles remains relatively constant from month to month.
This is the opposite of (B), the OA, in a way. If airflights are happening at the same rate all 12 months, they we would expect mishaps to be happening at about the same rate all 12 months. If the new media only focuses on mishaps after a big crash, the news media must be singling out the airlines unfairly in the wake of a big crash. That is precisely the airlines argument, and if anything, this can be seen as supporting it. This is not an effective weakener.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Whenever a major airplane accident occurs, there is a dramatic increas  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2016, 01:29
Thank yu Mike :)

Official Explanation:



This is a statistical argument. The officials assert that there is in fact no increase in actual mishaps during the months after an accident, but an increase in the number of news sources reporting the mishaps— in other words, they argue that the statistics are not representative. To weaken this assertion, we would have to show that the statistics are in fact representative. (B) does this by implying that certain months are more likely to have more frequent accidents due to high volume of flights. Choice (A) is outside the scope of the argument. (C), (D), and (E) would all strengthen the assertions of the officials.
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Re: Whenever a major airplane accident occurs, there is a dramatic increas  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Oct 2018, 00:59
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

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Re: Whenever a major airplane accident occurs, there is a dramatic increas &nbs [#permalink] 11 Oct 2018, 00:59
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