You seemed disbelieving (in your report on American Manufacturing, which aired on Nov. 29) that a merchant vessel could sink, or that it happens very often.

BY busadmin  December 7, 2007 at 1:49 PM EST

Question/Comment: You seemed disbelieving (in your report on American
Manufacturing, which aired on Nov. 29) that a merchant vessel could sink, or that it happens very often. Check out this as one source for information on world marine casualties. Actually, it could make an interesting topic for a segment.

Paul Solman: Very interesting. Although, let this be the occasion for my explaining that when I (and other reporters, too) express disbelief on camera, it’s often to drum home a point – to call attention to something surprising. I caught a hail of e-mail flak twice within the past year when I asked especially skeptical questions of two interviewees. I did so to goad them into coming back at me, making their arguments more forcefully. The interviewees both expressed gratitude afterwards. But a number of viewers took umbrage on the interviewees’ behalf.

Bottom line: You can’t win ‘em all. But at least I now have a forum to explain these things.