Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Washington Post “Fact Check” Anything But

If there are a coven of muses of professional American journalism (yes, I’m deliberately using a mythical allusion), then one of the doyennes must be the Washington Post.  It is a crown jewel in the diadem of the main-stream media (MSM) and doggedly pursues and promulgates the post-modern mindset of the political Sophisticati.  It does have its moments wherein a professional attempt at balance, and a focus on analytical clarity and perception, is shown (for example) through its patronage of Charles Krauthammer and George Will.

Today is not one of those times – far from it.

Glenn Kessler’s “Fact Checker” of 10 April headlines “Are Obama’s job policies hurting women?”  The object of its column is the quote from Sharon Day, co-chair of the RNC:
For far too long women have been left behind in Obama’s job market.  Of the 740,000 jobs lost since Obama took office, 683,000 of them were held by women.  That is truly unsustainable.
Kessler wends his way through thirteen paragraphs of ‘Well, it depends on how you look at it” before finishing with this astounding conclusion:
The Pinocchio Test
We cannot fault the RNCs’s math, as the numbers add up.  But at this point the figure doesn’t mean very much.  It may simply a function [sic] of a coincidence of timing – a brief blip that could have little to do with “Obama’s job market.”
If trends hold up over the next few months, then the RNC might have a better case.  But at this point we will give this statistic our rarely used label:
Passing over Kessler’s convoluted attempts to massage and excuse the data in his preceding paragraphs, we need only focus on this conclusion to consider how stunningly perverse is his analysis: the numbers are accurate but have no real meaning at the moment (after 39 months of Obama’s presidency); if the trend continues, then within a few months he may allow that they are correct, though the timing then is just as arbitrary and he still wants to hedge his bet, despite the fact that even more numbers will add up in math that he cannot fault. 

And what to say about “TRUE BUT FALSE”?  Is he taking a cue from the “fake but accurate” desperation of the ‘Rathergate’ scandal?  Does he take solace from NBC editing the 911 Zimmerman tape to “unintentionally” make him sound racist, or ABC covering up Zimmerman’s wound on the back of his head while reporting him uninjured?

How many people just accept these distortions uncritically?  Too many, it would appear, based on the arrogance of the assertions.

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