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How Conservative Columnist George Will Lies With Statistics

Deception
Environment • Views: 30,503

Here’s an absolutely classic case of lying with statistics, as George Will abuses his position as a columnist for the Washington Post to shamelessly mislead his readers and disseminate deceptive climate change denial propaganda.

Will’s latest column makes a claim that’s true in a literal sense, but when examined more closely is nothing less than journalistic malpractice.

[President Obama] says that “the threat of climate change” is apparent in “raging fires,” “crippling drought” and “more powerful storms.” Are fires raging now more than ever? (There were a third fewer U.S. wildfires in 2012 than in 2006.)

Does it seem odd that George Will cherry-picked an arbitrary year (2006) to compare to last year?

There’s a reason for Will’s seemingly arbitrary choice, of course; when you look at the data from the National Interagency Fire Center over a longer timeframe, a very different picture emerges. David Appell graphed the data back to 1960, exposing the deception behind this denier’s claim:

Click to enlarge

As you can see, the trend is obvious: a severe increase in acreage burned over the last 20 years, and it’s accelerating dramatically. And it’s also obvious why George Will picked 2006 for his misleading comparison.

In the past, the Washington Post has refused to hold Will accountable for distortions just as egregious as this one, so I wouldn’t hold out hope for a correction or retraction.

Also see

Gun Control Advocates March as Nation Reels From School Shootings

US News • Views: 24,627

Thousands of demonstrators rallied Saturday in Washington to demand tougher gun control laws, many describing themselves as first-time capital marchers who’ve had enough of gun violence.

On a cold day, a vanguard led a blocks-long procession with a big blue banner, declaring “March on Washington for Gun Control: When we stand together, we stand a chance.”

The demonstrators want reinstatement of the federal ban on the sale of military-style semi-automatic rifles such as the one used in the recent Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead, plus the gunman and his mother. The protestors also want a ban on the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines and universal background checks.

Many marchers just carried black-and-white placards bearing the names of victims of gun violence, such as Veronica Soto, a Newtown teacher who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre.

More: Gun Control Advocates March as Nation Reels From School Shootings

Paul Ryan: Obama’s Tricking Republicans Into Playing the Villain

A role they were born to play
Politics • Views: 23,505

Empty-eyed granny-starver Paul Ryan is warning Republicans to watch out for that black man in the White House — he’s devious. He’s making Republicans say horrible disgusting things, and they’re falling into his tricksy trap: Rep. Ryan: Republicans Can’t Play the ‘Villain’ in Obama’s ‘Morality Play’.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Saturday warned that President Obama was working to delegitimize the Republican Party, and urged conservatives not to fall into the president’s trap by playing the villain.

“[Obama] needs to delegitimize the Republican Party—and House Republicans, in particular,” Ryan told conservatives at the National Review Institute Summit in Washington, D.C. “He’ll try to divide us with phony emergencies and bogus deals. He’ll try to get us to fight with each other—to question each other’s motives—so we don’t challenge him.

“If we play into his hands, we will betray the voters who supported us—and the country we mean to serve. We can’t let that happen. We have to be smart. We have to show prudence.”

[…]

“The president will bait us. He’ll portray us as cruel and unyielding,” Ryan said. “Just the other day, he said Republicans had ‘suspicions’ about Social Security. He said we had ‘suspicions’ about feeding hungry children. He said we had ‘suspicions’ about caring for the elderly. Look, it’s the same trick he plays every time: Fight a straw man. Avoid honest debate. Win the argument by default.”

“We can’t get rattled,” he continued. “We won’t play the villain in his morality plays. We have to stay united. We have to show that — if given the chance — we can govern. We have better ideas.”

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