Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Love to hear the Stossel go cheap cheap cheap

Look, if you take John Stossel seriously at all, you're an idiot. I can't help you, because you've lost the knack for discernment. His "reporting" is riddled with made up facts and anecdotal b.s.. It's just the truth. Do yourself a favor and check out anything he says before you make the mistake of referencing him in a conversation with smart people or e-mailing one of his articles to your friends. Just don't embarrass yourself like that.

Sadly, that's just how I received his latest article, in an e-mail from a conservative friend, along with the smug message that "You liberals are so compassionate other peoples money." (Funny, I don't remember ever handing $1.5 Billion of other people's money to oil companies, but that's neither here nor there.)

For the record, here are a few short points about Stossel's piece:
  • His Salvation Army bucket bit is b.s. There are no controls or description of demographics to make it meaningful.

  • The guy he quotes, Arthur C. Brooks, writes things like this on his website:
    The average amount given per household from the five states combined that gave Mr. Bush the highest vote percentages in 2003 was 25 percent more than that donated by the average household in the five northeastern states that gave Bush his lowest vote percentages; and the households in these liberal-leaning states earned, on average, 38 percent more than those in the five conservative states.
    Of course, Bush did very well in states with lower cost-of-living, too. For example, Wyoming, gave him his highest percentage of votes and Massachusetts his lowest. According to this site, it's 40 percent cheaper to live in Casper, Wyoming than it is to live in Boston, which might explain some of the tight-fistedness despite higher income levels. Making only 38 percent more in Massachusetts still equates to a lower buying power. (I haven't--and probably won't--read his book, but the short excerpt on the site is filled with such "insights" and when you add in population and, say, odds of commuting, you'd probably find it's all pretty much a wash.)

  • Brooks also writes lines like "Surely Jimmy Carter would have been surprised to learn that the selfish Americans he criticized so vociferously were most likely the very people who elected him president." Surely that right there merits a recheck of his numbers.
This is just a quick take, but, honestly, Stossel's one "journalist" I feel I can pretty much ignore.

To my friend who sent the e-mail: Be smarter.


Anonymous American said...

It's a good warning that should be applied to anything that comes out of mouths of "authorities" in any field. Many people think that just by sounding authoritative and eloquent they could make people believe in what they say. We got to think before we believe.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a lame response. It is so weak that I can't even enjoy the fact that sending it made you mad.

Thanks for nothing.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Nitpicker said...


You have to admit that Stossel has repeatedly skimmed information for the points he prefers (he demonstrated the failure of the American education system by using a Tonight Show "Jaywalkers" segment, for God's sake!). And, I'm not mad. I'm simply embarrassed for you.

Your party is reaching for straws and pulling out Stossel, Medved, Prager, etc. I would love for us to have a substantive debate about issues--our country needs that--but who will rise above the bullshit of these scumbags to discuss, rather than harass? I see no intellectual giants on the horizon.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is classic, you use the same tactics that you are accusing everyone else of and throw in a personal insult for good measure and then say you would like to have a substantive debate about issues.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Nitpicker said...

My point is your guys are dragging this debate into the crapper. They don't care to say, "These are the facts and that means I think we should do x." Instead they say, "What facts would prove what I think?" and toss them out there. Your party is sinking deeper and deeper into idiocy, my friend.

Too bad for you that most Americans aren't actually that stupid.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes again a very civilized response.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Nitpicker said...

And, for the record, E, you know full well I prefer substantive, thoughtful arguments, but I also like to bitch and cuss.

When I'm cussing and griping, though, I don't pretend I'm selling you reasoned analysis. This is the problem that I have with Stossel. He acts like he's a serious, thoughtful journalist when he's not. Me, I'm an asshole blogger. Sometimes I try to look at an issue seriously, and other times I make fun of people.

I can do what I want. I don't have a boss and my credibility is based on the fact I don't bullshit anyone about my opinions and I don't say things are facts without checking them first.

And, unlike Stossel and George Will, I've apologized and actually felt bad when I have gotten something wrong. That's what I was taught journalists were supposed to do.

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I always enjoy the bitching and the cussing!

1:40 PM  
Blogger Nitpicker said...

Thank you.

I love you too, brother.

2:06 PM  

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