Monday, February 2, 2009

McLaughlin: Man of Myths

I watch The McLaughlin Group religiously.  I find the panel tends to lean right in general, but for the most part enjoy the varied opinions and the cross-section sampling of views from the right. 

But, I have been increasingly annoyed with John McLaughlin continuing to trot out some seriously flawed and ridiculous myths that have been roundly debunked.  And it's been more annoying that the panelists don't call him on them.  Here is my list that have come up fairly frequently of late, and details (sourced) as to why they are bogus. 
  1. It was a victory for Bush that we "haven't been attacked" since 9-11 by terrorists.

  2. How this is ridiculous:

    • It's NOT TRUE. We were attacked after 9-11. Remember the Anthrax Attacks, the perpetrators of which are still at large? And how about the attacks on US facilities abroad? More here.

    • It confuses correlation with causation. Clinton also didn't have another attack on his watch. Is there a causal relationship? But even worse, Bush's response was abhorrent to have the same effect as Clinton. I couldn't say it better than Bob Cesca "President Clinton went more than seven years without a second 1993 WTC attack, and he did it without invading and occupying Iraq; he did it without torture; he did it without illegally spying on American citizens and the rest of it."

    • 9-11 happened in large part because of FAILINGS of the Bush administration to heed the warnings of many people about the danger of Al-Quaeda.

  3. Obama is the most liberal senator in the US Senate.

  4. This has been debunked. Their study only looked at 2007 (probably because that was the only year that the results turned out the way they wanted; the previous years showed Obama as the 10th and 16th most liberal, using their methodology), not the entire career voting records of each senator.

    The National Journal's study methodology has been called into question. They made the same kinds of mistakes that people doing bad meta-analyses make -- they appeared to cherry-pick the data to fit their conclusion. For example, "Oh, yeah, he voted to require the Department of Homeland Security to check all cargo containers entering the United States for nukes and stuff. That’s one of the votes that counted as “liberal” in the study" and see a fuller list here.

    For an actual scientific methodology, check out, which assesses congressional votes based on a rigorous scientific methodology -- it is not swayed by cherry-picking of votes to include in the analysis or by arbitrary definitions of what constitutes "liberal". Liberal-Conservative Rankings Done Right This methodology shows that there are 8 senators and 80 house representatives more liberal than Obama.

  5. The US is a center-right country and/or Obama and his administration are center-right

  6. There are so many things that debunk this claim.

    • The majority of Americans favor progressive policy positions and reject their conservative counterparts. Election '08 -- The Center-Right Myth
      The latest Pew Research poll showed that only 25 percent of the public agrees with the centerpiece of the conservative tax program: making Bush's tax cuts permanent. The public also agrees by 58 percent to 35 percent that the government should guarantee "health insurance for all citizens even if it means raising taxes." Exit poll data showed that 60 percent of voters were worried about rising health care costs and that 66 percent of those people backed Obama. A majority of Americans also want to expand environmental protections, increase the minimum wage, recognize same-sex marriage, and end the Iraq war, to name a few.
    • Obama ran on the most progressive platform in years and won with a majority of the popular vote (by 7.4 million) and won 63 more electoral votes than Bush.
    • More and more democrats have been voted into congress in the past few elections, even unseating incumbents like Senator Ted Stevens of the very-conservative Alaska.
    • Polls show that people state-by-state self-identify as overwhelmingly democratic-leaning, with only a few exceptions.  And overall, a majority of Americans said they identified with or leaned to the Democratic party in 2008.

No comments:

Post a Comment