Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I have here in my hand ...

OK, Monday's bogus story about the September 2012 household unemployment survey has landed at The Fox Nation, courtesy of the Washington Examiner. What, you have to wonder, is taking Planet Fox itself so long? Could somebody be balking at the idea that even the lone bits of evidence in the original reporter's story don't do what they're put forward as doing?

Let's return for just a second to today's update from the Post:

I can’t say if the faking of the jobs numbers was politically motivated or not — although most of the extra 100 monthly surveys submitted by Blackmon did contain info that people did get jobs.

That would have helped lower the unemployment rate.

In order: Correct, if a little misleading; the writer not only doesn't know if the "faking of the jobs numbers" was politically motivated, he doesn't know whether it was occurring two years later. Nor do we entirely know how many times the notional maximum of 100 fake surveys were allegedly submitted, nor what it would mean for "most" of them to "contain info that people did get jobs." And if we don't know what proportion "most" was, then we really can't make any predictions about whether any particular set of alleged fakes -- assuming they were still allegedly happening two years later at the rate they were allegedly happening in the alleged first place -- would do to the household unemployment rate. Maybe they were biasing it downward in 2010; maybe they were biasing it upward in 2012.

Those are number questions -- some of the number questions, at least. They're unrelated to the conspiracy questions: why, for example, the Kenyan cohorts waited until just that moment to bring the household rate down just that much. (Sort of like FDR waiting until all the carriers were away before telling the Japanese to go ahead and attack Pearl Harbor.)

It's worth noting that, so far, we're talking about how a fairy tale propagates in reasonably mainstream venues. Imagine how it looks over to Glenn Beck's place.

Now that the seminar in political communication is drawing to a close, here is a secret about your host. My first exposure to mediated political communication was a collection of Herblock cartoons (thanks to my mom, who also passed along a 10" LP of "Songs By Tom Lehrer"). Thus, my appreciation of deranged right-wing legislators goes back about as far as my belief that a daily page of box scores is proof that God loves His/Her children and wants them to be happy. And every now and then, when your mom says "I told you so," the only proper response is "Yeah, you did."


Blogger John Braun said...

So, do the quote marks around "fake" mean that it's really not fake, or that the report has double secret fakeness?

8:52 AM, November 22, 2013  

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