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OPINION

Fake factoids, false narratives

By Bradley R. Gitz

This article was published March 20, 2017 at 2:40 a.m.

A persistent source of frustration in politics is the citation of misleading statistics and shoddy research studies to reinforce dubious ideological narratives. Those doing the citing either know what they're doing and are therefore dishonest, or don't know and are therefore staggeringly dumb (or at least easily fooled and poorly read).

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RBear says... March 20, 2017 at 7:48 a.m.

Gitz, I thought this would be an easy column to pick apart and it is. Let's start with your first claim about climate scientists consensus. Doing a little research finds a more recent study in IOP Science which lists the data from which the results were derived. The point is that 97.1% of publishing climatologists support man-made global warming. That was also published at NASA (and surprisingly still remains on the site despite threats to silence the experts by the Trump administration. (Source: "Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming," IOP Science. April 2016.
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Regarding the college rape study, a 2015 survey published by the Association of American Universities cited a similar statistic, showing private universities with a higher rate (25.3%) compared with public universities (22.8%). The methodology is much more detailed than your Amazon gift card methodology. (Source: "Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct," Association of American Universities. Sept, 2015.
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These are but a few of the mistakes you made in this column. I'll look into the rest later, but it's pretty evident you're cherrypicking numbers from what seems to be very dated sources. I've used sources that are current within the last two or three years. How about actually doing research. After all, you're the academic, not me.

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BoudinMan says... March 20, 2017 at 8:18 a.m.

Here are other false narratives for you, BG: Trump received more electoral college votes than any other president since Reagan; there were over 2 million people at Trump's inauguration; it was raining on inauguration day, but when Trump started speaking the rain stopped; between 2 and 3 million illegal immigrants voted in the last election; Trumpcare will cover everybody with cheaper and better healthcare, and on and on.

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Lifelonglearner says... March 20, 2017 at 9:31 a.m.

Another uncomfortable fact for you; the Civil War was fought to protect the property rights, wealth, and businesses of the slave owners. The property was human beings who provided cheap labor.

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3WorldState1 says... March 20, 2017 at 9:40 a.m.

How is this guy still writing for a NewsPaper? Are there any business or journalistic ethics or standards at this paper? Well, it is an opinion piece so...OK.
Go back and read your opening paragraph. GOP voters verbatim. For instance: Why would a normal thinking person believe a politician that has been paid by the oil companies? It goes against everything the "against Gov." people believe.
On climate change. Let's say you're a welder. And you have been welding for for 40 years. A master at your craft. And some group comes in saying that you have no idea what you are talking about (and mind you, the group saying this is being paid money from another group trying to push this narrative). Who would the American people believe? The Welders Assoc of America? The Welders Union League (making these groups up) all the welders that have been practicing their craft? Or some paid off politician?
I'm just amazed at how gullible some are. This Gitz guy being one of them.
And I'm a big car guy. Love the smell and sound of big motors. But I also have a brain and can read. They don't have to be mutually exclusive.

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RBear says... March 20, 2017 at 11:45 a.m.

Gitz, digging further into your flawed and often inaccurate analysis, you come to a few other whoppers. Let's look at your "Ferguson Effect" conclusion. You attempt to lay the blame on the victims rather than the victimizers. In reality, the reports on the "Ferguson Effect" point to the fact that of the top 10 cities with the highest number of violent crimes, the poverty rate is higher than normal and the unemployment rate is 6% or greater. Interestingly, Little Rock is in that mix but seems to be an anomaly on the poverty and unemployment rates. Regardless, you seem to follow on Rosenfeld's position of the "Ferguson Effect," but for the wrong reasons. In fact, the Brennan Center, which you cite, attributes it to deterioration of urban areas, a fact that correlates with poverty and unemployment rates.
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With regards to racism in lending, there have been several studies in recent years that showed the correlation between racial components and lending practices, including one in Baltimore, a city with a 2-1 black/white ratio, that had twice as many whites granted loans than blacks. Several other studies have been cited in a simple Google search.
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I don't know if you are just Google challenged, but it seems all your references are from outdated sources to try to prove your weak points. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the D-G is not getting their money's worth out of you when looking for a reputable columnist. I'm beginning to wonder if you've finally reached your peak in terms of analytical reasoning.

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