Thursday, April 05, 2007

Make It Stop. Please.

I'm sick as a dog and, frankly, wasn't going to post today. But I can't let this pass without mockery. For brevity's sake, let's set aside Putz's decision to look to both Human Events and John Stossel to prop up his agenda; the desperation speaks for itself.

But we ought to look at some of Stossel's allegations, a big fat portion of which are either unsubstantiated, lies or spectacularly disingenuous.

1) Worse, because many reporters are statistically illiterate, personal-injury lawyers get us to hype risks that barely threaten people, like secondhand smoke, or getting cancer from trace amounts of chemicals. Um, regarding secondhand smoke. The, ah, Surgeon General kinda disagrees with Stossel.

2) Newsrooms are full of English majors who acknowledge that they are not good at math, but still rush to make confident pronouncements about a global-warming "crisis" and the coming of bird flu. That's cute, but I read Romenesko every day -- including the letters -- and have never seen such an "acknowledgment." Name one, Stossel.

3) Bird flu was called the No. 1 threat to the world. But bird flu has killed no one in America, while regular flu -- the boring kind -- kills tens of thousands. This actually is true. But does Putz really want to hitch his wagon to a guy who only deems something a threat if it kills a sugar beet farmer from North Dakota and not, say, one person every 30 seconds worldwide (i.e. malaria). That's something beyond repulsive.

4) What do you think is more dangerous, a house with a pool or a house with a gun? ... [A] child is 100 times more likely to die in a swimming pool than in a gun accident. ...Parents don't know that partly because the media hate guns and gun accidents make bigger headlines. Yes, that must be the reason. Nevermind that the misconception is thoroughly covered in Freakonomics -- you might have heard of it? (Page 135) The real problem with Stossel's theory is that the latter portion of the bolded sentence is probably true. Bleeds, leads, etc. But once again, Stossel offers no proof that the media "hates" guns or, conversely, loves swimming pools. [As an aside, I can understand why guns might be useful, but why oh why are loyal Americans expected to love guns? Any theories?]

Just a reminder: This clown upon whom Putz has bestowed an "Putzstalanche" once, as Media Matters put it, alleged that "Market forces would ensure high quality of human organs, just as they do hot dogs."


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