Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Who is "Ryan" and why does he hate Democracy?

In late September I wrote about a blog in Southern Arizona who chose to misquote Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in an attempt to smear her. I call that lying. They never retracted the untruthful tweet. They never addressed their lie on the blog. Some moronic fellow-travelers retweeted the lie, one even admitted to spreading the lie knowingly.

This particular outfit likes to take shots at "liberal" newspapers (while free linking when it suits them) and bemoans the role of public education in society. Know this, if the anonymous coward who tweeted that lie did so while in the employ of a newspaper he would be fired. If a college student wrote a quote like that into a paper they could be expelled. You'd think one would pause when it becomes apparent two of your biggest targets have more stringent standards then yourself but we are talking about right-wing idealogues. Not very thorough hacks at that.

Not "Ryan"

How do they top themselves? Well, selective and misleading use of statistical information would be a start!

The folks at Gila Courier posted a piece on “evidence” supporting the need for passage of Prop. 200. Up to their usual standards, the Gila Courier provides no evidence at all, just a clear view of their agenda.

First I would like to point out the graphs published by Gila Courier are uncredited. Further, it appears the numbers used for the graphs come from the Wikipedia page United States cities by crime rate. The data used is for 2007, not 2008 as stated by Gila Courier. Additionally, Gila Courier supplies a link to the actual FBI page that uses 2008 data. This is misleading. Why graph data for a different year and source but supply a much better looking link? How very awkward!

Gila Courier intentionally selects two metropolitan areas with lower rates on violent crime for their comparison. By doing so, they avoid being complete, ethical and truthful by omitting: Albuquerque, Anchorage, Atlanta, Buffalo, Corpus Christi, Long Beach, Oklahoma City, Sacramento, Stockton, Tampa, Toledo, Tulsa, Wichita. These are examples of statistical areas with smaller populations but higher rates of violent crime. Of course, this comparison is from the Wiki page since that is the data they graphed. Glendale has half the population but almost as many violent crimes. Are they graphed? Heck no! There are similar examples for the other graphs supplied by Gila Courier. This not an ethical use of data. Gila Courier published something designed to mislead voters and benefit the Prop. 200 campaign.

One more point about the FBI link, data and page. If Gila Courier had actually used the FBI page they link to they would have to read past this admonishment on the FBI page:

Caution Against Ranking

Each year when Crime in the United States is published, some entities use reported figures to compile rankings of cities and counties. These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, or region. Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual reporting units from cities, metropolitan areas, states, or colleges or universities solely on the basis of their population coverage or student enrollment.

How very curious! The very thing Gila Courier attempts to do is something the FBI shows shouldn't be done with their data. So did they read that FBI page or not? Oh, Gila Courier didn't really use the data from that source! Got it!

Given that the Gila Courier has a track record of writing just about anything on behalf of whatever partisan cause they feel called to support, I have just one question; when will the folks behind Proposition 200 disavow or accept responsibility for this statistical charade?

Falsified data, lies, misleading graphs...Gila Courier, it's a crime what they do to Tucson.

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