01 Apr Cherry Picking – FT#22
Cherry Picking is a logical fallacy in which the arguer ignores a large amount of evidence which casts doubt on their claim, carefully selecting only the parts which make their claim sound plausible. Where there is controversy on an issue, data to support both sides, or ambiguous reports which can be interpreted in different ways, it is entirely natural for people to favor the evidence that confirms their beliefs. However, when there is a preponderance of data on one side, or unambiguous facts some will still choose to select information that misrepresents the true situation or take elements out of context in order to mislead. These people are Cherry Picking.
We started out with this from the Donald, on unemployment and poverty:
Then we talked about his Twitter video about Mollie Tibbetts:
In Mark’s British Politics Corner, we talked about the different takes on the 2017 General Election result.
In the Fallacy in the Wild, we talked about this clip from Iron Man 2:
And used this clip from The West Wing to discuss cafeteria Christianity:
And you can find that Christian Apologetics site we talked about here.
Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game, all of which were from Trump’s insane, rambling CPAC speech:
1. I said, “We’re going to give you a new nickname, because ‘Chaos’ is not a good nickname.” So we changed his name. Called him “Mad Dog.”
2. Nancy Pelosi – or “Nancy,” as I call her – she doesn’t want to hear the truth.
3. Even my enemies say that Jeff Sessions – who I call Mr. Magoo, by the way – should have told me he was going to recuse himself.
Click below for the answer
Mark got it wrong this week, so he’s now on 33.3%.
Then we talked (and ranted a little) about the Barr Summary of the Mueller Report.
You can read the full summary here.
And finally, here are the stories we really didn’t have time to talk about…
- On March 15th in Christchurch, New Zealand, a white supremacist terrorist opened fire on a mosque, killing 50 people and live streaming the attack on Facebook. His 74 page manifesto explaining his actions specifically praised Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose” Within 6 days, New Zealand’s kick-ass Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden, announced a ban on military-style guns and high capacity magazines, and a government buyback scheme for weapons already in circulation. Which seems like it will probably be more effective than thoughts and prayers.
- Using the Anti-Defamation League’s Hate, Extremism, Anti-Semitism, Terrorism map data (HEAT map), the Washington Post examined whether there was a correlation between the counties that hosted one of Trump’s 275 presidential campaign rallies in 2016 and increased incidents of hate crimes in subsequent months. They found that counties that had hosted a 2016 Trump campaign rally saw a 226 percent increase in reported hate crimes over comparable counties that did not host such a rally. So when Trump tweeted “The Fake News Media is working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand. They will have to work very hard to prove that one. So Ridiculous!”
a) They have… and they have and b) Trump knows how this stuff works – he’s just done it in that very tweet!!
- The NRA is opposing the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act because it contains a provision allowing law enforcement officials to confiscate the guns of convicted domestic abusers. Because goddammit, if there’s anything more important than protecting the lives of abused women, it’s allowing their abusers to own guns.
- Further proof that the GOP just don’t get the interweb – Californian Republican Devin Nunes utilised the Streisand effect by have some beef with and suing the twitter account @DevinCow; thus ensuring that it now has more followers, and presumably therefore more influence that @DevinNunes himself. Of course, Twitter does have rules against impersonation, targeted harassment and attacks motivated by bigotry. But in cases of parody, Jennifer Jacquet asst professor at NYU and author of “Is Shame Necessary?” in pointing out that like most bullies they have thin-skins, said, it might be better for public figures to ignore criticism from little-known Twitter accounts, instead of lashing out. “It’s one thing if it’s a fake account that looks legitimate,” she said. “But this is a cow.” She could of course have quoted Bart Simpson who so presciently advised calm …
- Betsy Devos tried to justify her plan to strip all federal funding from the Special Olympics by saying they “had to make some difficult decisions”. It’s a weird flex from Cruella DeVos, considering the $17.6 million they gave last year represented only 1/40th of 1% of her department’s budget. If that’s too hard to picture, just think of it as 5 Trump trips to Mar A Lago, or half of one of Betsy’s 10 yachts. But sure, why waste all that money improving the lives of people with intellectual and physical disabilities. They’ll only blow it on hookers and wheelchairs.
- The voice there of our favourite bad-at-crime mastermind Jacob Wohl reporting hate crimes against him to the Minneapolis Police Department – the tweets he’s talking about say “I hope you f***in know that if [I] bump into you in Dinkytown or anywhere else in my city I’m going shoot you and sh*t on your f***ing bodies. Get that f**k out my city you piece of sh*t. Now.”
Pretty scary – especially the “bump into you” bit – except that they come from a fake account that Wohl got booted off Twitter for creating – This alleged hate-crimer can’t spell his own surname, hates homophones – hence presumably his not knowing the difference between knowing you’re shit and knowing your shit, and the guy in the picture used has hired an attorney… we all wait in anticipation of the same 130,000 tons of bricks that fell on Jussie Smollet to fall on Wohl, worth holding our breath?
- It was Mitt Romney’s 72nd birthday this month and thanks to a Twitter video of his staff presenting him with a cake made of Twinkies, we learned two things. 1) Mitt likes Twinkies, and 2) Mitt blows out his birthday candles like a fucking psychopath.
- Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign has some thoughts on who should and shouldn’t be interviewed on television news programs. Axios’s Jonathan Swan obtained a copy of a memo being sent from the Trump campaign to “television producers.” It says “Moving forward, we ask that you employ basic journalistic standards when booking such guests to appear anywhere in your universe of productions. You should begin by asking the basic question: ‘Does this guest warrant further appearances in our programming, given the outrageous and unsupported claims made in the past?’ At a minimum, if these guests do reappear, you should replay the prior statements and challenge them to provide the evidence which prompted them to make the wild claims in the first place.” Errr and we Brits thought you Americans don’t do irony!
See you all next time!