Tuesday :: Mar 22, 2005

Charts and Nobel Prizes


by eriposte

Hello, readers. Thanks to the generosity of Steve and Mary, I am the latest addition to the blogging community here at The Left Coaster (TLC). I want to thank them both for this opportunity to let me voice my thoughts here -- in between (and sometimes, during) my "research projects" at eRiposte. (To those of you who are unfamiliar with my work, feel free to drop by at there and browse through some of my work.)

At TLC, I expect I will focus more of my time on the media. By that I don't mean I'm going to turn TLC into, say, a mini-Daily-Howler or a mini-Media Matters. No, I can't possibly hold a candle to those guys. What I like most is broad research, and use of such research to define strategies and drive execution. So, I expect to talk about media reform in the coming weeks (and possibly months).

Tonight, I'll simply comment on a couple of the latest outrages from the ICM - our Illiberal Conservative Media [the Entity Formerly Known As "Mainstream Media (MSM)" or (So-Called) "Liberal Media"].

The first incident comes from Conservative News Network (CNN), thanks to Media Matters and an alert reader "Scott":

In presenting the results of a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, CNN.com used a visually distorted graph* that falsely conveyed the impression that Democrats far outnumber Republicans and Independents in thinking the Florida state court was right to order Terri Schiavo's feeding tube removed. In fact, a majority of all three groups agrees with the court's decision, and the gap between Democrats on one hand and Republicans and Independents on the other is within the poll's margin of error.

According to the poll, conducted March 18-20, when asked if they "agree[d] with the court's decision to have the feeding tube removed," 62 percent of Democratic respondents agreed, compared to 54 percent of Republicans, and 54 percent of Independents. But these results were displayed along a very narrow scale of 10 percentage points, and thus appeared to show a large gap between Democrats and Republicans/Independents..."

Media Matters (MMFA) has the chart - go take a look. CNN basically set the bottom of the Y-axis at 53% - so you know how splendid that chart was going to look like. It appears that CNN has now fixed the chart (after MMFA had pointed out that the chart wasn't that cool). When I first saw the chart though, I was pleasantly surprised that CNN had not set the minimum of the Y-axis at 55%. I suppose 53% constitutes an improvement (with respect to 55%) and should be sufficient for Peter Beinart to fax in his next TNR piece starting with this sentence: "The original chart clearly shows the quality of news reporting at CNN is better than expected; so you Moore-loving lefties, give it a rest and become centrists already and embrace centrism with every centrist bone in your centrist body!" [NOTE to readers (just in case): Beinart has not actually said this.]

Alright. The second incident is more serious and involves Nobel Prize nominations.

[Continued in extended entry]

You've probably already seen this if you were at Media Matters earlier today, but just for fun let's take a peek:

Fox News host Sean Hannity and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough both promoted Dr. William Hammesfahr's false claim that he is a Nobel Prize nominee.

Hammesfahr, a Florida neurologist disciplined in 2003 by the Florida Board of Medicine who claims he can help Terri Schiavo, testified during an October 2002 court hearing on the Schiavo case that his claim to be a Nobel nominee is based on a letter written by Rep. Mike Bilirakis (R-FL) recommending him for the prize. But Bilirakis is not qualified to make a valid nomination under the Nobel rules.
...
But the fact that Bilirakis is not qualified to nominate Nobel Prize winners did not stop Scarborough or Hannity from referring to Hammesfahr as a Nobel Prize nominee. Hannity did so a total of eight times during a single hour-long program; Scarborough made the reference four times.

[There's a lot more at MMFA]

Here's an idea. Why don't we seriously consider an appropriate "Prize" for fraudsters like Hannity and his cohorts. Something akin to, perhaps, an Ignobel Prize (with due apologies to the Ignobel Prize nomination committee, and past Ignobel Prize winners). Since I'm not particularly humorous or creative, may I suggest that Hannity and Scarborough be nominated for a Pinnochio Prize, under the category, True Lies, for their contribution, titled: "How to Give Pinnochio an Inferiority Complex, and Make Millions with the help of Ditto-Heads at the Same Time"?

[Feel free to suggest other names in comments. Even better, if someone has the resources to set up a new set of half-yearly "awards" for lying liars and misleaders, I would strongly encourage that. Get some good backing for it from the grassroots and let's publicize it across the country. Let's get entertainers and turn it into our own version of the Emmy's. What say you?]

eriposte :: 9:18 PM :: Comments (16) :: Digg It!