How to lie, truthfully

The logical fallacy is that of the reduce to the absurd. Texas is the target. That is because its governor has declared himself for the Presidency and that governor is Republican. The first effort was to diminish the recent Texas employment record either by going after unemployment levels or by asserting that any jobs created were of poor quality. The Big Picture cites four studies (an appeal to both authority and common voice) that purport to show this and then elevates the attack

So, putting employment aside, I thought I’d examine some other metrics by which states are measured. Using the excellent database at the Council of State Governments (which I’ve written about previously), I took a look at a dozen “quality of life” metrics to see how Texas ranks relative to its peers.

The selected statistics and ranking are much in line with what you can see about the U.S. as a whole being crime infested and poverty stricken. You will also see the Texas Governor labeled as “Bush III” and other such ‘guilt by association’ efforts. As the author continually replies in the comments to those who take note of other statistics, “I looked at DATA, too. Just not the employment data to which you refer.”

That is the first item to note in trying to establish a quality to the post. It has an agenda and is out to prove a point rather than make a finding or express an opinion. Another item is the attempt to establish credibility for itself by citation. A third is the focus on data rather than on its interpretation (and it is the interpretation that is at issue in the post). All of these items should create a good deal of skepticism about the quality of the post.

What such a truthful lie does do is to invite further inquiry for those seeking the ‘big picture’ and that is probably a good thing.

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