Calling BS


Kevin Drum has an excellent post on a context-less statement by Obama.  It seems the prez said

“Today’s system of fifty different sets of benchmarks for academic success means fourth-grade readers in Mississippi are scoring nearly 70 points lower than students in Wyoming—and getting the same grade.”

Bob Somerby, among others, rightly called this out as meaningless on its own.  Kevin seems to have found the context, and it shows that this is a legitimate and serious issue (basically, because each state creates their own tests, you can’t measure one against the other, so every state claims they are average or above average, when in fact the Mississippi average is really significantly lower than the Wyoming average).

What’s really important here though is that the blogosphere held his feet to the fire on this.  If there is any one thing that turned me against the modern conservative movement in the US is their incessant use of truthiness (thank you Steven Colbert) instead of facts.  Certainly not something limited to conservatives, but they seem to have taken it beyond the pale.

If Obama and the progressives are to avoid the fate of conservatives, we need to make sure they back up their galvanizing stories with actual facts.


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