Monday, March 20, 2006

Numbers Game

I'm a regular reader of The American Prospect. They are on the side of the angels--if way more balanced than an overtly partisan publication has any reason to be. But this article by Garance Franke-Ruta is the kind of writing I just cannot somach:
"A Prospect examination of the authors published [in the NYT op-eds] between late February 2004 and late February 2006 found that 90 percent of writers -- including staff columnists -- who discussed abortion on the Times op-ed page over the past two years were male. These men wrote 83 percent of the op-eds that mentioned abortion.

Even more surprising, more op-eds that mentioned abortion in the Times were written by pro-life men than by women of any belief system."

"Even more surprising?" How could anyone be surprised by that second paragraph if they read the first? Assuming the first paragraph is true, then the second would almost have to be. In fact, that statement would be true if even 21% of the men were pro-life and 100% of the women were pro-choice. When a writer feels the need to play that kind of game with numbers, I strongly suspect that the numbers do not support her case.


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