Friday, January 11, 2013

Fox News Hates Math... and facts

During the tail end of the election, Nate Silver ran a meta-analysis of the running polls which predicted an overall likelihood of Obama winning of 79%.  The actual analysis was a pretty exhaustive and thoroughly explained collective statistical analysis that looked at the populations that were sampled and how that affected the electoral result.  Note that the statement was that he had a 79% chance of coming out the winner (that too, specifically in terms of electoral votes) -- not that he'd win with 79% of the popular vote.  Either way, the point is that it wasn't his opinion.  It was the cold hard math.  Which is precisely why conservatives railed on him for being a political ideologue because the idea of math pointing to Obama's victory.

Because, well...  math has a liberal bias after all.  Since it's true.

So then Fox News' show, The Five, where they pit four magnificently idiotic conservative bullshit factories against a phony liberal who feigns ignorance of everything, just came out with their latest enemy -- algebra.

Eric Bolling is one of those people who apparently has a job at Fox News because of his skill to take any isolated incidence of even the appearance of political preference in a school environment as proof of indoctrination.  Oh, and the ultimate liberal bias of algebra?  Teaching kids all about the distributive property!  It brings chills to my spine just thinking about it!

Now the connection of the distributive property to "wealth redistribution" is something that's is anyway an amazingly idiotic equivocation.  Seriously...  how he seems to think that teaching that "c(a+b) = ca + cb" is part of the agenda to train people into favoring a welfare state would require some sort of hyperdense concentration of stupidity.  Now in all fairness, if you actually watch the video, he did include an example of a worksheet exercise that had a heading up top that said "Distribute the Wealth" and showed a picture of a girl holding money in her hand.  Beyond that, there's no mention of wealth or money anywhere...  just a whole bunch of arithmetic problems that demonstrate distribution in addition and multiplication.  No real indication was given of whether that worksheet came from a textbook, some supplementary handbook, or was something specific to an individual teacher.  Nonetheless, he felt the need to mention this only after talking about common school textbooks just so it could look like a national problem whether or not it actually is in any textbook.  Bear in mind that we're dealing with Fox News so being deliberately misleading like this is par for the course.

It's all about these evil math textbooks that teach parts of the liberal agenda like the Distributive Property~~!!  DUN-DUN-DUUUUN!!  Although the fact that they were blowing it out of proportion even if you assume that there actually was such a problem to begin with, the topic just got shifted back to "it's all about the textbooks."  You have Kimberly Guilfoyle going in with such forceful indignation saying that if she saw that worksheet she'd put a big X through it and write "No, you don't!"  I love how the actual content of the worksheet and the fact that it's not even algebra, but arithmetic has nothing to do with it, and yet it's the people who wrote the worksheet who are playing politics here.  This isn't merely the pot calling the kettle black...  it's a friggin' chunk of obsidian calling a sheet of paper black.

Other examples of the liberal bias?  The point that "Cowboys & Indians" is a fallacious concept because the actual history points to most of the plight of Native Americans being caused by the U.S. Government.  Saying that Dubya claimed WMDs were in Iraq and then none were found...  and of course, that climate change is real.  Oh, dear lord!  The bias!  Poisoning our children by telling them things which are factually true beyond all possibility of doubt!  The filthy libs!

I mean, it was so beyond the realm of reason that even Bob Beckel, the phony liberal on the panel who spent the majority of the segment pretending that math homework for 6th graders is impossibly difficult...  had to quip that all the examples that they brought up are things which are actually correct.  And despite his efforts to try and temper it, the powerful counterargument is that "everybody has anecdotal evidence of this."  Oh my...  well, anecdotal evidence.  How can you possibly deny that?  You know, other than the fact that anecdotal evidence isn't actually evidence at all, and it is about as real as a boy crying wolf in Antarctica.

Gutfeld said something about science teachers looking at people like they're idiots.  Well, there's certainly a reason why they'd look at you like you're a flock of idiots.  Hint : It's because denoting you as an idiot would be an emphatically accurate assessment.