« Hans Blix Is A Fucktard | Main | BloggerCon (Job) - Day 1 Report »

Junk Political Science

Kevin Drum notes a survey (PDF) that says, among other things :

The extent of Americans' misperceptions vary significantly depending on their source of news. Those who receive most of their news from Fox News are more likely than average to have misperceptions. Those who receive most of their news from NPR or PBS are less likely to have misperceptions. These variations cannot simply be explained as a result of differences in the demographic characteristics of each audience, because these variations can also be found when comparing the demographic subgroups of each audience.
The problem is they have found a correlation, and tried to make it causal link. They present no evidence as to causation. It' is opinion polling dressed up as a scientific study.

I'm not disputing their numbers, but instead the inferences they are trying to make. They simply have not shown a statistical approach worthy of the kind of absolute causation claims that they are trying to make. An economist trying to make similar conclusions would be laughed out of the room and flunked on their thesis. I can think of all manner of criteria that they did not control for but a look at one of the comments highlights the same kind of junk science that would be possible if the misperception set were altered.

If the survey was on the following three misconceptions:

  1. Halliburton and other administration business interests was behind the decision to go to war in Iraq.

  2. The U.S. government knew the 9/11 attacks were going to happen, and did not stop them so they could further their global war strategy.

  3. The UN Weapons Inspection Program completely disarmed Iraq.

The study results would be completely reversed. Those who receive most of their news from NPR or PBS are more likely to have misperceptions. Those who receive most of their news from Fox News are less likely than average to have misperceptions.

The comment section for this entry is now closed.






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy