Contributed by: filbert Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 08:14 PM CST
You’d think that in a presidential campaign year, a “study” by an organization propped up with money from someone who contributed more to defeat George W. Bush than anyone, plus cash from the wife of the man who ran against Bush in 2004, would be treated skeptically by our oh-so-impartial and professional mainstream media.
Not a chance. This week, when Soros’ group accused the White House and Bush cabinet secretaries of making hundreds of deceitful assertions about Saddam Hussein and his nuclear ambitions, the activist organization was treated as an objective source.
It is odd, isn’t it, how the media never seems to accept uncritically studies from non-left-wing organizations. Here’s an example, from the Kansas City Star:
The Show-Me Institute, a St. Louis-based libertarian group with Kansas City ties, released a study Wednesday that lambastes light rail as a bad fit here. However, the author and some of his arguments have been at the center of controversy elsewhere.
. . .
The study’s author is Randal O’Toole, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. He has written several papers and books denouncing light rail. National pro-rail groups such as the Center for Transportation Excellence have accused him of presenting flawed and inaccurate arguments. Some of those arguments appear in the Kansas City study.
“I think it’s important to look at this study in the context of its author,” said Mark Huffer, executive director of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, which is leading Kansas City’s light-rail planning. “I think the conclusions … were a foregone conclusion before he (O’Toole) started.”
. . .
Show-Me and O’Toole, meanwhile, view light rail as a boondoggle that doesn’t live up to its promises to increase overall mass transit usage, among other things. However, the Kansas City study includes some methodologies and arguments that O’Toole’s been criticized for elsewhere, such as drawing sweeping conclusions from small samples of statistics.
Take crime. O’Toole wrote that light rail has “by far the worst crime record in the transit industry” and cited federal statistics for crimes such as homicide. However, those statistics show that light-rail lines across the country were associated with just two homicides in the past seven years.
“For every study he cites that says one thing, I can pull out another study that says the opposite,” ATA’s Huffer said.
When the media doesn’t like a study, they rush out to find someone to say it’s full of it. When they like the results, isn’t it funny how “balance” somehow never makes it into the story?