CSotD: Facts, logic and other irrelevancies

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but he’s not entitled to his own facts,” a custom more honour’d in the breach than the observance.

So we’ll start today with Gary Varvel (Creators)’s cartoon, an attack that has also started popping up on social media, so not simply Varvel’s take on the number of companies offering travel benefits for women in forced-birth states.

The issue is an assumption that companies don’t offer both, an assumption that seems intended to justify an opinion.

I certainly didn’t research the entire growing list of companies that offer this travel benefit to their employees, but I did take approximately four minutes to check out three of the major players.

Besides the travel benefit, Amazon offers 20 weeks of paid parental leave, plus a flock of other parental benefits.

Dick’s Sporting Goods is less specific on its website, but offers both paid parental leave and adoption assistance.

And JP Morgan’s family benefits are monumental:

I’m not going to call anyone a liar — I’m no mindreader — but if I can find those facts in less than five minutes, a person with a regard for the truth and a sense of pride in his work could have readily done the same.

Passing along partisan talking points without taking a moment to fact-check them — from either side of the aisle — is stenography, not journalism, and talking points that most appeal to you should be the first you rush to verify.

The old saying is “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” And, yes, I checked out that old saying.

To which I would add Ernest Hemingway’s advice:

The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it.

Hemingway cut his teeth as a reporter for the Kansas City Star and understood journalism.

But perhaps it depends on whether you consider yourself a journalist or a pamphleteer.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Robert Ariail – AMS)


(Bob Gorrell – Creators)

These contrasting views of Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony present a more problematic view of “fact” and “opinion.”

Ariail’s opinion may be based on the flood of responses on social media and in the general press, but that would still rely on his selection of sources, as might Gorrell’s insistence that the testimony was a dud.

On the other hand, the  Wall Street Journal, a Murdoch-owned bastion of rightwing opinion, said in an editorial “Republicans can’t afford to look away from the accumulating evidence of (Trump’s) conduct,” while the equally conservative Washington Examiner ran an editorial  that began “Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s Tuesday testimony ought to ring the death knell for former President Donald Trump’s political career. Trump is unfit to be anywhere near power ever again,” and concluded

If that’s evidence of a dud, god save us from a bomb that goes off.


Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Michael Ramirez – Creators)


(Steve Breen – Creators)

I could have filled a whole post with cartoons about the death of 53 migrants in the back of a tractor trailer, but this pair shows the differing opinions.

Ramirez — along with Mike Lester, Chip Bok and Dana Summers — blame the deaths on US Immigration policy.

So does Breen, joined by Lalo Alcaraz.

The contrast is that the four conservatives cite “Open Borders” as the reason the migrants chose to pay a coyote to hide them in a cargo truck, while Breen and Alcaraz suggest that, if the borders were open, there’d be no reason migrants couldn’t simply walk across and apply for either asylum, work permits or landed immigrant status.

It’s a clash of opinions, not based on each having their own facts, but certainly on each having their own logic.

Taking the most charitable approach possible, I’m going to guess that what the conservatives mean by “open borders” is not that migrants are permitted free access to the country, but that customs officers do not thoroughly search each and every vehicle that crosses the border.

This level of charity may make me eligible for the Nobel Peace Prize, but it seems to fit Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s view, since he wants to once more shut down truck traffic for more minute inspections.

The last time he did that, it cost millions of dollars in spoiled produce, far more in its amplification of supply chain issues and turned up nothing.

If I were to suggest he was doing it to enhance possible presidential aspirations, that would be an opinion, not a statement of fact.

And there are already a lot of facts and opinions out there.


 Juxtaposition of the Day #3

(David Horsey)

(JD Crowe)

Here are a pair of opinions from the same side of the aisle, as Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson assumes her place at SCOTUS.

I think that Horsey was right in April to have saluted the historic confirmation of an African-American woman to the court, though she was neither the first woman, nor the first woman minority nor the first African American to rise to the bench.


IMHO, it’s nice that her appointment was not a tokenistic insult, as when feminist Ruth Bader Ginsburg was replaced with an actual handmaid, or when the brilliant, crusading civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall was replaced by Clarence Thomas, whose bona fides were questioned by many in the Black community, including Essence magazine.

But given the stunning decisions handed down since her confirmation, Crowe raises the important question of what the hell difference it’s going to make, beyond having her name instead of Breyer’s attached to all those dissents in 6-3 cases?

The good news, to the extent there is any, is that she won’t get to sign a dissent in Moore v Harper until after November, which means that, if that 6-3 decision ends legitimate elections in some states, it won’t be her fault but the fault of people who didn’t show up to vote in the midterms there.


In lieu of closing with music today, we’ll let Ann Telnaes describe the sad state of SCOTUS
with a brilliant interactive piece. Click here to set it in motion, and
be grateful for graphic journalism in a time of crisis.

One thought on “CSotD: Facts, logic and other irrelevancies

  1. …”a person with a regard for the truth and a sense of pride in his work…”

    I think I see the problem. 🙂

    The really sad thing is that at least 45% of the country take these fact-free opinions as gospel. (SIGH)

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