Hey Rizznites,

It’s been a minute since I’ve done a political post. Heck, a lot of you subscribing now probably haven’t even seen a political post from me unless you have gone through my archives. I’ve sort of been leaving the political commentary to Art, lately, but since still getting back into the habit of posting on the blog, I’m gonna pick up the slack today.

I spotted an item on Truemors today that pointed me to a CNN article on abortion rates:

Abortion rates do not change based on the procedure’s legality in different nations and rates remain virtually equal in rich and poor countries. Despite a dip in abortions, from 46 mil. in 1995 to 42 mil. in 2003, half of all procedures occur illegally under potentially dangerous circumstances. Officials say increased access to contraceptives is the best way to combat unsafe abortions, but frustration continues as countries like the US will not give funds to any health services associated with abortion.

To me, this sounded a bit off, as do a lot of the studies that come out of the mainstream press that have anything to do with morality. The problem with citing these stats in their article goes back to the big problem the MSM seems to have with checking facts, as well as checking the source of their facts. Setting aside the hundreds of ways that the MSM has screwed up my reporting on the gPhone, let’s look a bit to history on how the MSM doesn’t like to check facts when it comes to scientific stories intersecting with popular American morals.

I’m going to quote myself again. A couple years ago on a environmental story, I said the following:

Anyone who doesn’t have a habit of reading scholarly papers would tend to be alarmed by this seemingly expert opinion. I, on the other hand, have not only read quite a few ‘scholarly papers’ but have had close personal relationships with the scholarati. Let me say to you that the typical scholarly study writer in tertiary fields of study tend to be as full of bs, bias, and opinion as the next guy, and if you want to put stock in a scholarly ‘study,’ you had better read it for yourself.

I’m not in any way saying these studies are easy to do, but often what happens is they start out with a thesis, and then they cherry pick factoids, graphs, opinions and other nuggets to ‘prove’ their point, instead of investigating a phenomenon and reporting the results of their findings. As a result, these agenda studies (as I like to call them) often contain sources with shaky foundations at best. Many times the researchers haven’t even based their findings on primary sources. During a debate, one time, I was quoted a study citing the fallibility of abstinence based education. The outlandish claim was made that more people who are taught abstinence (as opposed to those who aren’t) catch STDs. I read the study, went through the sources, and as it turns out, the source quoted by the source quoted by the source quoted by the study was an opinion paper (and the number was based on pure speculation), not an actual fact. Since it was several generations deep in studies, it was being passed around as a complete fact.

The abstinence story I’m referring in that article comes from a popular MSM story that one of my writers at the time picked up on citing how abstinence only programs actually promoted promiscuity. While that may or may not be the case, the study my writer cited, the same study cited by the ever incorrect LA Times and the usually wrong UK Guardian was really what I’ve come to term an Agenda Study. The article cited was written in September of 2004. Here are some snippets of the results of about an hour’s worth of research:

“Texas has the fourth highest AIDS rates and ranks second, behind Mississippi, in births among teens ages 15 to 17, according to a new study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that draws on federal statistics. “

First of all, it turns out that Annie E. Casey Foundation did not do the research on this topic, and did not do the study, and did not get their source material from federal statistics. They pulled their information from a liberal watchdog group called “Advocates for Youth” (http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/). To be fair, Advocates for Youth did not do the research, study, or statistics themselves either. They got them from another liberal watchdog group called the “Alan Guttmacher Institute” (www.agi-usa.org).

The most recent statistics gathered by the AGI were in 1996, and these statistics are being quoted as much more recent in daughter reports. Secondly, data came from two primary sources: a) Abortion Providers and b) the Census Bureau. Census Bureau data is compiled every 10 years, so in 1996, the relevant Census Bureau data would have come from 1990, much before Bush’s policies were implemented and far before they could take effect. Data from other government agencies are at least in part derived from Census Bureau statistics, and in 1992-1996, the likelihood that they were dealing in the most recent Census Bureau statistics decreases even further, so the age of our data in the present time begins to age anywhere from fourteen years (optimistically) to twenty-two years (pessimistically).

I don’t even have to begin to acknowledge the inherent bias of trying to create a statistically accurate study based off findings of an industry who’s interests are being represented by the outcome of the study.

So, in summation, one of the cornerstone “facts” of the narrative is in fact … Well … Not.

So, essentially, I’ve shown a bit of history of the MSM’s propensity to err on the side of anti-Morality/pro-Science when reporting these things. Let’s take a look at this CNN article:

Women are just as likely to get an abortion in countries where it is outlawed as they are in countries where it is legal, according to research published Friday.

In a study examining abortion trends from 1995 to 2003, experts also found that abortion rates are virtually equal in rich and poor countries, and that half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe.

The study was done by Gilda Sedgh of the Guttmacher Institute in the United States and colleagues from the World Health Organ

ization. It was published in an edition of The Lancet medical journal devoted to maternal health.

Let’s start with where it was published. The Lancet medical journal is not a peer-reviewed journal, but a reader-reviewed journal. From the description of the journal on their website:

We seek to publish high-quality clinical trials that will alter medical practice […] critical appraisal of research and reviews is ensured by strong Comment and Correspondence sections.

This means that even the pro-Science bias can exit in peer-reviewed journals was not applied here – it was simply published because it was submitted, and looked credible and controversial enough to get the Lancet some attention. But who is the Guttmacher institute, anyways?

The Guttmacher Institute (formerly The Alan Guttmacher Institute) advances sexual and reproductive health in the United States and globally through an interrelated program of social science research, public education, and policy analysis. The Institute is named after an Ob/Gyn and former president of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Alan Guttmacher.

After looking through their publicly available yearly finance and shareholder reports, I was able to determine that partners of the Guttmacher Institute include: The Abortion Coalition, the ACLU, Catholics for Free Choice, Choice Communicators Network, Family Planning Coalition, Feminist Majority Foundation, International Planned Parenthood Federation, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Network of Abortion Funds, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Religious coalition for Reproductive Rights,

The same report, interestingly, showed that there was $15,000,000 unspent at the end of the year in 2005. Neither here nor there, but a bit odd.

Additionally, major funding for the Guttmacher Institute came from: the Ecotrust Foundation, Elaine P. Hapgood and the Educational Foundation of America (known for strong contributions to LGBT and abortion related causes), and the Planned Parenthood Federation.

All of this to say: follow the money and then come back and tell me whether or not you think that the ‘scientific studies’ of the Guttmacher Institute are valid and unbiased? Every group and individual I’ve listed is an organisation with a very strong political agenda. The entire institute is named after the founder of an organisation known for its wanton promotion of abortion.

Here’s the kicker: I was able to find all this data out with about 45 minutes of research! Why is it up to me to do the job of a science editor over at CNN? Why do they publish information where the core data is suspect? Is it an agenda, a bias, or just plain ineptitude? Does no one in the MSM use a critical eye at all when a new scientific study comes out?

This is why I stay away from MSM articles on the whole. No exaggeration: about 90% of the MSM articles I’ve come across in the last two or three months have had glaring inaccuracies, fallacies, or questionable core data like this. This isn’t a new thing, it’s just much easier these days to do research and find out the truth.

I’ve almost quit MSM completely. You should do the same.

/rizzn

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