The fantasy of the analysis of the Houston Chronicle's story about military campaign contributions and any connection to reality took another hit when Michael Goldfarb of the Weekly Standard entered the fray. DBKP took a hard look at the research and analysis of this piece yesterday. We're now not alone.
From the Weekly Standard:
Does Andrew Sullivan read stories before he comments on them? In this case, I suspect he didn't, otherwise he's engaging in pure military-related fantasy. In response to this article from the Houston Chronicle reporting that Ron Paul and Barack Obama lead all candidates in fund raising among "donors identified as affiliated with the military," Sullivan headlines a post "Whom the Troops Support," with this stunningly self-indulgent conclusion (actually this is the whole post):Sullivan is an excellent example of the uncritical reader. We now take a break for Andrew Sullivan's erroneous conclusion. From the Atlantic.com:
Back to Goldfarb:
Just one indicator, of course: campaign donations from active service military members. And guess who's first? Ron Paul. Second? Barack Obama. Those tasked to actually fighting this war get it, don't they?
Except this isn't about campaign donations from "active service military members," whatever they might be, but "donors affiliated with the military," which Sullivan might have noticed had he slogged through the whole first sentence of the story. In fact, the first "active service military member" and Ron Paul supporter interviewed for the piece is 72-year-old Lindell Anderson, a retired Army chaplain from Fort Worth. Further, the Chron notes that the average size of Paul's donations from this subset was $500. How many active duty soldiers are giving $500 to fringe candidates a year out from the election? Not many, I suspect. In fact, among all the candidates, the total number of contributors surveyed here numbered less than 1,000--out of an Armed Forces of 2.2 million. And, remember, most of these contributors aren't even active duty.No one is saying there aren't any troops supporting Ron Paul or Barack Obama or Cindy Sheehan or whoever. But once again, another story about the story. This story isn't about how U.S. troops are rushing to empty their pockets into the Paul (and Obama) campaign coffers. It's about how a few people can chop data to their liking and how others in the media leap without looking first looking both ways onto the conclusion bandwagon.
It won't be the last time this happens. It won't be the last time DBKP point's it out. But it's always good to have company.
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