Math challenged reporter

Math-challenged reporter: The world does not need another politically-oriented weblog so for the past two years I have successfully resisted all urges (with a couple exceptions) to comment on my views about domestic or geopolitical issues.

However, I’m going off-topic to post a quote from an AP story about the Senate passage of the Medicare legislation this morning to illustrate how the political leanings of a writer can cause them to completely mis-represent the point.

Here is the quote from the AP story:

While Frist and others called it a bipartisan vote, the tally fell largely along party lines. Forty-two Republicans, 11 Democrats and an independent backed the legislation. Nine conservative Republicans joined 35 Democrats in opposition.

I assume the unidentified reporter has covered the Senate before so they would know that when 11 Democrats vote with the opposing party and 9 Republicans bolt from their President and Senate Leader to vote with Democrats, the phrase “largely along party lines” is not an accurate analysis of the vote.

In other words, 20% of Democrats voted with the majority of Republicans and almost 20% of Republicans voted with the majority of Democrats.

While “largely along party lines” may be factually correct, it is still bad math and, yes, helps perpetuate the belief that reporters write with thinly veiled bias.

  • Hudge

    To be fair to the reporter, I must point out that you assume the editor didn’t stick that in to the reporter’s original text.

    You are right, tho, in a body of 100, for this amount of crossover to occur is far from party lines, and indicates the difficulty of the choice regarding this bill.