Friday, February 25, 2011

Rummy makes the rounds, part V, Jamie McIntyre presents; Cage match with General Shelton

A serious interview. Covers Abu Graib, 9/11 trutherism, and Shelton's very different take on the administrations intention vis Iraq in the early days post 9/11, among and other things. Well done interview.

The fallacy you are looking for: Hasty Generalization

Interesting post, one of a series on war memoirs over at "On Violence" asks the following question:

Given only pictures of combat at its worst, we, the American public, the world, extrapolate that all of Afghanistan (or Iraq) is war at its worst. I’m sure there is a fallacy here, but I don’t know its proper name. (Reverse synecdoche?) The America media diet consists mostly of combat, and ignores the 2.5 people behind every combat soldier..

..This distortion hits all deploying or deployed soldier on a personal level. Every time Michael C or I told someone he was deploying to Iraq, we would get a shocked look of concern. They assumed he was going to battle. In truth, as he wrote about here, he was a Fobbit.


One might also add that such memoirs not only cause people to generalize from the instances to the whole in this further way: Afghanistan and Iraq are hell holes as wholes.

The logical fallacy is 'hasty generalization' which, from the looks of the link provided for the term 'reverse synecdoche' seems to be family related to the latter, which is itself a term of art from linguistics, not logic.

A brief natural history of a conspiracy theory...continued.


John Hinderaker continues to pester his betters at the Paper of Record, vis the alleged shady machinations of Big and Li'l Enos, the brothers Burdette HERE

Regarding: the below evolving pseudo fact, or meme, or whatever the hell you want to call it. Behold the three stage transformation of a bit of information with implicit quote into a reported direct quote:

Stage one - implied statement from subject of interview, one Tim Phillips (let's call it the "airquotes" version):

Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown, Mr. Phillips said in an interview on Monday.


Stage two - using the story, and above "airquote" from the Paper of Record, an outfit called "Think Progress" helpfully supplies the print equivalent of the 'airquotes' rendering them explicit, fabricating a direct quote, bringing it into existence like God himself. Most impressive:

Tim Phillips, ... current president of Americans for Prosperity, a front financed by David Koch, told the New York Times that Koch operatives "had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown."


Stage three, the Los Angeles Times engages in some editorial padification, and creative contextualization, basically making explicit and adding to the quote the implicit conspiracy theory it entails:

In fact, as Tim Phillips, head of Americans for Prosperity, a group created and funded by the Koch brothers to the tune of $40 million last year, told the paper, "even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown."


All of this while the original author of the New York Times piece sits on Mr. Hinderaker's letter (consequent to H confirming with Mr. Phillips the inaccuracy of the original) asking for substantiation of the "airquotes" original:

Eric, I believe we have corresponded before, but it has been quite some time. I have a web site called Power Line where I do political commentary, along with two co-authors.

I am writing about your article in Monday's paper called "Billionaire Brothers' Money Plays Role in Wisconsin Dispute." You quote Tim Phillips of Americans For Prosperity in a couple of places in your article, but I was struck by the fact that the most controversial statement you attributed to him was not a quote: "Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown, Mr. Phillips said in an interview on Monday."

As you probably are aware, Mr. Phillips denies making any such statement to you. Since you didn't put the statement in quotes, it apparently was not exactly what Phillips said. So my question is, what record do you have of the interview with Mr. Phillips? Did you record it? Did you take notes? If so, would you be willing to share your notes or recording with me? As you may know, the statement you attributed to Mr. Phillips has attracted a good deal of attention, and it would be worthwhile, I think, to determine what record you have of what he actually said.

Thank you.

John Hinderaker


Powerline, David to the Grey Lady's Goliath.

You go John.

No word yet from the nefarious Brothers Burdette.