UnLocke the Truth

The anatomy of a John Locke Foundation report is at once complex and simple. Complex in its obfuscation of the truth, simple in its structure. A key to unlocking the code lies in the footnotes, the Achilles heel of every John Locke report. The secret lies not in the footnotes themselves but in the source from which they are cited, invariably out of context, frequently inaccessible for verification or, fabricated by the author (1).

The body of a report or a “spotlight” knits together disparate fragments of language and data, apparently building a case for pre-determined policy issues, decorated with a daisy chain of footnotes.(2) The JLF method appears to search for shards of information that can be pieced together into something resembling a scholarly article (without peer-review) just long enough to turn it into a PDF file and issue a press release. Few have the time, the resources (of Art Pope) or the inclination to verify the facts and reveal the distortions.(3) Those that do risk spinning their wheels or raising their blood pressure instead of doing something more constructive.

Summaries and abstracts put a spin on the content consistent with JLF policy. The title and subtitle provide the partisan lens through which to view the trigger words and phrases embedded in text. And finally John Hood will make reference to the “findings” or a “new analysis” in a column or speech and the spin is at large as Republican talking points and rarely held accountable for the truth.(4)

Even when the facts of a text belie the JLF message a headline can spin the opposite message. In a recent Carolina Journal article on Green Building the JLF headline was:

It's Not Easy Being Green, Schools Find
Red tape and bureaucratic mazes add thousands to cost of schools

The article talked about the cost of green “certification” which I agree is costly and not essential to creating green public buildings but the actual example in the article:

..did indeed recoup the extra costs in energy savings over the first two years.

In other words, after two years this building was costing less to construct and operate than comparable standard buildings. Obviously JLF doesn’t want a more efficient government, they just don’t want to be governed.

(1) Unsubsantiated phrases like “calculated by author” without method or data.
(2) I read footnotes.
(3) I track down sources.
(4) More to come.

Comments

Most excellent, Greg.

I was hoping you'd lend your critical eye to the dung heap(1) of JLF "reports"(2) and encourage you to keep up the good work.

(1) Sometimes known as bullshit, or cesspool
(2) "Opinion-manufacturing" as noted in the Raleigh News and Observer

____________________________________

“Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.”
― Joe Biden

Good stuff!

Oooo .. this is really good stuff, Greg!!

So, JLF really is NC's own mini-version of Regnery Publishing... or Heritage ... or other wingerSPINtankwhathaveyou. I had my suspicions. See, Johnny Hoodwink always did seem to be full of himself -- from the first bored rainy Saturday morning watching his smug mug on the teevee. A and Greg are on the trail and proving it. :) Beautiful.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful...

oh how wonderful you are!!!! Since the repeal of the fairness doctrine, nobody but Citizen Journalists seem to provide oversite and fair and balanced reporting. Thank you Greg for nipping at his archiles heel, you and A are doing a WONDERFUL job.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Intellectual incest

Many times you will see cross references to Cato, Manhattan, Hudson, Heartland, Reason, Heritage reports, a form of intellectual incest that compounds fallacies and creates a buzz in the echo chamber.

In a previous post on Astroturf Activists I mentioned the State Policy Network which provides a formal structure for these groups to interact.

Oh yes, they will "quote" from "peer-reviewed" publications but cherry-picked, out of context and poorly applied to matter at hand.

Popular Republican Tactic

CJ has lots of links in their articles. I remember once, long ago, when reading CJ I started clicking on links and they all referenced back to previous CJ stories. The same thing happened at Ogre's Place (home of: Sorry, faggots, in this country, at least so far, we've got freedom of speech.), he would point out that he did give links to the "facts" and they would be previous posts of his where he ranted and raved, but gave no links.

Now, to be fair, I just went over to CJ and lo and behold, they have lots of outside links. Almost all to right-wing blogs or homepages of organizations they are discussing, but outside links nonetheless.

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

There is something so beautiful

About watching pseudo-scientific reports being shredded.