The Professor's Notes

Where my thoughts and your eyes (and now ears!) collide

A Liberal Dose

Posted by Steve Brady On April - 17 - 200613 COMMENTS

A Liberal Dose:

“Among the troops, a flood of desertions (thanks in no small part to the efforts of GI Rights Online) is indicative of the growing unpopularity of the occupation — fully 72% of American troops in Iraq support ending it this year.”

Here we go. “flood of desertions” this blogger claims. This particular blog reminds me of some of the worst writings I have seen in class. Students will do anything to get a point across in their papers, and will cite things that don’t actually argue what the student portrays it to be arguing. Unfortunately, I have actually seen articles submitted by academics for peer reviewed journals, where the authors misrepresent the argument put forward in a cited work.

This is a classic point in case. According to this blog, one would think that we are losing soldiers, sailors, airman and marines at a phenomenal rate–perhaps even greater than ever before. Wow! I was surprised enough to go check his source. Much to my surprise I saw in the graphic the heading “Desertions drop.” Hhmmmmm flood? The article goes on to point out that desertions have continued to drop since 9/11/01, and in fact “Desertions in 2005 represent 0.24% of the 1.4 million U.S. forces.”

Two points strike me here. First, the numbers are not only lower than they were in 2001, but they are also lower than they were in 2000–while that “other guy” was still in the White House! Second, most desertions happen stateside, are early in an enlistment, and more often than not are based on personal issues (failure to adapt to the military lifestyle, personal issues back home) than they are a protesting of a war the nation was engaged in at the time of the enlistment!

In the same blog entry, further down, the blogger makes the rather simple mistake of referring to election fraud in the 2004 election, when the article again and again states it was the 2002 election. Why is this a big deal, and not just a simple error? Because we are all told by the left how corrupt the ’04 election was, but not the ’02 one.

So here we are. This blogger has become so blinded by his political ideology that either he can no longer read things carefully, or he chooses to distort the sources.

I had actually commented on his blog, providing a correction, but it seems that, while he shows that comments are allowed, but moderated, he actually doesn’t put comments up for view. Hmmmm… I must admit, because of the errors on this one page, and how easy it is for someone to quickly check the facts by actually reading the sources cited, I found myself wondering if this blogger is actually a conservative make a veiled attempt at making liberals look stupid. Hey, it’s either that, or…

So students, learn a valuable lesson. Before you cite something, read it. Make sure that the document you cite actually buttresses the argument you are using it to make, or at least that you represent their argument accurately.

The Prof

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