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Al Gore's damn graphs

Science for liberals


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Michael Moore's damn statistics

Michael Moore is pretty crappy with statistics, and I wish he'd be more careful.

I love his work. But he's sloppy with the nuts-and-bolts, and the way that he compares them.

Example — from Fahrenheit 9/11:

"The Presidential Salary is $400,000 per year. The Bush family, their friends, and their related businesses have received 1.4 Billion over a number of years."

How many years? Three decades, he mentions in the next "paragraph."

Moore even intones: "over a number of years" with emphasis — as if that reinforces the comparison of magnitude. In fact the opposite is true.

This apart from the fact that "family, friends, and related businesses" does not encapsulate a distinct boundary.

The spirit of Moore's work may well be honest — and indeed it deserves acknowledgement. Few Americans criticized the American invasion of Iraq — fewer still publicly.

But his message is blighted by the fact that he doesn't manage his facts more astutely.