INTELLECTUAL INFRASTRUCTURE: Tapper and Williams and Maddow oh my!

WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 2020

Not in their right mind, Drum says:
For today, let's stick to a very basic bit of (statistical) blocking and tackling.

In most contexts. how should our nation's coronavirus death rate be reported? What manner of presentation makes basic statistical sense?

Yesterday, Kevin Drum weighed in on this (extremely basic) question. He did so using some catchy graphics, which you can peruse for yourselves.

He started with a novel twist. It led him to this (extremely basic) conclusion:
DRUM (5/20/20): Nobody in their right mind would present the top chart as evidence of anything much. It’s obviously meaningless thanks to the large range of populations. If you want to study death rates, you need to look at deaths per capita. The same thing applies to deaths from COVID-19...
"If you want to study death rates [from different nations], you need to look at deaths per capita," Drum said. He then presented a graphic which showed coronavirus deaths rates from the following nations:

Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Sweden, United States...

Three others nations were included—Switzerland, Germany, Canada.

For our money, if Switzerland was part of the package, Belgium—it has a larger population—should have been in there too. Its inclusion would have made the basic statistical point even clearer.

That said, whatever! For now, we return to our basic statistical blocking and tackling, and to Drum's basic assessment:

A person has to be out of his or her mind to compare coronavirus deaths among various nations without adjusting for size of population.

A person has to be out of his mind—but as we noted yesterday, quite a few high-profile journalists are. For one example, here was Jake Tapper on Sunday's State of the Union, jousting with Alex Azar:
TAPPER (5/17/20): We have more—we have almost 90,000 Americans who are now dead because of this. I don't think that this is anything to celebrate, how we handled this as a country.

AZAR: Oh, Jake, you can't celebrate a single death. Every death is a tragedy. But the results could have been vastly, vastly worse. It's also important to remember, Jake, as we, as we face—

TAPPER: But it's worse for us than it is for anyone else.

AZAR: No, that's actually not factually correct. When you look at mortality rates, that's simply not correct as a percent of diagnosed cases, Jake, that every death is tragic, but we have—

TAPPER: I'm just looking at the number of dead bodies.

AZAR: Every, every, every—every death is tragic, but we have maintained our health care system—our health care burden within the capacity of our system to actually deal with it.
According to Tapper, the pandemic has been "worse for us than for anyone else." When Azar tried to disagree, Tapper explained his assessment:

"I'm just looking at the number of dead bodies," he said.

In other words, Tapper wasn't adjusting for size of population. Statistically speaking, he wasn't in his right mind!

Yesterday morning, we showed you the transcript of Brian Williams making the same type of presentation, right at the start of Monday night's program. Two hours earlier, Rachel Maddow had done the same darn thing.

She'd made the same misleading play. Here are two of her presentations:
MADDOW (5/18/20): Here we are, three days after the White House`s imaginary model, made by their economist friend, said that U.S. deaths would be at zero. And, of course, U.S. deaths are not at zero.

We have the biggest coronavirus epidemic in the world. U.S. deaths continue their inexorable climb up over 90,000 at this point. The only question right now, in terms of the milestones here is whether we are going to hit 100,000 dead Americans by the beginning of next month, or are we going to hit it sooner.

[...]

MADDOW: But big picture, the more we understand about what is going on in our country, I know it sucks to hear it—forgive me—but things really aren't getting better. We do have the worst epidemic in the world.
Rachel was so overwrought that she actually used a bad word, for which she quickly apologized.

That said, do we have the worst epidemic in the world? And can any such assessment be based on the total number of deaths, unadjusted for size of population?

According to Drum's (correct) assessment, Maddow wasn't in her right mind. Again, we offer examples:
Coronavirus deaths per million population, as of May 20:
Belgium: 790
Spain: 594
Italy: 532
United Kingdom: 521
France: 429
United States: 283
Do we have "the worst epidemic in the world?" Only if you choose to ignore the deaths of foreign people. And who gives a fig about them?

By our informal assessment, we think Tapper should do better than he did on Sunday. When it comes to Williams and Maddow, we may not expect a lot more.

That said, we're speaking here about very basic statistical blocking and tackling. We're also talking about tribal journalism of an increasingly familiar kind.

As we've noted, our liberal tribe (correctly) complained when Donald J. Trump kept saying that we led the world in coronavirus tests. We correctly said that his claim made no sense because he hadn't adjusted for size of population.

We complained and complained and complained again. Then, our tribal sachems lit out across the countryside to do the same darn thing with respect to coronavirus deaths!

They're out of their minds, Drum said yesterday—but they're also just being tribal. They're advancing the type of segregated tribal vision which is quite hard to return from.

We're sticking with this topic today because it's so freaking basic. (Because we avoided using a bad word, we won't have to stage an apology.)

That said, it should be amazing to see people like Tapper, Williams and Naddow playing this dumb statistical game. It should be amazing, but it isn't. Our intellectual infrastructure has been crumbling for decades now.

Tomorrow, we're going to look at one of two recent columns in which the Atlantic's Conor Friedersdof plays by the older, sounder rules. Routinely, that's the path Friedersdorf takes. It makes him a valuable player.

For today, we'll suggest that you peruse Monday's essay by Glenn Greenwald. It's an essay about "Resistance Journalism," the name he gives to the type of journalism in which corporate players like Williams and Maddow lean their elbows on the scales, playing by tribal rules.

Greenwald's starting point is this essay on Monday's New York Times by media columnist Ben Smith. Smith suggests that Ronan Farrow has been sidestepping basic journalistic rules to advance a progressive agenda.

According to yesterday's hard-copy Times, Smith's critique was Monday's most-read article.

Greenwald doesn't offer a judgment about Farrow's work. Instead, he uses Smith's essay as a starting point for a larger critique.

In particular, he assails the type of "resistance journalism" which prevailed at MSNBC during the years of the Mueller probe. Specifically, he assails Maddow's work.

It's hard to create a short assessment of any such body of work. That said, Greenwald also links to this series of essays, in which the Washington Post's Eric Wemple criticizes the Russia coverage on MSNBC, including that by Maddow.

In our view, Maddow has had her thumb on the scale in many areas over the past many years. It's hard to cover such work in one essay. But the basic principle being discussed is very important:

In the years since Trump came to power, has such a thing as "resistance journalism" emerged? If so, have people like Maddow and Natasha Bernard really been putting their thumbs on the scale in the ways Greenwald and Wemple allege?

It isn't easy to assess such sweeping bodies of work. But as we've said, we think Maddow has tended to put her elbows and butt cheeks on the scale again and again through the years.

That said, have recent years spawned a "resistance journalism" of the left—a journalism in which corners are cut in search of preapproved, pleasing assessments?

We think the obvious answer is yes, and we think it's important to know that.

Are Maddow and Williams "in their right minds?" We can't answer your question! But viewers of CNN and MSNBC are receiving selective work every day of the week, as are viewers of Fox.

When it comes to adjusting for population, first Trump failed to do it. Then we began failing too!

Adjusting for size of population is amazingly basic blocking and tackling. But so it has gone as the sachems of our own tribe create the type of journalistic product we libs will be certain to like.

Tomorrow: Friedersdorf thinks about Trump

42 comments:

  1. There's nothing 'tribal' or 'resistance' or 'thumb on the scale' about it, dear Bob. Don't kid yourself.

    Those are mere euphemisms for what it really is, plain and simple: a garden variety goebbelsian establishment propaganda.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mao was so furious that Trump gave the Establishment a HUGE tax break, while the Establishment was sitting on piles of cash, that Mao called Trump "Donnie the Great'.

      Delete
    2. Trump was right. COVID's a hoax.
      Republicans don't need a pandemic to crash the world's economy.

      Delete
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  2. The toll would also be sharply lower if Trump had paid attention to the warnings, which is a far more egregious flaw than not getting the number of deaths correct per capita.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "If you want to study death rates [from different nations], you need to look at deaths per capita,"

    This is tautological. That is the definition of death rate. Somerby perhaps means to say that the only way to compare deaths across countries is to calculate the death rate. But that isn't what he says and he would be wrong to say that.

    Somerby says no one in their right mind would use a chart that shows only the total numbers dead. That's incorrect. Someone who wanted to know how many people had died in each country, would use such a graph.

    At least for this argument, Somerby doesn't care much how many people have died. The families of the dead DO care. City planners and administrators may care. Journalists care. People in public health, hospitals, those who supply body bags or funeral services care about the raw number of deaths. It matters to them whether it is 1000 or 2000 or 5000.

    The only purpose of calculating the death *rate* is to make comparisons across groups, such as countries (or counties or states or between time periods). But this is not a contest to most of the people affected by the virus. It is a contest to Trump (because he always has to be winning) and to Somerby, for reasons unknown because they are unstated. And Somerby wants journalists to treat this as a contest too.

    If death rate is the best and only correct measure to use for reporting deaths, why didn't they use it when the number of COVID deaths surpassed the deaths in the Vietnam war? Because it wouldn't have made any sense to talk about death rates for that purpose, which was to tell us the magnitude (sheer size) of the death toll to date (and we have just begun) for this pandemic compared to other national tragedies.

    Can Somerby be this dumb? To compound matters, he continues to berate the press over his mistaken preference, locked on a triviality that he doesn't understand fully, while there are important issues he could be talking about. To what purpose? Does he believe, like conservatives do, that confusing the public about statistics will help Trump? I doubt that will happen, because most people don't read the numbers. Their eyes glaze over. They know whether someone in their family has been sick, whether a relative or friend has died, whether they themselves are having financial problems. A confusion over death rates won't fool them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The families of the dead DO care."

      Hmm. And why do they care, dear dembot?

      Are you implying that knowing the total number of dead makes them feel better about their granny kicking the bucket?

      Delete
    2. If you have to ask, something is majorly wrong with you.

      Delete
    3. Sure, I'm not one of you, liberal zombies.

      So, what's the answer?

      Delete
    4. Why do you care when your dog dies?

      How do you know whether you belong in the Republican party or the Democratic party? Have you ever cried because of the state of the world? You are a Democrat. Have you ever mocked someone for crying about he state of the world? You are a Republican.

      Delete
    5. When my dog dies, I care. But I don't care about the total number of dog dying that month or that year.

      And you said that relatives care about the total number.

      Delete
    6. So, if you read about the number of polar bears dying, you wouldn't be concerned and wouldn't care enough to support environmental efforts. We already knew that. But other people do care. Why? Because they consider themselves part of the planet, part of a global community, part of whole. What happens to others affects all of us. Only the cheese stands alone.

      More than that, the size of the total number dead influences our own calculations about our chances of catching the virus, its seriousness. It influences whether we support pandemic shutdown measures or think they are unnecessary.

      People marched in the streets to stop the Vietnam war, largely because young men were dying in it. If you report the total dead (and not the rate), people may pressure Trump to do something effective to stop this pandemic, because people are dying in it in larger numbers than in the Vietnam war. If you read that 90,000 people have died, you will understand why such measures are being taken and be more tolerant of supply shortages, more supportive of essential workers, more interested in financial problems that states are encountering, less resistant to local tax increases and similar measures that may be inconvenient, because you will understand the reason why such measures are being taken -- because 90,000 people have died.

      That is exactly the reason that Republicans don't want those numbers to be discussed, and prefer the sanitized death rate, which looks lower to those who do not understand what it means (which is most people). The big number of 90,000+ is true and accurate. It should horrify people (and it does). It needs to be stated because people need to know what is happening to them.

      Delete
    7. "the size of the total number dead influences our own calculations about our chances of catching the virus, its seriousness."

      No, my dear, "the size of the total number" doesn't influence my calculations. The mortality rate does.

      Delete
    8. Then you are a fool. The transmission rate (r) is the more important number. How many people does each infected person give the virus to? How contagious is the virus? That number incorporates the control measures, which have a big impact on whether you are likely to catch it. You should also be considering your own risk factors, to decide how likely you are to die if you do catch it. Are you obese, like Trump? Old? Underlying comorbidities? People will be reading about deaths to figure out who dies and who lives too. Death rate tells you nothing about that. There is no reason why it should be your (or Somerby's) favorite number.

      Delete
    9. "Then you are a fool."

      Thank God you didn't call me a genius.

      So, then, we agree that "the size of the total number" doesn't help with any "calculations"?

      Delete
    10. No, we do not agree on that.

      Delete
    11. “Have you ever mocked someone for crying about he state of the world? You are a Republican.”

      On the money.

      Delete
    12. More than that, the size of the total number dead influences our own calculations about our chances of catching the virus, its seriousness.

      Only if you’re an idiot. The chances of catching the virus is related to your chances of encountering a carrier and the transmissibility factor of the disease. The dead are past posing a threat. The seriousness of the disease also cannot be determined by the total number of dead, but may be estimated by the case fatality rate, which is the total dead divided by the total number of reported cases.

      It influences whether we support pandemic shutdown measures or think they are unnecessary.

      There is definitely a bimodal distribution here, between Trump supporters and rational people. The former think that a couple of hydroxychloroquine taken with a bleach chaser will ward off the disease. The latter, having working cerebrums, determine whether to support shutdown measures by comparing the trend in new cases between areas that have shut down and areas that haven’t.

      The big number of 90,000+ is true and accurate. It should horrify people (and it does).

      But not because it’s “the big number.” Because it isn’t. It’s less than .03% of the population. The CDC lists six causes of death with more annual victims than COVID-19. The number is horrifying because most of those deaths were preventible, and we know that by comparing our response and our results to that of other countries with competent leadership.

      And how do we do sensible comparisons?

      Delete
    13. @deadrat
      “The seriousness of the disease also cannot be determined by the total number of dead, but may be estimated by the case fatality rate, which is the total dead divided by the total number of reported cases.”

      Oh? What case fatality rate is “serious” versus one that is not “serious?” Ours is currently at about 6%. That is lower than Spain, France, Italy, UK. Does that mean we are better than they are?

      And, as a hypothetical, suppose the 90,000+ dead represented a case fatality rate of only 3%. Does that make the 90,000+ less serious?

      If, as you say, the horrifying thing is that most of the deaths were preventable, then the case fatality rate is actually irrelevant to the horror of the situation. In this case, the larger the number of preventable deaths, the worse our response has been. Period.

      Delete
    14. What case fatality rate is “serious” versus one that is not “serious?”

      For values of serious equal to the chances of dying once you get a disease, ordinary seasonal flu (cfr =~ .1%) is not so serious. COVID-19 (cfr =~ 6.5%) is fairly serious. Ebola (cfr =~ 50%) is very serious.

      Ours [case fatality rate] is currently at about 6%. That is lower than Spain, France, Italy, UK. Does that mean we are better than they are?

      Define better. Do you mean our loss hasn’t been as high? Italy has had about 32K deaths in a population of about 60M, or smaller than ours by a factor of about 5. A commensurate number of deaths in the US would be about 160K, which is likely where we’ll end up. Right now we’re just north of 90K dead, so by this measure, we’re still “better.”

      Do you mean that the impact on our society won’t be as large? Hard to say.

      Do you mean that our response has been more effective? Again, hard to say. Italy has an older population — their median age is about ten years older than ours — and the virus kills a larger percentage of the elderly.

      But none of the answers may be had by examining the case fatality rate.

      And, as a hypothetical, suppose the 90,000+ dead represented a case fatality rate of only 3%. Does that make the 90,000+ less serious?

      By definition, it means that if you catch it, your hypothetical disease is half as likely as COVID-19 to kill you.

      If, as you say, the horrifying thing is that most of the deaths were preventable, then the case fatality rate is actually irrelevant to the horror of the situation.

      If the case fatality rate were very low, then so would be the number of deaths. It seems to me the horror scales in direct proportion to the number of preventable deaths. So, no, the cfr isn’t actually irrelevant.

      Are you feeling all right?

      [T]he larger the number of preventable deaths, the worse our response has been.

      Yes, by definition. What’s your point?

      Do you think I’m arguing that our response has been adequate?

      Delete
    15. You aren't arguing anything useful.

      Delete
    16. Thanks for the typical (and ironically useless) reply, Anonymous Ignoramus @9:45A. You might find my reply "useful" to your understanding of the issue if you took the time to read it for comprehension. You could even ask questions to clarify what wasn't clear.

      But, no.

      Delete
  4. Somerby says: "For our money, if Switzerland was part of the package, Belgium—it has a larger population—should have been in there too. Its inclusion would have made the basic statistical point even clearer."

    A careful researcher presenting results to an audience might have omitted Belgium because they don't calculate their death rate in the same way as other nations.

    Including a country simply because it provides a starker contrast is inappropriate. It is manipulating your graph in order to make a favored point. It is bad research practice, something academics are trained NOT to do. It is on the slippery slope toward cooking your data.

    But Somerby doesn't know very much about quantitative methods. He has just enough knowledge to get into trouble. He makes a fool of himself when he berates others over their legitimate choices.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "In other words, Tapper wasn't adjusting for size of population. Statistically speaking, he wasn't in his right mind!"

    Speaking as a human being, Tapper and Azar were both correct. Every death matters and more deaths is worse than fewer deaths because more people are dying. 90,000 deaths is a lot of people, whether you compare it to the size of your extended family or to the population of the entire globe. Playing games by adjusting the numbers to produce a rate of death doesn't mean that fewer people have died. Those 90,000 people are still dead and that matters to anyone who is an actual human being. That was Tapper's point, which Azar resisted (and Somerby also resists).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is striking how most people are dying in liberals-controlled states: NY, NJ, CT, MA.

      Isn't it, dear dembot?

      Is the liberal cult going to answer for this? When, how?

      How Many More Must Die?

      Delete
  6. "we think Maddow has tended to put her elbows and butt cheeks on the scale again and again through the years."

    Butt cheeks? Seriously?

    Spoken like the misogynist he is.

    It isn't surprising that Greenwald sings Somerby's song. Next he'll be singing Andrew Sullivan's praises again.

    If there is such a thing as Resistance journalism, you have to also ask, who are the people opposing it? What are the motives of Greenwald and Sullivan (both big-time Hillary haters) and the so-called progressives who want to destroy the Democratic party? Why is Somerby touting their take-downs of media figures who they identify as leftist (doubtful whether they self-identify as resistance)?

    I don't think Somerby has made a convincing argument that "corners" have been "cut". He makes a lot of noise but there isn't much substance to these complaints. I don't read Greenwald. His role in 2016 disqualifies him from being taken seriously on any topic relevant to American politics. I would sooner read Alex Jones. But at least we now know which brand of crazy Somerby subscribes to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I don't read Greenwald"

      Good for you, my dear.

      Reading dangerous subversive commentary (paid by the Russkies, no doubt) would hurt your pretty little zombie head.

      Delete
    2. Glenn Greenwald’s Invented Claims in Defense of Bill Barr and Mike Flynn

      https://www.emptywheel.net/2020/05/19/glenn-greenwalds-invented-claims-in-defense-of-bill-barr-and-mike-flynn/

      Delete
  7. Graphs all by themselves don't mean much unless you think about the numbers being shown.

    Kevin Drum has another graph up today showing that poor zipcodes have higher rates of infection than wealthier zipcodes. He says:

    "Those who are well off can isolate themselves pretty easily and avoid the worst effects of COVID-19. "

    If Kevin Drum followed such matters more closely, he would know that wealthy people have left New York City and are not inhabiting those zipcodes at all. Some reports say that as much as 40% of the wealthy inhabitants have gone away during the pandemic.

    Steven Colbert has been interviewing famous people from their homes. When he asks them where they are, many are holed up in vacation homes in rural areas with their families. A few are in other countries. They are definitely not in Los Angeles and New York where their work tends to be.

    As a consequence, there have been some hotspots in places such as ski resorts in CO, because some of those fleeing cities brought the virus with them to their retreats.

    But this isn't the point. Kevin Drum usually does fine creating his graphs, but he falls down when it comes to interpreting them because he is not an expert in the topic being presented. He is kind of a generalist, knowing a little about a lot of things, but sometimes he doesn't know what he is looking at in his graph. The people in his comments usually point that out pretty quickly.

    Somerby routinely dismisses expertise, but it takes genuine knowledge to know what data means, whatever form it is being presented in. Somerby doesn't have that, and what's worse, he disdains those who do.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Obama: "Whites commit more crimes but blacks are arrested at a higher rate." America is illiterate and innumerate including its presidents.

    ReplyDelete
  9. [...]

    There is a lot of Maddow’s presentation missing in this ellipsis where she discusses Trump’s virus response failures. It is hard to find fault with it.

    Early on, as Trump was doing nothing, then denying the problem, then claiming the virus was a hoax, then assuring us it would go away quickly, Maddow and the media were there warning us that it was serious, and that a national response was essential to reduce preventable deaths. When Tapper looks at those dead bodies, how many of them were due to Trump’s negligence, incompetence, or malevolence?

    If you want to call this “resistance journalism”, or “tribalism”, that is your prerogative, but it seems more appropriate to describe it as the news media understanding that it had a duty to warn the public about the upcoming disaster. (The phrase “duty to warn” is the exact phrase Bandy Lee used to justify her diagnosis of Trump.)

    Somerby presents his critique as merely a misuse of statistics, Trump not using per capita testing numbers and the media not using per capita death rate, in order to brand both sides as equally tribal.

    To equate Trump’s lies, incompetence and/or malevolence, amplified by right wing media as the GOP stared into space as the virus killed 90,000 Americans with a possible misuse of a statistic is unwarranted.

    ReplyDelete
  10. “In particular, he [Greenwald] assails the type of "resistance journalism" which prevailed at MSNBC during the years of the Mueller probe. Specifically, he assails Maddow's work. “

    An objective media critic ought to examine Greenwald’s views on the Mueller probe.

    This is long and detailed, but worth a look if anyone is interested in weighing both sides of the matter:

    https://www.emptywheel.net/2020/05/19/glenn-greenwalds-invented-claims-in-defense-of-bill-barr-and-mike-flynn/

    In this post, Wheeler examines Greenwald’s claims about Flynn and the Mueller Report.

    Greenwald’s criticisms of Maddow and Mueller are at least partly based on factual assertions by Greenwald that Wheeler shows to be wrong. It at least calls Greenwald’s criticism into question if he misunderstands or misrepresents the facts.

    It’s also important to understand Greenwald’s hatred of Democrats, which means a reader of Greenwald needs to be on the lookout for motivated reasoning and other flaws in his arguments.

    It is a bit of a mystery why Greenwald, who made his name by being harshly critical of government agencies like the CIA, should be so willing to side with Barr in the Mueller and Flynn cases, especially given that Barr has been involved off and on for decades in the upper echelons of the government doing the dirty work for Republican administrations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "It is a bit of a mystery why Greenwald, who made his name by being harshly critical of government agencies like the CIA, should be so willing to side with Barr in the Mueller and Flynn cases"

      I know, it's unimaginable for you liberals to stand up for what you think is right regardless of which 'site' advocates it.

      All you zombies do is parroting your cult's talking points, no matter what.

      But hey, we humyns are not like you. So, no mystery. Get it?

      Delete
    2. Mao,
      Has the establishment asked you to prom yet?

      Delete
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  13. @deadrat
    “we know that by comparing our response and our results to that of other countries with competent leadership.”

    Why do Drum and Somerby never compare our numbers to Japan, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan? These are countries with “competent leadership” (at least, their leadership is surely as competent as Bojo in the UK or Conte in Italy, wouldn’t you say?). And they are essentially democratic republics like our own.

    And these countries have far lower death rates than the US.

    It also seems an artificial and vague qualification to say “competent leadership.” That eliminates the US. But which other countries wouldn’t qualify?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why do Drum and Somerby never compare our numbers to Japan, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan?

      I don’t read Drum, so I have nothing to say about him. TDH’s shtick is to criticize those engaged in public discourse on the left — including, but not limited to journalists. Right now his current target is the misleading claim that we’re the worst in the world because we have the highest number of COVID-19 deaths. This may be refuted by citing Belgium, Spain, and Italy, but not Japan, Australia, and South Korea.

      Thus TDH mentions the former group and not the latter.

      If this were a blog that discusses all aspect of current events, then you’d have a point. But it’s not, so you don’t. The focus of TDH’s obsessive blogging is announced in the subtitle of his header. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with it.

      Now I can understand why you’d want a different discussion, but that’s not what TDH wants, and after all, it’s his blog.

      You’re like the guy playing poker who throws down his hand and yells “Bingo!” You’re at the wrong table.

      Delete
    2. It's just "musings". They aren't supposed to be taken seriously.
      Hence the less than diligent effort put into it.

      Delete
    3. Somerby's goal is to attack the media, so it is OK for him to cherry-pick countries for comparison purposes? He commits the same crimes he accuses reporters of doing. When commenters call him on it, you defend him because he is doing it for a specific purpose. That makes no sense at all, Mr. Logic.

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    4. Good thing you're not taking the blog entries seriously, Anonymous Ignoramus @8:44A. Otherwise you'd have to ask for your money back.

      Delete
    5. Mr Logic is going to try one more time, Anonymous Ignoramus @9:42A. I’ll type even slower in the hope that you can follow.

      This isn’t a blog about current events in general. TDH isn’t writing to inform you about the overall comparison of mortality rates among countries. Maybe you think he should, but he doesn't and it’s his blog.

      TDH writes to inform you of the fumbling incompetence of the press in this country. It turns out that we are not the worst when it comes to deaths from COVID-19, so reporters should stop saying that. There are other countries that are worse on the only metric that makes sense — per capita deaths.

      That there are countries that are better than we are is irrelevant to the point TDH is making.

      If TDH is wrong, and the US is actually the worst country measured by COVID-19 death rate, then you’ve got a point of valid criticism But he isn’t, so you don’t.

      If you don’t like TDH’s “specific purpose” in pointing out press failings, then what are you doing here?

      Delete