Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Thank you for the math help, Washington Post!

I don't at this time have anything like a solid grasp of the Jack Abramoff scandal. As I began today to take a few steps toward changing that, I came across a weirdly insulting paragraph in this Washington Post story:
Of the 18 largest recipients of tribe contributions directed by Abramoff's group, six, or one-third, were Democrats. These included Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), who chaired the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from 2001 to 2002, and Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (N.D.), a leader in Indian affairs legislation.
All factual claims in and related to this paragraph aside, I find damn near unbelievable that "or one-third." Is the Post next going to clarify for us that five is "one-half" of ten? Do they actually think that people reading an article about campaign financing really are so poor at arithmetic as to need it pointed out that six out of eighteen is one third? Do Birnbaum, Willis, and Schmidt really think so little of their readers?

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