What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 19, 2011

More Spin From The Trib Editorial Page

It's really not that big of a deal, but it serves as a good starting point to show how an overwhelming political bias can skew an otherwise harmless story.  It's an editorial cartoon found on the pages of Richard Mellon Scaife's Tribune-Review.  Of course it is.

 Let's start with the art:

Now if you look at that with an undoubting eye, you'll see it as yet another example of guv'ment waste.

Look!  The guv'ment  is wasting $5.7 million of your money studying a problem that Ed's $.98 Walmart fly swatter has already solved.  See?  Waste!

I have a question:  Ever squish a stink bug?  Why do you think they're called "Stink bugs"?

Stinky parts aside, it's when you look at the details of the story you'll find out why it's the cartoon that's silly and why it was included on the Trib's op-ed page.  A more subtle tale would be difficult to find.

The source of this story is this article in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  When you read it, you'll find out that:
For several years, particularly in early fall, the homely, slow-motion creature that resembles a medieval shield with legs has been pestering homeowners throughout the region as it looks for overwintering destinations. To the stinkbug, your house is Florida.

But a species that once was a mere local curiosity has metamorphosed into a nationwide economic threat, damaging crops and plant life from New Jersey to California.
Really? Damaging crops, huh? Which crops? A nationwide economic threat, huh?  How much money are we talking here?
In 2010, the Asian invaders were blamed for spoiling $37 million worth of apples in the Mid-Atlantic region, and assessments are under way to see what kind of damage they have caused this year. They have attacked soybeans, corn, tomatoes, raspberries, and grapes. And there are few natural predators to stop them. [emphasis added.]
Hmm...$5.7 million to study something that ruined tens of millions of dollars (and counting) worth of food doesn't seem to be that bad of an idea now, does it?

Now the kicker - and this'll tell you why the Trib even bothered making fun of the stink bug study:
Now there is evidence aplenty. So last Monday, Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture was putting up $5.7 million to create a scientific SWAT team to learn about a bug that has been keeping secrets under its protective shield.
Ah! So this is really a jab at the state's Democratic Senator - Bob Casey.

This is what happens when political ideology skews the news.  A Senator announces a study that might actually help the farmers in his state (and farmers elsewhere, too!) and the Trib twists it into a tale of the guv'ment wasting your money.

Another lesson in spin from our good friends at the Tribune-Review.

And tell me, exactly how could farmer Ed have saved all his apples with a fly swatter?


GeneW said...

Again with the conservative war on science. Don't try to understand why there are so many stink bugs, just squash them.

EdHeath said...

If the federally sponsored research helps 11 and a half million people, it will have beaten Walmart by half.

Plus I sort of doubt you can get a fly swatter for 99 cents. Probably a bit cheaper than 5.7 million, though.