Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Lies, Damned Lies and Studies

Yesterday, I mentioned a Commercial Appeal story looking at the effectiveness of Congressional Representatives based on Federal expenditures in their Districts. Harold Ford, Jr., of the 9th District, today leapt on those numbers and the methodology used to derive them. Turns out, he has a leg to stand on. He exposes both sloppy work, ass-covering and sloppy reporting.

Ford and other Tennessee Representatives pointed out that the study evenly divided money coming into counties even when District lines affected only a tiny piece of the county, artificially reducing that County's share of Federal money.
David Pace, the AP Washington reporter who wrote a story on
the analysis, said that of the more than 3,100 counties in the
United States, 88 percent are completely within one
congressional district.

In those counties, he said, the analysis is "100 percent accurate"
but "there will be problems" in the split counties.

The AP report also used figures that were "very clearly
represented as an estimate, not as exact amounts," Pace said.
Ummm...yeah, right.

That said, the reporter doesn't bother to redetermine Ford's standing, which appears to still be far below average. And Ford himself argues that "I don't think you can judge someone's effectiveness or clout by numbers on spending." Oh no? Many would say it's the best measure.

Until next time,
Your Working Boy

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