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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Newest Smear: 99-Percenters are Secretly Rich

When you're running a smear campaign, you're not going to want to let things like facts or logic or math get in the way. You're just going to make stuff up. But the trick is to make things up that are as close to the truth as possible. That way, you can throw out numbers and statistics that -- while being either meaningless or actually undercutting your argument -- can be made to seem to support your smear.

And consistency isn't very important here -- especially if your target audience has the attention span of the common house fly. One criticism that contradicts a previous criticism is A-OK, just so long as the criticism sticks. If there's one thing a smearer can count on, it's cognitive dissonance among a significant portion of their audience.

So it should be no surprise that the latest smear against Occupy Wall Street contradicts the previous smear that they're all uncouth rabble (i.e., "smelly hippies"), made poor by their own bad choices in life, clamoring for a government handout.

Daily Caller:

Many "Occupy Wall Street" protesters arrested in New York City reside in more luxurious homes than some of their rhetoric might suggest, a Daily Caller investigation has found.


↓ CONTINUED AFTER THE JUMP ↓


For each of the 984 Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested in New York City between September 18 and October 15, police collected and filed an information sheet recording the arrestee’s name, age, sex, criminal charge, home address and — in most cases — race. The Daily Caller has obtained all of this information from a source in the New York City government.

Among addresses for which information is available, single-family homes listed on those police intake forms have a median value of $305,000 — a far higher number than the $185,400 median value of owner-occupied housing units in the United States.


Ok, so first they were a bunch of unwashed hobos and that was the worst thing ever. Now it turns out that they aren't really a bunch of unwashed hobos and this is the worst thing ever.

But there's more to it than just the typical rightwing "heads I win, tails you lose" argument. It's also deliberately misleading.

No More Mister Nice Blog:

Oh, fer crissake. Do you know what the median home price is in the New York metropolitan area? Here are the numbers, from the National Association of Realtors (PDF):

New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA: $384,800
New York-Wayne-White Plains, NY-NJ: $448,700
Edison, NJ: $328,600
Nassau-Suffolk, NY: $383,500
Newark-Union, NJ-PA: $374,900


Oh, but the DC says, "The arrest intake documents show that arrestees came to New York from all over the country but particularly from the Northeast." So, um, what's the median home price in the Boston metro area? $355,700. Hell, even in Burlington and South Burlington, Vermont, the median value is barely below the DC's "luxury" number -- it's $276,200. There's a high cost of living up here!


And the math is even worse than that, even if we ignore the fact that "median" and "average" are two very different things. If you're living in $300k home somewhere where the housing cost are low, you're probably still in the 99%. When the Occupiers say, "We are the 99%," what is it that we're supposed to think they mean here? The 99% would logically include everyone right up to and including the 99th percentile. When "99-percenters" start parking their Ferraris and private jets outside Zuccotti Park, then you've got a point. As always, math hates the propagandist and reality has a liberal bias.

Finally, what is the argument here? That we shouldn't listen to them because they're a bunch of shiftless hobos or that we shouldn't listen to them because they aren't? There actually isn't any argument here, just an attempt to get people to dislike the Occupy Wall Street protesters. The right can't answer their arguments, so they just throw mud.

And when the best mudball you can find is labelled, "These guys are rich!" you know the 99-percenters are winning.

-Wisco


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