THE POWERS OF DEDUCTION

Deep underneath 1 Murdoch Place, the council of stroke victims who conduct quantitative analysis for Fox News celebrated yesterday when they discovered a way to rationalize how SB 1070 is actually helping Arizona tourism. Oh, it doesn't make any sense, but it's more than good enough for the parade of the lame, the halt, and the ugly who make up the network's viewers.

In "Arizona Hotels Thriving Despite Boycotts Over Immigration Law," Fox peddles its usual special brand of decontextualized statistics and disastrously poor logic. They want their readers to be unduly impressed with the statistic that, "hotel occupancy was up 5.7 percent in May and up 8.3 percent in June compared with the same time a year ago. That sounds great! Almost 10%! Take that, you stupid Messicuns! It seems impressive until you realize that last year was the worst year for tourism in Arizona since the 1970s. In the depths of the recession, no one traveled last summer. That seems logical enough. This year things are still lousy but there is a little bit of a rebound. Makes sense too. 8%. Good for you, Arizona tourism industry.

Let's say a baseball player reliably hits about 35 home runs every season for 15 years. The next year, being old and broken down, he hits only 12. He insists on playing one more season and manages to hit 20. Would you look at that and say:

A) "His home run total increased 40%!!! He's immune to the effects of age!"
B) "That season where he hit 12 was so lousy he couldn't help but do better this year, albeit still considerably below his career average."

If you chose A, congratulations! You are a Fox News SuperViewer. Go back to reading Glenn Beck's Common Sense and buying the criminally overpriced gold he's paid to tell you to buy. If you chose B, stick around for the next part. Congratulations on figuring out that a small rebound from a historically low number means exactly nothing.

With some Arizona tourism professionals offering anecdotal evidence that the Governor's scare tactics are convincing tourists that the state is Beyond Thunderdome, it is plausible that the hotel business would be up much more than 8% without the law, the boycotts, and the posturing of ignorant elected officials. (By the way, is there a more selfish politician in America than Jan Brewer? Her state survives on tourism and she's on TV telling A) Latinos to fuck themselves, which is odd because I think Latinos go on vacations and B) everyone else that "headless corpses" are turning up in the state courtesy of the armies of violent drug mules invading the state? Who cares, right, as long as Jan scares enough white retirees into re-electing her!)

The second problem, one that would be apparent to anyone who…I don't know, thinks about stuff, is that the tourism industry runs in long cycles. The law wouldn't be expected to result in canceled conventions this year because that's simply not how the convention industry works. My professional association, the American Political Science Association, schedules its massive 10,000 attendee conferences six years in advance. APSA 2016 is already confirmed for Philadelphia. The blow to Arizona's convention and tourism industry will come when the convention business it is losing today comes to pass. How many groups and trade associations are making plans right now and concluding that Arizona just isn't worth the headache? No one can answer that question, of course, but those of us outside the Fox News audience are at least sentient enough to ask it. Kinda puts that 8% increase and the relationship between SB 1070 and tourism in a new light, though.

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13 Responses to “THE POWERS OF DEDUCTION”

  1. anotherbozo Says:

    The baseball analogy: If you gave an e-course in Analogies 101, Ed, I'd take it. Yours are always spot-on, as someone said yesterday.

    Since what I enjoy inordinately generally doesn't last, I predict you'll soon quit this blog and put out a barn burner of a book, something that will catapult you into national fame and everlasting fortune. Of course the four-letter words would have to stay; no publisher should cripple your style.

    Meanwhile, even though Fox News is hardly worth dealing with, I guess somebody has to. Maybe repeated dressings-down will hurt them, or awaken a few more of the electorate. Or at least keep the rest of us sane.

  2. Sluggo Says:

    Was the plan in Arizona to question hispanic looking people? I mean, what the hell does an American look like? Personally, I think that I look Canadian…. or maybe Scotch-Romanian. So for all the cops know I could be an illegal. By the way my great aunt was an illegal…..smuggled into Detroit from Romania. She could get into Canada but not the US in 1920, so she walked across Lake St. Clair in the dead of winter. Her "anchor baby" son became a state trooper.

    My buddy Ricardo was born in Texas and is Mexican-American. So I assume that Ricardo would be asked for papers but I wouldn't. So how would anyone prove they are a citizen on the spot, would you need to carry a birth certificate? My original drivers license is from Illinois, and anyone who knows anything about Illinois governors know that it isn't worth the paper it's print on, and my current driver's license is from Virginia who supplied driver's licenses to the 9/11 hijackers.

    Just wanted to put that out there.

  3. John Says:

    Working in the hotel industry, I can corroborate Ed's explanation of Fox's miracle numbers. In short, our industry is doing HORRIBLE right now because of the economy. In my particular company, the quarterly meetings are not about "Hey, we're doing great!". They're about "Hey, we're doing awful — *but at least we're doing better than everyone else*".

    Gaining numbers since last year isn't good, it's inevitable. It's one of those "you couldn't possibly have done worse" scenarios, and any increases had nothing to do with Arizona's new policies towards hispanics (and let's not beat around the bush here, they're not looking for illegal Italian immigrants).

  4. Elder Futhark Says:

    To truly get the flavor of the phrase "FoxNews SuperViewer", grab the tip of your tongue with your fingers and, with enthusiastic exuberance, say "I am a FoxNews Superviewer!" Best sample gets a T-shirt.

    Oh, and anotherbozo, could you and others please possibly ease off on the butthole-tongueings to Ed? Some of us fear he'll bleed to death from such continued vigorous treatments.

  5. Monkey Business Says:

    Honestly, if Arizona really had become the wastes in Mad Max, I'd probably be more inclined to visit.

    As it is, that state just scares the bejesus out of me.

  6. truth=freedom Says:

    @Sluggo: Have a passport. Carry said passport. Of course, the Supreme's, in one of their more lucid decisions before Alito and Roberts joined, said you don't *have* to carry said passport (or driver's license). But with Roberts's attention to precedent, maybe that will change….

  7. JohnR Says:

    Yeah – a lot of folks are so focused on the short-term possible gain that they completely discount or even ignore the probable long-term loss. I would bet that most of those people (a) fall into the "it's always now; except that the past was better when my group was in charge.." faction, and (b) are somewhere on the ultra-conservative to radical reactionary range of the political spectrum.
    The future is always a surprise, and invariably disappointing, when they manage to get their policy choices into effect. Luckily, the standard defense mechanism of blaming their opponents for causing the things their opponents predicted would happen never fails. When Arizona reaps the whirlwind, therefore, it will of course be the fault of the liberals generally and Obama specifically. Self-evident, really.

  8. Paul W. Luscher Says:

    If you're a rightie, to paraphrase Dick Cheney, "Facts don't matter."

  9. Sarah Says:

    So, did you hear that the Iowa GOP wants to revive an old constitutional amendment from the early 19th century in order to strip Obama of his citizenship because he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize?

    http://thinkprogress.org/2010/07/28/iowa-gop-supports-amendment-to-strip-obamas-citizenship-because-he-won-the-nobel-peace-prize/

    http://www.iowagop.org/site/c.ruIWKbMYIvF/b.5647735/k.A17D/RPI_Platform.htm

    I've been having fun looking at the Wikipedia page listing the names of Americans who have accepted knighthoods from the British monarchs. I see names like Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, Generals Pershing, Patton and MacArthur, Norman Schwarzkopf, Billy Graham, Bob Hope, J. Edgar Hoover, Rudy Giuliani, Alan Greenspan, Caspar Weinberger, Colin Powell (although he may not count since he endorsed Obama), Bill Gates, and George H. W. Bush.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_honorary_British_Knights

  10. Elle Says:

    Of which country does the Iowa GOP think the Nobel Committee is in charge?

  11. party with tina Says:

    Hey ed, i have definite confirmation that latinos do, in fact, take vacations and also don't like headless corpses.

  12. cartmanne Says:

    Ed watches Fox News so I don't have to.

  13. beau Says:

    @Paul W. Luscher – Facts display a pronounced left-wing bias.