Thursday, December 15, 2005

Logic not journalist's strong suit

The Arizona Daily Star columnist Ernesto Portillo, Jr., wrote the following passage in an opinion column about Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist's abortive Congressional campaign for the House seat vacated by Chris Cox (who took over the SEC):

"On Tuesday, in Southern California's Orange County, Minutemen co-founder Jim Gilchrist lost his bid in a special congressional election. Gilchrist had widespread media attention for his hard-charging call to close the border. He had the backing of the Tombstone-based Minuteman group, which has created chapters and copycat groups across the country. And he had the support of national conservative commentators who dominate radio and cable television.

"Yet Gilchrist, a retired accountant from Orange County who made illegal immigration his only campaign issue, could not seal the deal in one of California's most conservative counties and the birthplace of the close-the-border movement. Gilchrist...placed third behind a Democrat, who had 28 percent, and the winner, a Republican state legislator who received nearly 45 percent of the votes. Gilchrist's supporters hailed his showing as a moral victory of sorts, but he didn't come close, despite all the fanfare over the Minutemen's supposed popular appeal."

This is what they call a logical fallacy. Portillo's reasoning goes like this: Gilchrist lost and his main issue was illegal immigration ergo Californians don't have any problem with illegal immigration.

They call it a fallacy for a reason: it's wrong. If you followed this race at all, you would know that Gilchrist didn't perform well in the debate, didn't heed his advisors in trying to get out the vote, and didn't heed his advisors in reaching out to absentee voters. Any of these reasons, and indeed all three of them taken together, offer a more likely reason as to why Gilchrist finished third in this race.

Try to guess which side of the illegal immigration issue Mr. Portillo falls on.

No comments: