Saturday, March 12, 2005


School bill not made in Texas

The SAEN's full court press (pun intended) against the school funding bill continues unabated in Saturday's "news" section.

To the SAEN, it seems to be just fine for the U.S. Supreme Court to go outside of our own Constitution when ruling on capital punishment for juveniles - but Texas lawmakers should not go beyond our state's borders for knowledge on how to fix our school funding woes. Especially not when the institution providing policy is...shudder...a conservative think tank!

Where to begin dissecting the bias in this purported news article? Let's start with the usual one-sided adjectives for think tanks:
both major parties have become increasingly dependent on think tanks such as the libertarian Cato Institute, the conservative Heritage Foundation and the liberal-leaning Brookings Institute, to both craft and interpret policy.
Got that? Cato is definitively libertarian, Heritage is definitively conservative, but Brookings is...merely "liberal-leaning." One wonders how the SAEN would describe the far left Center for Public Policy Priorities, whose press releases are constantly flacked by Carlos Guerra in his column.

Now, we can move on to the hypocrisy:
"It's no surprise that conservative politicians will go to conservative think tanks, but there should be truth in advertising. We should know where this came from,"
Well, perfessor, it's also no surprise that liberal politicians will go to liberal think tanks, now is it? The difference is, when liberal politicians do so, for some reason, we are not treated to front page articles in the SAEN calling our attention to that source. And this article is a full blown, "omigod, look at this peek into the vast right wing conspiracy" indictment of the Hoover Institution, complete with graphs showing from where this evil think tank receives its funding. We have never seen, and probably never will see in the SAEN, similar treatment of a Democrat bill based on policy from, say, Brookings.

Finally, there is the appalling lack of argument shown by the article. Nowhere does it dispute the policies put forth by the Hoover people...nowhere does it offer any analysis of why the bill may be flawed, or unfair, or "a sham". The article is a logical fallacy known as an "ad hominem" argument. Its illogic runs like this: (a) the bill is informed by the Hoover Institution (b) the Hoover Institution is a conservative think tank, therefore (c) the bill is bad.

This is the sort of juvenile rhetoric we expect to see in a poorly argued letter to the editor...not something worthy of placing on the front page of the SAEN.
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