Over the past three weeks I have evaluated nine specific claims made by an article purporting to show that “Obama has changed the face of our economy for the worse.” The article was presented to me as definitive proof that Obama has been “a train wreck” as President of the United States.
Of the claims and sub-claims, some of them have merit (2), some of them are technically true but don’t actually support the conclusion they are meant to (4), and some are patently false (7).
I would encourage readers to go over each of the claims and my investigations of them, but the exeuctive summary is that America under Obama really hasn’t changed much during Obama’s administration. Using these metrics you certainly can’t conclude that Obama is “a train wreck.” Given that these metrics were cherry picked to support exactly that conclusion, it is entirely possible that, choosing other metrics, you might even be able to conclude that Obama is “better than a train wreck.”
If nothing else, this investigation should be a reminder to apply CRITICAL THINKING to “data” and “facts” with which you are presented – the “facts” presented in this article were mostly false and/or misleading. Nearly everything we see has been filtered through an agenda lens and is tainted with selection bias and interpretation bias. Given that we will each apply our own cognitive biases to information, it is crucial that we get as close to the unadulterated source material as possible.
My suggestion – especially as we head into election day – is to question what you read. If there are no links to sources, that is often an indicator of fabrication/manipulation, so your BS radar should be at high alert. If there are links to sources, don’t assume that those sources support the conclusions or interpretation of the article you are reading – quite often (This article was a case in point!) they don’t.
If your reaction is that this all sounds well and good but you just don’t have time to do that kind of research then I challenge you to examine your priorities – what could be more important than being informed as a voter in an election year? As Dumbledore would say, “We must choose between what is easy and what is right.”
Choose what is right.