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Thursday, January 25, 2007
Riehl Mendacious (And Confusing)
Topic: NewsBusters

We're still amazed that Dan Riehl is still allowed to post at NewsBusters after his S.R. Sidarth debacle, but hey, if they allowed only people who could present their arguments cogently and honestly, we'd be out of business.

Which brings us to Riehl's Jan. 24 post, in which he, in a classic pot-kettle-black moment, calls Sen. Jim Webb "something of an obfuscater when it comes to the truth." As evidence, Riehl claims that "a poll Webb used to claim the military doesn't support the war actually favors increasing troop numbers, as proposed by Bush." Not exactly true:

  • Webb never mentions a poll in his State of the Union rebuttal.
  • The poll Riehl is using to back up his claim, a Military Times poll that found, among other things, that "Almost half of those responding think we need more troops in Iraq than we have there now," was released Dec. 29 -- several days before President Bush announced his plan for adding troops to Iraq. Thus, it could not be an endorsement of "increasing troop numbers, as proposed by Bush." There's no indication that the poll asked how many troops were favored by those who supported more troops.

Riehl later wrote:

He claimed a majority of the military doesn't support the effort in Iraq, that's untrue.

Almost half of those responding think we need more troops in Iraq than we have there now.

Either way, Webb's claim is false based upon the disclaimer with the poll.

The results should not be read as representative of the military as a whole;

We're not sure exactly what the heck he's trying to say here. His quote from the poll on more troops in Iraq doesn't support his claim that a majority of the military doesn't support the effort in Iraq is "untrue." And the poll has three questions that could conceivably be interpreted asking about "support" of "the effort in Iraq" that don't quite support Riehl's claim:

  • 50 percent "thought success in Iraq was likely," down from 84 percent in 2004.
  • "For the first time, more troops disapprove of the president’s handling of the war than approve of it."
  • "[O]nly 41 percent of the military said the U.S. should have gone to war in Iraq in the first place, down from 65 percent in 2003." 

Riehl then claims that Webb is wrong no matter what because the poll disavows itself from being "representative of the military as a whole." But doesn't that mean that Riehl's claims are wrong, too? If all Riehl has to disprove Webb is a poll that doesn't claim to be accurate, why did he even bother to write this in the first place?

We're so confused. And not just because NewsBusters continues to allow Riehl to post there. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:42 AM EST

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