Thursday, April 26, 2012

Anchor Rising: "Abortion Question Shows PolitiFact RI's Bias and Ignorance"

Blogger Justin Katz of Rhode Island's "Anchor Rising" recently hit PolitiFact for its poor handling of the abortion issue in a fact check of Jon O'Brien.  O'Brien serves as president of the self-explanatory group Catholics for Choice.

Katz makes great points about the ignorance of Roman Catholic doctrine displayed in the fact check.

(I)n order that I may exorcise today's demon, I have to point out the ignorance and bias on display in Eugene Emery's finding that it is "mostly true" that "only 14 percent of Catholics agree with the Vatican's position that abortion should be illegal."
An objective assessment must acknowledge that there are two parts to the question, with a third qualifier necessary for an understanding of the results:
  1. What is the Church's position on the matter?
  2. Do Catholics agree with that position?
  3. In what sense are the respondents "Catholic"?
Katz goes on to show that PolitiFact's fact-finding fudges on all three points.  PolitiFact failed to look into the crucial term "direct abortion" in the portion of the catechism it quoted and made no effort to correlate the actual Catholic doctrines to the poll data.

Katz covers it all and then some, so pay a visit and read it through.

It's worth adding that many Catholics out of agreement with Vatican teaching on abortion think they agree with Vatican teaching on abortion.  Using such statistics often matches a fallacious pattern of argument.

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