Monday, July 19, 2010

New York State of Mind

Politifact gives Ron Johnson's recent ad a thorough fact-checking and comes away skeptical.

The strangest aspect of the piece is the campaign's insistence that New York isn't a great lake state. This map seems to suggest otherwise:

This is really a stretch:

The Johnson campaign told PolitiFact that "including or excluding two New York City senators as Great Lakes senators is subjective, and many government and academic sources do not group New York in the Great Lakes region." They cited the Great Lakes Regional Water Program University of Wisconsin Extension (which defines the Great Lakes Region as "Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin"), the Bureau of Economic Analysis (which defines the Great Lakes Region as "Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin"), and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (which defines the Great Lakes Region as "Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin").

But we think the implication that Clinton and Schumer somehow forfeit their right to represent residents on Lake Ontario and Lake Erie is ridiculous. In addition, if the campaign was going to use these three alternate groupings as gospel, they should have also eliminated Pennsylvania, which does not appear in any of the three they cite. But they didn't: The Johnson campaign's backup sheet for the ad cites Pennsylvania, but not New York.

This strikes us as cherry picking. We find no good rationale for excluding New York, so on this count, we find Johnson's ad clearly inaccurate.
Well, the rationale was clearly to make Feingold look like he's out of step with the mainstream.

Again, this is all fairly esoteric stuff to be discussing, material that doesn't show up on most voter's radars -- but there's a very real consequences of screwing up like this: the central message of the ad gets ignored and replaced by the completely unimportant issue of whether New York is a Great Lakes state. Instead of pushing back on Feingold, Johnson has to mop up a minor mess and the initial charge goes unrebutted.

[via UW]

MORE: This isn't helping things.


capper said...

Maybe RoJo thinks that Lake Ontartio and Lake Erie aren't so great, and only considers those two to the be So-So Lakes.

Jim said...

Johnson must not have watched "How the state's got their shapes" on the History Channel, or else he'd know how important Great Lakes access would be.