Paleolithic Origins of False Equivalence, Starring James Carville

By James Fallows

For anyone with the slightest interest in modern politics, the full two-minutes-plus of this clip from The War Room will be an irresistibly rewarding glimpse back at life two decades ago. But the 20-second soliloquy by James Carville that starts around time 1:40 shows the bright thread of false-equivalence thinking that runs from that time to our own.

 


"We say 50 + 50 is 104, they say 50 + 50 is 104,000, and the press will say, 'Well both of 'em are stretching the numbers a little bit.' "

Thanks to reader RM.
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Bonus update for math/coding folks in the audience. A reader in Corvallis, Oregon writes:

A previous reader said:
"I often feel that the true expression is:
    "Democrats: 1+1 = 4
    "Republicans: 1+1 = 12
    "Press: 1+1= 10, probably, though some experts disagree."
In this case, the press is correct. They are just using "sophisticated' language to prove their superiority.

"There are only 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't."

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/02/paleolithic-origins-of-false-equivalence-starring-james-carville/273530/