Friday, July 07, 2006

The Window Washers

Eric from Is That Legal? tells an interesting anecdote about Fox News commentator and former judge Andrew Napolitano.

While promoting his book about how the Federal government commercial regulations are out of control, Napolitano recently told a story on talk radio. According to the retired judge, the Feds argued in court that window washers on the Empire State Building were engaged in interstate commerce, and therefore under Federal juristiction, merely because they could see New Jersey from the top of the building!

Problem is, it seems that Napolitano made the whole thing up. The case never happened, as Eric explains:

I've searched for this case using Westlaw, Lexis, Google, and even the New York Times historical newspaper database (which has the full text of everything in the NYTimes since 1851), and I have found nothing that even faintly resembles this case. (Nor have I found "hundreds and hundreds of examples" of similar cases.)

What, a conservative former judge working for Faux News lied got his facts wrong in public??? Say it ain't so!!!

All joking aside, we folks in the reality based community need to come to grips with extremist Right-wing tactics like this. While we worry about little things like truth and honesty, liars simply invent stories. The sort of person who does that has an agenda to push, and couldn't care less that the facts don't support his ideology. Given a lack of facts supporting his ideology, he'll just make up his own non-facts.

It is a successful strategy too. As conservatives have discovered, in the court of public opinion, one anecdote is worth a hundred statistics and actual facts.

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