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A Rant About the “Just Facts” Website: It is Right Wing Propaganda Cleverly Disguised As Facts


I can conclude that “Just Facts” is a right-wing think tank that is only going to present “Facts” that it thinks refute the left-wing positions it abhors. It is not going to present facts that suggest that any of its right-wing positions are wrong.
The biases of “Just Facts” are obvious. While everyone has biases, it is clear to me that what is presented on the “Just Facts” website is propaganda, right-wing propaganda, and not just facts. If you have any problems with that statement, try reading a selection of “Just Facts” articles and you will see that not one of the articles presents important facts that would tend to suggest that right-wing positions are actually wrong.

Let us take an example: “Just Facts” top article: “Income, Wealth, and Poverty”…
1. the definitions of income omit inheritances. Inheritance is an important source of wealth and income for a certain proportion of the population.
2. Income is presented first as a numerical average, then as median figures, without explaining the difference– although there is an obvious difference, which is explained by skewing of the numerical average with small numbers of people who have very high incomes.
3. In the section on sources of income, inheritances are omitted from the “sources of income” and the following statement appears:
“In 1979, roughly 40% of U.S. households received more in federal, state, and local government benefits than they paid in federal taxes…”
State and local taxes, like sales taxes, are completely omitted from the “paid” column and are not further discussed… such taxes are regressive, as opposed to the federal income tax, which is progressive.

3a. In the same section, the following statement is presented:
” Government benefits can suppress market income by:
providing the means and incentive not to work.[56] [57]
reducing the incentive to work by cutting take-home pay (if taxes are raised to pay for the benefits).[58] [59] [60]
depressing wages by decreasing productivity-enhancing investments (if governments borrow the money to pay for the benefits).[61] [62]”
Notice that “government benefits suppress market income” is a statement of opinion, which is followed by “reasons” that are given references (which I did not peruse)… “reasons” that include conclusions such as “produce the means [obvious] and incentive [not so obvious] not to work” and “reducing the incentive to work” and finally “decreasing productivity-enhancing investments”… these are all conclusions that right-wing ideologues swear by, namely that government benefits make poor people lazy (“reduced incentive to work”) and the money would be better spent on “productivity-enhancing investments” (in what way investments enhance productivity is not described, but this could be debated for a long time and is certainly not obvious.)
The observation that poor people want to work and would work if given the opportunity is never revealed nor discussed; this is perhaps the most important aspect of the entire “welfare” controversy. Right-wing ideologues insist that welfare benefits make people lazy (especially black people– this is a common canard that is presented in movies from the thirties and forties from the mouths of black actors.) They ignore the obvious statements from the mouths of the poor people themselves, who say “Just give me a job! I need work to be able to respect myself.”

[What is more, and never mentioned, is that government benefits are immediately spent by their recipients.  This actually stimulates the economy rather than “suppress[ing] market income”… and what does “suppress market income” actually mean?  Does it mean that “market income” is reduced when a person receives a government benefit?  That is obvious and irrelevant to the individual, who perceives only total income and the potential for purchasing.   So in fact, government benefits enhance the individual’s total income and purchasing power, which is positive for the economy.  Such benefits may mean the difference between having to choose between homelessness and starvation, and being able to avoid both homelessness and starvation.]

  1. I could continue if I had time, but in summary, the long series of statements and tables presented by “Just Facts” has the appearance of presenting all of the objective facts when it in reality omits or distorts certain important facts that tend to change the import of the overall picture in a “left-wing” direction. This is right wing propaganda disguised as objective facts.

(photo courtesy of and aitoff)

(this rant was submitted as a comment to the Retraction Watch site discussing pro-lifer’s demand that an article in JAMA about whether the fetus can feel pain be retracted, because some of the authors had associations with institutions that performed abortions, or had performed abortions themselves.  The demanders referenced the “Just Facts” website, which presented a slanted review of recent research on the subject.)

A further rant about abortion in relation to the controversy over whether the fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks (or whenever):

I would like to point out that the issue of whether the fetus can (and probably does) feel pain (it does have nerve endings that, in the adult, transmit pain) is entirely separate from the issue of whether the mother has the right to have an abortion performed and thereby kill the human fetus. The mother has an absolute right to kill a human invader who has parasitized her womb, whether or not that uninvited presence can feel pain. The fetus has no ethical right to take over a mother’s body and life for its own nourishment without her consent.
The fact that the fetus is developing the apparatus for feeling pain is undeniable, whatever stage that apparatus is at and whether or not it is hooked up to the brain regions that perceive and react to pain (which is an open question, currently under investigation.) That is entirely beside the point of whether the mother has a right to abort.

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