Wednesday, January 25, 2006

How Not to be an Effective Advocate; or: Bob From the ALA is a Lying Turd

When advocating a cause, one of the most effective techiniques you can employ is to anticipate your opponent's arguments in advance and preemptively refute them.

However, if you decide to not acknowledge your opponent's arguments, it's a really bad idea to lie by affimatively asserting that there is no evidence contrary to your position.

But if you do lie, it is a really REALLY bad idea to link to an article that you use to support your position - and that you just lied about it containing nothing to the contrary - when anybody with a reading ability at 6th grade level and a command of the usage of hyperlinks can expose your lie. It tends to impugn your either cred or your intelligence. Usually both.

Which brings us to Bob "I Look Like Ned Flanders" Moffitt, the local mouthpiece for the American Lung Association (Motto: Saving you from yourself no matter the cost, whether you like it or not.) Those of you who are familiar with the local blogs are already aware of Ubiquitous Bob. For those of you who are not: as far as I can gather, Bob's job consists of doing Technorati searches for the phrase "smoking ban," leaving taunting and propagandistic comments on the posts that turn up from that search, and then making himself invisible whenever someone challenges him on his "facts." Another duty of his is updating the ALA-Minnesota's blog (I am assuming that Bob does the blog here, but it's a safe assumption since the style, tone and content of the postings are very similar to Bob's frequent comment spam. Even if it isn't Bob who updates the blog, whomever it is was cut from the same flaccid substance and deserves ridicule).

Normally, I eschew cheap, facile "gotcha" posts. But in this case, considering the souce and the outright bald-faceyness of the lie, I'm making an exception.

Today, Bob (or whomever) writes (emphasis mine):

Several weeks after the votes were cast, the Minnesota Daily reports on the St. Paul smoking ban. As usual, the intrepid student reporters fanned out, looking for disgruntled bar owners to interview. Oddly enough, they quoted only Minneapolis bar bosses...

And then Bob goes on to quote from the article a statement from the owner of Big 10 Subs (YUMMY!) saying that "everything's peachy!". After the lengthy quote, Bob concludes:

Hmm, cleaner workplace, no loss of business. Sounds like quite an "ordeal" doesn't it?

For "balance" Bob quotes a "liquor lobbyist" who has slight misgivings about the ban. But it's just one guy's opinion. No data or anything.

Flash back to that passage I emphasized in the first paragraph. Now read the article to which he links. Turns out there was a St. Paul "bar boss" interviewed. And he wasn't saying what Bob wanted to hear (emphasis mine):

Brian Miller, manager of Dixies on Grand in St. Paul, said he appreciates that the ban is devoted to his employees’ health and makes for a more enjoyable dining experience. But he said he thinks it should be up to the business owners to decide.

Miller said Dixies’ food sales increased while their liquor sales decreased.

“The smoking ban has significantly hurt our late-night business,” he said.

He said they have a patio with heaters installed so people who want to smoke can step outside and be comfortable

Get that? Dixie's (also YUMMY!) makes accomodations for their smoking clientelle, yet their business still took a hit.

To recap:

* Bob says nobody in St. Paul was interviewed in the article he cites.

* Bob says cited article revealed no loss of business.

* A bar owner in St. Paul was in fact interviewed in the cited article.

* Interviewed bar owner did say his bar in fact lost business.


Bob is a lying piece of filth.

NOTE TO BOB: Remember, this blog is designated as "no fascism" only. Every comment you make here subjects you to a $250 fine.

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