Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Garbage in, garbage out: when you base your arguments on lies bad data, your arguments fall apart. And trusting professional media editors to check writers’ work is a job that seems frequently undone.

Mary Lou Marzian, former Kentucky House Representative for the previous District 34, and Honi Marleen Goldman, described as “a Kentucky activist,” and is, in fact, a pro-abortion agitator, were granted OpEd space in what my best friend used to call the Lexington Herald-Liberal, claiming that the General Assembly, Kentucky’s state legislature, is unfairly gerrymandered to harm the interests of the Commonwealth’s urban residents.

Fueled by dark money, Kentucky’s rural/urban divide hurts all of us | Opinion

by Mary Lou Marzian and Honi Goldman | Thursday, May 25, 2023 | 10:11 AM EDT | Updated: 12:23 PM EDT

Kentucky is comprised of 120 counties. In only two of those counties is there a major city, Louisville and Lexington (1.4 million and 517,000 respectively). Together these two key cities make up 44% of Kentucky’s population.

The citizens of Louisville and Lexington are diverse in race, religion, and ethnic origin. The population in Kentucky’s smaller towns and counties is primarily white and Christian.

The biggest concerns in the urban centers are crime, homelessness, and human rights. The rural areas focus on gun rights, “Family Values” and government overreach.

The issues for both sides are unique and fundamental to their respective populations.

Read more here.

One of the things about reading articles online is that the browser tabs can sometimes tell you more than the authors and editors want you to know. As originally saved, the article was entited “With misinformation, Ky’s urban/rural divide hurts us.” Someone, who would normally be the newspaper’s editor, changed the title, to blame “dark money”, and changed urban/rural to rural/urban. 🙂

The authors’ first paragraph gives us the “misinformation” with which the article was originally entitled. Louisville’s population is not 1.4 million and Lexington’s is not 517,000. According to the United States Census Bureau, the Louisville/Jefferson County’s population in the 2020 Census was 633,045, and the July 1, 2022 guesstimate is 624,444. The Census Bureau stated that Lexington/Fayette County’s population was 322,570 in the 2020 Census, and a guesstimated 320,347 as of July 1, 2022. The population of the entire state was given as 4,505,836 in the Census, and an estimated 4,512,310 last July.

Let’s do the math! 624,444 + 320,347 = 944,791. 944,791 ÷ 4,512,310 = 0.2094, or 20.94%.

So, no, those “two key cities” do not “make up 44% of Kentucky’s population.”

It has been suggested that Misses Marzian and Goldman were actually using the metropolitan statistical area concept for population numbers, and the Louisville metropolitan statistical area had a population of 1,395,855, close enough to the 1.4 million the authors claimed.

But the metropolitan statistical area for Louisville includes Clark, Floyd, Harrison, and Washington counties in Indiana! Unintentionally or otherwise, Misses Marzian and Goldman were trying to include parts of Indiana in the Bluegrass State’s population, to reach their elevated count of 44%.

The Kentucky counties listed as part of the Louisville/Jefferson County metropolitan statistical area are Bullitt, Henry, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, and Trimble. The authors contended that these were all urbanized counties, with urbanized interests: “crime, homelessness, and human rights.” But, in the 2020 presidential election, while Joe Biden carried Jefferson County 228,358 (59.06%) to 150,646 (38.96%) for President Trump, Mr Trump carried the other listed Kentucky counties, in the same order, by 73.12%, 72.05%, 59.65%, 63.93%, 76.42%, and 74.70%. It certainly doesn’t seem as though the residents there have the same interests!

The counties listed as part of the Lexington/Fayette County metropolitan statistical area are Bourbon, Clark, Jessamine, Scott, and Woodford, and while Mr Biden carried Fayette County 90,600 (59.25%) to Mr Trump’s 58,860 (38.49%), President Trump carried the other listed counties, respectively, 64.16%, 65.11%, 65.05%, 61.33%, and 54.97%.

In the two United States Senate races, Mitch McConnell vs Amy McGrath Henderson in 2020, and Rand Paul vs Charles Booker in 2022, while the Democrat challenger carried Jefferson and Fayette counties, the Republican incumbent carried all of the others in their metropolitan statistical areas.

These are all statewide races; there can be no claim that gerrymandering was involved.

Back to the original:

However, 75% of Kentucky State House Representatives, 77% State Senators, 83% of U.S. House Representatives and 100% of Kentucky’s U.S. Senators are making laws that affect nearly half of Kentucky’s population who are against what these legislators are voting for and what their campaigns are based on.

The authors, one of whom was formerly a member of the state House herself, couldn’t even get that right! The GOP controls 80%, not 75%, of the seats in the state House of Representatives; the 75% figure was from the previous House, from 2021-22, rather than the current one. With 30 seats in the state Senate, the GOP controls 79% — 78.94% to be more accurate — in that chamber. Can’t the authors do math? And can’t the Herald-Leader’s editors catch mistakes like these?

But, while those numbers are pretty strong for Republicans, with the only two reliably Democratic counties in the state having just 20.94% of the Commonwealth’s population, they seem to fit the way Kentuckians vote!

Naturally, there are some Republicans in Jefferson and Fayette counties, just as there are Democrats in the rural areas, but the numbers have pretty much worked out.

While the authors gave at least a tip of the hat to more rural Kentuckians — “The rural areas focus on gun rights, ‘Family Values’ and government overreach. The issues for both sides are unique and fundamental to their respective populations” — it didn’t take them too long to list a litany of complaints blatantly tilted to the ‘progressive’ agenda. They continued:

The citizens of Kentucky are fighting for their very existence. Laws are being passed that claim to “protect” the rural population from concocted horrors, are in fact hurting and killing people in the urban population.

Killing people? What laws are being passed which kill people? Which actual victims can they name? We know, of course, that Miss Goldman fully supports prenatal infanticide, so it would seem that the laws she supports would actually kill people!

In very conservative Kentucky, the Lexington Herald-Leader has apparently taken a full-tilt transgender advocacy stand. Long-time Herald-Leader columnist Linda Blackford even told us it was coming:

Alex Acquisto has written a harrowing, intimate account of some of the families in our state who are simply trying to meet their children’s needs in the wake of Senate Bill 150, which bans gender-affirming healthcare. She opens with a scene of 13-year-old Henry Svec who sat in a Frankfort hearing room as “experts” defined him as unnatural, confused and disordered. Henry and his parents are actually pretty clear about who Henry is and what he needs. They’d like to provide it to him, but the GOP majority has decided that “parents rights” means politicians get to decide what’s best for Henry.

In Opinion, we will have some first person accounts from trans people on the front lines. Rebecca Blankenship, the first trans person elected to public office in Kentucky, and some of her colleagues talk about how the trans movement is used by both the left and right for their own purposes. Ysa Leon, the incoming SGA president at Transy, always believed they would live in Kentucky and work to make it a better place, but now believes they¹ will have to leave because politicians are ginning up so much hatred. Bill Adkins, a lawyer in Williamsburg, is not trans, but he does study history and explains how political scapegoating of minorities can lead to far more deadly consequences. Former Rep. Mary Lou Marzian explains how gerrymandering has given rural legislators too much power over urban areas, which further heightens these kinds of divides.

As we have previously noted, the newspaper has fallen completely out-of-touch with its readership. Newspapers are failing all over the country, but the newspaper, which was once the dominant paper in central and eastern Kentucky, is a shadow of its former self. Where, in junior high and early high school I used to deliver the old Lexington Herald and afternoon Lexington Leader in Mt Sterling, they closed up their printing plant in seven years ago, outsourcing the print edition to a plant outside of Louisville 1½ hours west of Lexington, and dropped a separate Saturday edition at the beginning of 2020.

You want home delivery outside of Lexington? Too bad, so sad, but it ain’t going to happen!

It’s obvious what happened: the authors wrote an OpEd that the editors liked, so they published it uncritically, never bothering to check the facts. Informed people living in and around Lexington know that the city’s population is not 517,000, or anywhere close; that should have jumped off the page as a mistake the second they read it . . . if they read it at all. Mrs Blackford is a long-time area resident — I don’t know whether she actually lives in the city — and she both knows the size of the city and indicated that she read the OpEd piece, yet she referenced it without correction.

The truthful statistic? Kentuckians as a whole are pretty conservative, and while there are some liberals and even progressives in the Bluegrass State, they are a decided minority. I can remember, back in the dark age of quill pens on parchment, University of Kentucky political science professor Malcolm Jewell telling his students that the two major party candidates are practically guaranteed 40% of the vote, and the real battle is for the 20% that’s actually up for grabs. But in the three most recent statewide general election campaigns, Democrats Joe Biden, Amy McGrath Henderson, and Charles Booker couldn’t even get the 40% Dr Jewell told us they were guaranteed.
¹ – The author claims the plural pronouns, and Mrs Blackford stupidly went along with that stupidity.
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