Thursday, March 23, 2006

There's some debate here.

Over at Ed Brayton's "Dispatches from the Culture Wars," Ed is all over the recent "news" that Jerry Falwell's Liberty University debating team is the "best" debating team in the entire United States, which would normally come as a bit of a surprise since most students who choose to attend Liberty University are, well, morons. So what's really going on here?

Ed starts here back on Jan. 31 of this year, and quotes the following from MSNBC:

The Liberty team is currently ranked No. 1 in the country, above Harvard (14th) and all the other big names.

Now, even reading nothing else, it should be obvious that that doesn't mean they're national champions. Rather, it talks about rankings, so it's no big surprise that, when you do read further, these rankings are based on things like number of tournaments attended and so on. They have little to do with actual talent. In any event, you can read the whole thing for yourself to see how LU is playing fast and loose with the facts to artificially crank up their reputation. But it doesn't end there.

Apparently, Stephen Colbert (not recognizing "truthiness" when he sees it) had Liberty's debate coach Brett O'Donnell on "The Colbert Report," whereupon O'Donnell proceeded to mangle reality thusly:

Brett O'Donnell, the coach of the Liberty University debate team, was on the Colbert Report last night on Comedy Central. He actually talked about how great it was to beat Harvard and with all the talk of how Liberty is "better" than Harvard and Dartmouth and Northwestern, etc, not once did he even hint at the fact that they are #1 only because they send a lot of teams to weak regional tournaments as well as enter lots of teams in novice events.

Ed follows up with parts 3 and 4 here and here, that last installment explaining how CBS News has now bestowed upon LU the title of "national champions."

Sorry, what was all that about that one-sided, anti-Christian "liberal" media again?

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