Confirmation bias for dummies

Confirmation bias for dummies

by digby

When is someone going to shut this ridiculous operation down?

Conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe released a new video today supposedly exposing voter fraud in North Carolina by highlighting non-citizens like Zbigniew Gorzkowski who have voted in recent elections.

The problem: Gorzkowski is an American citizen.

In fact, if O’Keefe had done a simple Nexis search for “Zbigniew Gorzkowski”, he would have found a single article from the News & Observer in 2008 noting that Gorzkowski and his wife are naturalized citizens:

Customers flock through the red door of Zbigniew “Ziggy” and wife Halina Gorzkowski’s European grocery and flower shop to buy one of the 12 varieties they sell. The pierogis and 400 eastern European food items and flowers are also punching the naturalized citizen couple’s ticket for their version of the American Dream.

ThinkProgress spoke with Gorzkowski this morning. He verified that this information was indeed correct and he had been an American citizen since the late 1980s. Therefore, his votes in the 2008 and 2010 elections were not only perfectly legal, but encouraged as a civic duty.

We already knew he was a liar, so no big surprise there. But this is just sloppy, even for him.

On the other hand, "motivated reasoning" will almost certainly make the right wing true believers either discard this proof of O'Keefe's mendacity or construct an elaborate conspiracy theory to explain it. O'Keefe has been shown over and over again to be duplicitous and frankly, dumb. But he keeps on doing what he does and they keep on believing him.

This is particularly pernicious in the so-called voter fraud area, where the fact that there is no known case of voter fraud that could possibly sway an election didn't stop even the US Supreme Court from deciding that making voting more difficult was required simply because cheating was theoretically possible. This, in the face of common sense that argues any widespread cheating by individual voters was nearly impossible in practice.

O'Keefe may be a clown, but every time he puts one of these dishonest videos out purporting to "prove" voter fraud, it just confirms the bias of millions of people and there's just no way of talking them out of it, short of their own validators (Republicans) repudiating him for his dishonesty. And I don't see that happening. Why should it? They benefit from it. Indeed, they are behind it.