Before anyone seeks to level a criticism for picking on someone's mistake, let's imagine what the press, which is so desperate to pin anything on Ted Cruz that one of its members recently tried to hold him responsible for others' comments on his Facebook page, would do to him if he made the error recently elected New Jersey Senator Cory Booker made two days ago on Twitter — and has yet to correct.
Booker was apparently taken aback when he read a USA Today story about how U.S. students' performance compares to those in Finland. One segment of Oliver Thomas's writeup noted that "in Finland, the child poverty rate is about 5%. In the U.S., the rate is almost five times as high." That prompted an outraged Booker — a graduate of Stanford and Yale Law School, and a Rhodes scholar — to tweet the following (HT Twitchy):
The last time I checked, 5% times five is 25%, aka "one-fourth" — even at the hallowed institutions just cited.
The USA Today report does indicate that "nearly half of all U.S. public school students live in poverty." But that's not what Booker's tweet, which refers to "all students," says.
Oliver Thomas also played a "Bush did it" game by writing that "Poverty has risen in every state since President (Bill) Clinton left office." A vast majority of the rise from 11.3% in 2000 to the current 15.1% occurred in the five years Barack Obama has been President, and a far greater percentage of the rise has occurred since Democrats took control of both houses of Congress in 2007.
Responders to Booker's tweet have had some choice reactions (minor edits have been made to a few of them):
"Are you really so innumerate you believe that half of all kids in school are living in poverty? Read the article again, genius."
"@CoryBooker Almost 100% of U.S. Senators named 'Booker' are mathematically illiterate."
"@CoryBooker, non-thinking tweeter. Give him a break, math is hard."
"Clearly, @CoryBooker is as bad at math as he is at reasoning."
"I don't think 5x5 equals 50. Perhaps you're not the best spokesperson for a Stanford education."
"So, 5% x 5 is 50%? Must be using #CommonCore math."
Dan Quayle got endlessly savaged in the press for misspelling "potato."
The establishment press will almost definitely ignore Booker's blunder, even if it stays up for months — or, perhaps, if covered, it will be passed off as an error by some "low-level staffer."
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.