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Article posted Feb 09 2012, 6:46 PM Category: Big Brother/Orwellian Source: Techdirt Print

According To Lamar Smith, Data Or Criticism From Anyone Who Doesn't Like SOPA Isn't Valid

by Mike Masnick

We recently wrote about PolitiFact trashing Lamar Smith for the numbers he used in support of SOPA -- numbers that PolitiFact says grade out to "false." What I somehow missed was at the very end of that article, they ask Smith to respond to the charges that his argument was false. Amazingly, rather than respond to the actual data, Smith chose to instead attack one (of a few!) of the people that PolitiFact discussed the data with, Julian Sanchez:
After we summarized much of this research, Smith objected to Sanchez as an expert, saying in an email that because Sanchez is opposed to the anti-online-piracy act, he "cannot provide an objective or unbiased analysis." He stood by his statement, telling us: "Since the U.S. is the largest producer of (intellectual property) that is consumed around the world, one can surmise that a significant amount of that total value is taken from the U.S. economy."
First of all, what? Considering that the numbers Smith used came from industry lobbyists in favor of the bill, doesn't that mean that Smith should be objecting to his own numbers? After all, the source of those numbers -- the Chamber of Commerce -- "cannot provide an objective or unbiased analysis." Or perhaps Smith thinks that only those in favor of SOPA can provide such an analysis.

Either way, that statement is insane. Smith honestly seems to be saying that any information -- no matter how factual -- cannot be trusted if it comes from SOPA opponents. Why doesn't he have that same skepticism towards the data that the MPAA and Chamber of Commerce handed him?

Furthermore, his decision to stick by his comments is doubly insane. The fact that the US is the largest producer of intellectual property that is consumed around the world... does not, in fact, mean that any counterfeiting is "the total value taken from the US economy." Is this guy serious? PolitiFact flat out points out that it's false, with data to back it up, and shows exactly how Smith is blatantly lying about the data... and Smith's response is to restate the error and insist that the thing already proven false must be true?!?

Smith's constituents should demand better. Having an elected official who lives in a fantasy world where facts are ignored is not a good thing.

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