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Blue Hog Makes Mistake In Criticizing Mark Martin’s Non-Mistake

Updated: Apr 13

In the elections that just concluded, Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin bore the brunt of some of the most unhinged attacks by left-wing bloggers in the state. Like this one, for instance: when the Blue Hog Report claimed to have a “shocking look” inside the Martin campaign’s financial records, alleging that he “got the math wrong” on contributions by $4,080. BHR even insinuated that our Secretary of State fudged the numbers by approximately $3,000 so that he could pay $3,000 of tax obligations. I read the article and looked at the reports in question.  Contra the Blue Hog Report, Martin’s reports are correct. Regrettably, BHR made a stupid bookkeeping mistake in the process of checking Martin’s math, and then — apparently because the blogger didn’t understand what he was doing — criticized Martin for making a stupid bookkeeping mistake, alleging a mistake by Martin which (in reality) never existed. In the process of what the blog authors no doubt thought was double-checking, BHR mistakenly added the far right column on the monthly reports (which is “cumulative total from this contributor”) instead of the next-to-last column (which is “amount of contribution”). This is an easy mistake to make, assuming that you have forgotten how to read. That’s why, according to BHR, the magnitude of the reporting mistake grows each time. Imagine that, every month, you got a bill from your credit card company explaining how much you had cumulatively charged that year, but were too incompetent to read it correctly: imagine that, in January, you paid the January charges; in February, you paid the January and February charges; in March, you paid the January, February, and March charges; and so on. You’d be making massive overpayments pretty fast — because you were too incompetent to understand basic facts of accounting. BHR has made the same kind of mistake. Looking into candidates’ campaign finances is an important aspect of journalism, but Blue Hog should make sure in the future that their “shocking look” reports are accurate prior to publication. Perhaps the moral here is that law blogs ought to be careful about accusing mechanical engineers of making mistakes about simple math. We aren’t holding our breath waiting for a retraction, given BHR’s long history of hilariously overheated accusations. For what it’s worth, this faux-controversy didn’t hinder Martin in the general election: he won by the largest margin in Arkansas of all the state constitutional office races.

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