ACORN Filmmakers Batting 1.000 But Media Matters Says It's "Statistically Insignificant" by Matthew Vadum 23 Oct 2009 post a comment Share This: As damning video after video is released showing ACORN's willingness to counsel lawbreakers, no one has been more willing to assassinate the character of ACORN’s opponents than the hired guns at the left-wing group Media Matters for America. As I noted yesterday, thin-skinned Jamison Foser of Media Matters wrote Oct. 16 that "some conservative activists induced a statistically insignificant number of the organization’s low-level employees to behave badly." [emphasis added] Setting aside the question of whether the ACORN employees were "induced" by activists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles to do things they wouldn't have already been willing to do, was the number of ACORN personnel behaving badly statistically insignificant? Let's take a look at that claim. In statistics, a result is considered statistically significant if it is unlikely to have occurred by chance. So far ACORN employees in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York City, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Philadelphia have been shown on video behaving badly. On all the videos, ACORN personnel have been cooperative and helpful to the make-believe pimp and prostitute. So far ACORN personnel in six offices have acted badly. That's six out of six, or 100%. What are the chances of that happening? This is --obviously-- not statistically insignificant. Actually, in statistics when a phenomenon keeps repeating itself over and over again and you're batting 1000, it's called a "trend." With the release of the Philadelphia video Wednesday, let's add up the total number of ACORN employees behaving badly. Unless I'm leaving somebody out: Baltimore (2): Shera Williams and Tonja Thompson Washington, D.C. (3): Sherona Boone, Lavernia Boone, unidentified woman New York City (2): Volda Albert and Milagros Rivera San Bernardino (1): Tresa Kaelke San Diego (1): Juan Carlos Vera Philadelphia (1): Katherine Conway Russell That's a total of 10 ACORN employees. Of the 10 ACORN employees videotaped, all 10 have acted badly. That's 100% too. What are the chances of that happening? According to ACORN's website, ACORN has 71 offices. I believe the total number is actually lower because several of the offices listed do not appear to be open for business. But for sake of argument, let's say it's 71 offices. Expressed as a percentage, six out of 71 is 8.4%. That means that 8.4% of ACORN offices contain badly behaving employees. That's a very good-sized statistical sample. ACORN chief organizer Bertha Lewis told "Democracy Now!" Sept. 17 that ACORN has 700 employees. Assuming Lewis is telling the truth (which is a very risky assumption to make given her proven mendacity) then 1.4% of ACORN's workforce has been shown on video behaving badly. Of course 1.4% is not as impressive a sample as 8.4% but it is certainly not small. Desperate to defend his allies in ACORN, Foser of Media Matters can't even think straight. He's asking people to believe that the 100% of the 10 ACORN employees (representing 1.4% of ACORN's total workforce) shown in videos behaving badly is a statistically insignificant fluke. Bear in mind if more videos are released showing ACORN employees behaving badly, the percentages are only going to grow. Foser's asking Americans to believe that the bad behavior of a statistically significant percentage of ACORN's employees documented on video is purely coincidental. In other words, he's arguing O'Keefe and Giles just happened to stumble upon the few rotten apples working at ACORN. What are the chances of that happening? Foser's "rotten apples" spin happens to be the same lie that ACORN has been telling for years. Is that a coincidence too, Media Matters?