To Catch a Big Mouth

Friday, July 24, 2009

Benjamin Radford is a self-proclaimed "critical thinker", "research journalist", editor of The Skeptical Enquirer and author of a couple of very strange books and articles. I say strange because in Media Mythmakers he attempts to prove

"the ways in which deception is used in various media to influence decision making and public policy"

While I know for a fact that media is sometimes deceptive I know something else as well, and that is the fact that Benjamin Radford is committing the same types of errors he's accusing the mainstream media of.

Radford's specialty is disproving things that cannot be disproven by using his so-called "critical thinking skills". The problem is: he forgot to use them.

Radford recently appeared on Americans Reality Check to promote his book and spread his propaganda. He believes the American people are lazy and incapable of thinking things through on their own. I find it strange that he believes news journalists influence the way people think while claiming they aren't doing their jobs if they don't tell them what to think.


"Should you take aspirin daily to ward off a heart attack? Aspirin makers say yes. Others say that there isn't enough evidence that it's effective. Who do you believe? Presumably the journalist presenting a story will tell you-unless he or she is bound by agnostic objectivity, in which case you'll get both sides and a shrug."
I suppose I'm incapable of "thinking critically" because I fail to see why anyone would expect a journalist to analyze conflicting medical information and then tell people what the correct answer is....when he can't possibly know what the correct answer is. All he can really do is state his opinion and influence people - whether or not he's right.

Radford claims that since he's a "research journalist" he thoroughly researched his topic aware that what he wrote would be controversial. So I'm a little confused here as to how he came up with his conclusion that recidivism for sex offenders is very low. For a critical thinker he made the same mistake as so many pedophile activists do - taking the DOJ recidivism report at face value and failing to question or analyze the results.

Listen to Karl Hanson explain that 30 to 40% of registered sex offenders are caught with a new sex offense within 20 years:

Here Sarah Tofte of the Human Rights Watch explains how surprised she was to find that 25% of sex offenders recidivate:

And Mary and Kevin's own guest Dr. Fox - who they made sure to inform the audience was "an expert" in his field explains that the recidivism rate is approximately 22% over 15 years. Listen:

And here Dr. Fox explains the reason why the recidivism rate is actually higher than 22%:

Radford also holds tight to his belief that Megan's Law is ineffective. He bases this on the fact that he didn't find anything that said it was, and on his misinformed belief that the very premise of the law was faulty. He believes that Megan's family KNEW about the violent rapist living on their street, and yet none of the neighbors knew. It appears he didn't do his research. Nor did he read the Minnesota study regarding the effectiveness of Megan's Law (community notification). Which said:
"community notification reduced the risk of time to rearrest by 84 percent, reconviction by 89 percent, and reincarceration by 93 percent"
In addition to proliferating their misinterpretation of David Finkelhor's Internet Predator report, just like Cheryl Griffiths - he took this
"The publicity about online “predators” who prey on naive children using trickery and violence is largely inaccurate.
Most online sex offenders are adults who target teens and seduce victims into sexual relationships. They take time to develop the trust and confidence of victims, so that the youth see these relationships as romances or sexual adventures.

The youth most vulnerable to online sex offenders have histories of sexual or physical abuse, family problems, and tendencies to take risks both on- and offline."
to mean that either internet predators don't exist or that it's somehow acceptable to exploit minors - as long as you seduce them, groom them and aren't physically violent I suppose.

Benji dazzled the sex offenders with amazing feats of distorted critical thinking and factoid production. For example he believes that the sex offender registry does nothing to protect children, he bases this primarily on two things. One being the fact that most offenders are known to their victims and Two being the myth that sex offenders don't re-offend.

However, he fails to realize that a sex offender registry was never about 'strangers'. It is the very fact that offenders ARE known to their victims which makes the registry such a valuable tool. Nobody could memorize every person on the registry to be able to know them if they saw them on the street, however, they can absolutely know NOT to bring these monsters into their home.

Radford believes that those on the registry were convicted of minor crimes - he knows this for a fact because --- people who commit bad crimes go to prison for long periods of time. Listen:

How does that compare to Michael Jacques who raped a 13 year old girl, then an 18 year old girl, negotiated a plea deal - had the first rape expunged from his record, served a miniscule sentence and convinced a judge to let him off supervision several years early because he was a "probation success story" - even though he was sexually assaulting a child at the time........and continued to for the next 5 years. Is Jacques an exception?

Or how about John Couey? Another registered sex offender who went on to kidnap a child from her bed then rape her repeatedly for days and then bury her alive. Is he an exception?

Joseph Duncan raped a 9 year old boy at gunpoint when he was only 15 years old and stated that he had committed 13 rapes by the time he was 16. He was sentenced as a juvenile and went on a few years later to do the same to other kids. This time he served 14 years of a 20 year sentence, got out and immediately molested a 6 year old boy. The judge let him out on bail. And we all know what happened then, don't we? He's responsible for the deaths of at least 7 people. Is Duncan an exception? He said he wasn't in his sex offender propaganda he wrote. The propaganda that mirrors exactly the rhetoric of the current sex offender activist groups. In fact, he wrote
The truth is that I am not an exception, I am the rule! Most sex offenders are just like me
What about Jim Freeman, the one-time leader of the largest pro-sex offender activist group on the internet. Was he an exception? Or Jon Schillaci, or Johnny Ray Lee, how about Corey Deen Saunders who raped a 6 year old in the library after a judge refused to civilly commit him? Are they exceptions?

Sex offender activists who talk out both sides of their mouth claim men like this should have never been released in the first place. They say this while demanding an end to civil confinement and long prison sentences. So how are these people exceptional to them? Because they know NOW what they were capable of? When do you think they reached that conclusion? Certainly not before they created more victims.

Sex offender coddlers frequently demand that we realize how easy it is to end up being labeled a sex offender. They say things like "It could happen to anybody". The truth is entirely different of course. You don't sexually assault someone, groom and molest a child, or join the "greatest group of pedos" by accident. It is not something that "happens to you". But we do know that people are sexually offended against every single day, those are the people that something "happened to", we can see obviously, how easy it is to be sexually assaulted or have your child abused by a freak.

"Is this a serious problem? I mean, come on, the average child is far more likely to be killed in a car accident on the freeway than to be molested by some sex offender, so put these things in perspective."
In 2007 there were 41,259 traffic fatalities - this includes adults and children.

Every 13 minutes someone dies in a car accident.

In 2007 there were 248,000 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault. (This figure DOES NOT include victims 12 years old and younger)

34% of all victims of sexual assault reported to law enforcement were under the age of 12.

Every 2 minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted.....not including children.
Now besides the obvious things wrong with his statements, I would strongly suggest that Mr. Radford is out of his league. Police Chiefs and Supreme Court Justices do not make the law, they never have and they never will as long as America's system of government continues. There are three branches of government, the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch. They function within a system of checks and balances. The primary function of the Supreme Court is not to analyze studies and reports and then make a determination of which they believe. Their function is to interpret the constitution despite what this critical thinking idiot believes. How embarrassing.

Mr Radford needs to go back to disproving Big Foot, or ghosts and ghoulies and other pretend monsters because he very successfully stuck a big foot in a very big mouth. There are over 40 millions survivors of very real monsters in America today. The monsters DO exist, survivors have lived to tell about it and we applaud their strength and courage for speaking up....despite the constant barrage of blaming, mocking and denial from such shallow thinking fools as Benjamin Radford.
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