Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina asserted that half the job applicants at the Savannah River Site, a nuclear energy facility operated by the government, had failed drug tests. This, she repeatedly asserted, justified widespread drug testing as a condition of jobless benefits.
It turns out that less than 1% of applicants at Savannah River have flunked the drug test.
Confronted with this fact, Governor Haley is angry at Dame Rumor, gossip, telephones, and the ass from whence she plucked the fact.
"I've never felt like I had to back up what people tell me. You assume that you're given good information," Haley told Jim Davenport of the Associated Press. "And now I'm learning through you guys that I have to be careful before I say something."
What kind of world is it when you can't just go around accusing 50% of aspiring nuclear workers of being druggies? What kind of world is it when you have to check facts, instead of just passively listening to what people tell you? What kind of world is it when the question is not whether a statistic or anecdote feels true, but whether it is true? President Obama should go spend $200 million a day to find out.
At least this was only a one-time gaffe, right? Because surely an important leader wouldn't repeatedly such a shocking statistic to support intrusive testing of masses of citizens without facts.
Haley told AP she'd used the anecdote "a million times" to promote drug-testing for the jobless. "It is the reason you're hearing me look into whether we can do drug testing," she said.
How bad is your job today? Not as bad as this guy's job:
A Haley spokesman told HuffPost Tuesday he'd let the governor's words speak for themselves.
And so they do.
Meanwhile, please do not let this diminish even a tiny bit your faith in the government's representations about the critical nature of the War on Drugs.