Postscript: Our tribe can get misled too!

MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

One last trip to the well: Chris Mooney has written a tragic piece about the way voters get misled. (See our previous post.)

Mooney’s piece deals with conservative voters. But it’s important to stay clear on one point—we liberals can get misled too!

To illustrate the way this can work, let’s make one last trip to the well of the male-female wage gap. Last Thursday, Kevin Drum did a brief post about our remarks-to-date on the subject. Were his remarks perhaps made in haste? This was his opening framework:
DRUM (5/3/12): Are women paid less than men? You betcha. Are they paid 77 cents for every dollar that men make? That's more contested, and Bob Somerby is pretty scathing about Rachel Maddow's insistence on sticking with that number even when her own guests tell her it's not quite right.
In fact, women are paid 77 cents for every dollar men make, according to the Census Bureau. The only question is why.

But good grief! Did Maddow’s guests tell her that the 77 percent figure is “not quite right?” Maddow had only one guest—and that guest said that figure was grossly wrong, though she seemed to try to correct her exalted host without letting you know she had done it.

Maddow had persistently suggested that women are paid 23 percent less “for the same work.” The expert guest said the figure was more like four or five percent, based on a GAO study. Maddow had been grossly wrong in her presentation.

Errors do happen; folks do get things wrong. But in our view, Maddow seemed to work hard last Monday night to avoid letting viewers know that she had been mistaken. (This is typical conduct from Maddow, no matter how many times she says different.) And sure enough! This was the very first comment to Drum’s post:
COMMENTER (5/3/12): Somerby just has a problem with Rachel, and his argument is dishonest. She did not say that the pay gap was entirely due to discrimination. She did say that what the data shows, that if you control for occupation and status in that occupation, women make on average 77 cents on the dollar what men make. Her expert guest said Maddow had the best part of that argument, then got into the weeds on how much of the difference can be statistically ascribed to discrimination, based on that one GAO study.
We’re not quite sure what this person is saying; in the highlighted remarks, he seems to self-contradict. But in fact, Maddow did say, on Meet the Press, that women get paid 77 cents on the dollar “for equal work” or “for the same work.” The following night, she staged a long monologue on the topic without ever noting that this claim had been grossly mistaken.

(To our ear, she kept reinforcing the 77 cents on the dollar claim. But she certainly made no attempt to correct it.)

On Monday night, Maddow’s expert guest did say that Maddow had “the better part of the argument.” As we noted, this was a strange thing to say, since this guest went on to say that women are actually underpaid by perhaps 4.6 cents on the dollar, not by the 23 cents Maddow mistakenly claimed.

That was a very large error. But this expert guest corrected Maddow in a muddled, weed-laden way. We’ll guess that very few viewers understood what she said—that Maddow’s original claim had been massively overstated.

At any rate, here is the commenter’s account after all the gorilla dust has settled: According to the commenter, Maddow said “what the data show, that if you control for occupation and status in that occupation, women make on average 77 cents on the dollar what men make.” But that is not what the data show. The data show that women make 77 cents on the dollar before you “control for occupation and status in that occupation” (and for other variables). After you control for such factors, women make 95-96 cents on the dollar, according to the expert guest’s admittedly muddled account.

This is the shape of true belief. The commenter is sure that his tribal leader simply has to be right. Indeed, it was “dishonest” to say different. And he still seemed to believe what his leader had said. He still seemed to believe the very thing which was inaccurate.

We’re not quite sure what the commenter thinks, but we can assure you of this: After watching Maddow on Meet the Press and on her own program, many liberals emerged with the idea that women are underpaid “for the same work” by 23 cents on the dollar.

No expert makes any such claim—but many liberals believe it today. They believe it because the heard it from their exalted leader.

As we’ve said, people make mistakes. Initially, we were drawn to this incident because of the liberal reaction (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/1/12). Digby, Walsh and Benen leaped into action, failing to tell you that Maddow had been grossly mistaken. In this way, they assisted in the process of selling us liberals “bad science."

Conservatives have been misled in similar ways for decades now. In his report about North Carolina, Mooney describes the latest such episode. But alas! After years of sleeping in the woods, we “liberals” are aping the other tribe now.

As we review Mooney’s piece this week, it’s important to recall a key fact: We liberals can get misled too! It’s happening more all the time.

50 comments:

  1. While four to five percent of the wage gap may be attributable to pure discrimination, let's not pretend that the fact that women take on more of the unpaid childrearing and caretaking work in our society is a neutral factor. This rebounds to men's benefit as well, allowing them to get that much farther ahead in economic terms.

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    1. I think you mean redounds.

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    2. NBA playoffs.

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  2. And if Bob had bothered to do even rudimentary research, he would have discovered that the 4-5% disparity attributed to gender discrimination is for the first year. After 10 years, at least some reputable studies report the gap at 10-12%. This, for example, from that obscure, expensive and difficult to find site, wikipedia:

    "Using data from longitudinal studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, researchers Judy Goldberg Dey and Catherine Hill analyzed some 9,000 college graduates from 1992–93 and more than 10,000 from 1999-2000. The researchers controlled for workplace flexibility, ability to telecommute, as well as other several variables including occupation, industry, hours worked per week, whether employee worked multiple jobs, months at employer, and several education-related and "demographic and personal" factors, such as "marital status," "has children," and "volunteered in past year.” The study found that wage inequities start early and worsen over time. "The portion of the pay gap that remains unexplained after all other factors are taken into account is 5 percent one year after graduation and 12 percent 10 years after graduation. These unexplained gaps are evidence of discrimination, which remains a serious problem for women in the work force.”[25][26][27]

    "Economists Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn took a set of human capital variables such as education, labor market experience, and race into account and additionally controlled for occupation, industry, and unionism. While the gender wage gap was considerably smaller when all variables were taken into account, a substantial portion of the pay gap (12%) remained unexplained.[28]"

    As for Bob's larger generalization, the one he lives for ("After years of sleeping in the woods, we “liberals” are aping the other tribe now"), why not just concede that not everyone lives to correct talk-show hosts, that allegiances necessarily have to be broad and imprecise, that all errors are not equal and equivalent, and that there's a fundamental difference between mistakenly believing that wage gender discrimination is 23% when it's more like 12%, than (for example) believing that removing environmental regulations will make everyone healthier, happier and richer, that global warming is a left-wing hoax, that reduced taxes means increased revenue, or that life started started in the Garden of Eden 6000 years ago.

    If Bob is unwilling incapable of seeing the difference, he's just too good for this fallen world of ours, and had best retire to the moon, where he can instruct the craters on proper standards of discourse.

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    1. "These unexplained gaps are evidence of discrimination, which remains a serious problem for women in the work force.”[25][26][27]"

      Well, no. It's not "evidence of discrimination," it's potentially evidence of discrimination. There may be other factors yet to be discovered.

      However, even if one takes your evidence at face value we have a number that is almost half the magnitude of that routinely and inaccurately claimed by feminists.

      Feminists have made a huge number of wild, grossly inaccurate claims over the years, which I've cited before, such as their one-time belief in an an international Satanic conspiracy in which women were supposedly leading double lives as priestesses in Satanic cults that they were utterly unaware of thanks to a BS mental disease called Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). And of course we all remember what spectacular a-holes they made of themselves during the Duke lacrosse case. There's plenty more where that came from.

      Remember the story of the boy who cried wolf? Feminists keep claiming victimization that either doesn't exist to anything like the degree advertized or doesn't exist at all. And yet, it's always somebody's else fault that they're regarded as jerks.

      And feminists and their apologists completely refuse to honestly acknowledge the problem.

      PS: While pissing and moaning about that 12-cent gap, please keep in mind that men get killed on the job over 11 times more often than women.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupational_fatality

      (See last paragraph on under the heading "Risk Factors.")

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    2. Glad to hear, Braintree, of your particular concern for the truthfulness of "feminists" -- if not for women in general. Because, evidently, white male Republicans (or, for that matter, white male Democrats), are invariably truthful and reliable sources of information.

      And sure -- they may always be "unexplained factors" other than discrimination for why women earn less than men, after you've excluded everything else under the sun. I'd say myself it's because women are plain dumb. Or maybe because they whine a lot.

      And I'm sure women will delight in earning several hundred dollars less in the course their careers than their male counterparts in an equally harmless job, if she only refers to statistics on the danger of being a commercial fisherman.

      What's of more immediate interest, however, is what's persuaded you that American society is so fundamentally fair that wage discrimination is so very improbable? You really believe a country with the wealth disparities we have here is organized on principles of fairness?

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    3. Sorry, that third paragraph should read

      "And I'm sure women will delight in earning several hundred THOUSAND dollars less in the course their careers than their male counterparts in equally harmless jobs, if only they refer to statistics on the danger of being a commercial fisherman."

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  3. Bob is 100% right. If liberal personalities representing "our side" continue to insist on the 77% number for equal work, it will only lead to a field day of opportunities for the "other side" to blast the left for pushing this easily-disproven myth. As always, the worst thing you can do to make your case is to overstate it. Get the simple facts right and you won't get your pants pulled down in front of the most-coveted "undecided" demographic.

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    1. Except that

      1) Bob's sole apparent interest is in proving Maddow wrong, not arriving at the actual facts of the matter, as evidenced by his complete lack of due diligence in the matter, and

      2) it's hard to believe that "the worst thing you can do to make your case is to overstate it", when the only way politicians get elected in the U.S. is by lying.

      Or do you think the success of Republicans is thanks to the fact that they only the truth?

      Or you're happy enough that Republicans lie and prevaricate to in elections, but we liberals are just too virtuous to do so, as evidenced by the succesess of Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis, both of whom insisted it was far better to lose, than deceive the public? They were right about one thing, anyway: losing.

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    2. If the idea is to use intellectual dishonesty as a tactic to sway voters, that's fine and oftentimes effective. Just don't use it on a subject where you can be so transparently called out on it. Republicans can plan a lot of seeds of disingenuity in the minds of the general public without reprisal, but when they stray to the level of claiming "death panels" it generally backfires. Same thing here.

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    3. The question (or at least one question) is whether the left is well served by Maddow when she gets her a$$ handed to her the way she did on Meet the Press. From watching the clip, it clear to me that Maddow wasn't trying to effectively explain a complicated subject. She hadn't done her homework and was force to resort to frantic hand waving when confronted with the most predictable challenge to her claims. And she's getting paid the big bucks?

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    4. Nobody's arguing that Maddow is a skilled left-wing propagandist (or left-wing, for that matter). She is, after all, the employee of GE and Comcast -- something Bob claims to know, but routinely omits from his "analysis".

      And nobody said "the left" is well-served by Rachel Maddow (did "the Left" elect her"?). She's employed by MSNBC because she has sufficient appeal for the few hundred thousand liberal-leaning Americans who have nothing better to do than watch cable TV. She's not meant to be s threat to existing power relations, and would disappear instantly if she were.

      The larger question, however, is whether "liberals" like Al Gore and Bill Clinton in the past, and like Hillary Clinton and Bob Kerry today, would do well to lie and deceive. But of course, they *do* lie and deceive, about everything. It's just that Bob is too ignorant, partisan and uninformed to know it.

      Some areas, you see, are off-limits for The Howler.

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    5. She is, after all, the employee of GE and Comcast -- something Bob claims to know, but routinely omits from his "analysis".

      Actually, I think Bob proceeds from the initial premise that Maddow is supposed to be above all that, as she is routinely lionized by various lefty luminaries for being one of the few credible "liberal" voices in national media. If she were just another ignorant blustering weathervane like Chris Matthews, out for the main chance, and prominent "liberal" media personalities didn't constantly cite her as the anti-Hannity, I don't think she'd be as big a target for Bob's criticism.

      And nobody said "the left" is well-served by Rachel Maddow (did "the Left" elect her"?).

      Yes, they have, and it did. If you don't know that, you haven't been paying attention.

      It's just that Bob is too ignorant, partisan and uninformed to know it.

      As opposed to yourself, naturally.

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  4. Bob's research was to do a calculation on a misunderstanding of a GAO report's finding. He didn't bother to look at the report itself. He also relied on the opinion of somebody he called an expert on these topics - who nobody else, even the 'expert' in question, calls an expert. (It turns out, she has no backgroud in economics or statistics but she is listed on the (conservative) Manhattan Institute webpage as a an expert on the culture wars.) But, she was somebody that Bob saw on TV and she agreed with him so it's all good.

    Since he won't correct his errors, Bob has helped, unintentionally I believe, to further what is very likely to become another zombie lie: the pay gap is really small and so pay equity is no big deal. I know Bob doesn't aggree with this conclusion. But, since the truth, as the discussion by the commenter above shows, is complicated and difficult, it doesn't stand a chance against Bob's soundbite - the gap is only 5 percent. The zombie lie will shuffle on, hurting people who don't deserve to be hurt.

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    1. He didn't bother to look at the report itself.

      Did you? What were your findings?

      Since he won't correct his errors

      What errors?

      Bob has helped, unintentionally I believe

      So generous of you...

      to further what is very likely to become another zombie lie: the pay gap is really small

      On a percentage basis, it apparently is.

      and so pay equity is no big deal.

      Clearly it is, but just throwing out big scary numbers based on misunderstood and/or misleadingly presented data isn't the way to argue that. Unless you're a Republican; and supposedly that's what we're fighting against.

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    2. The report can be found at www.gao.gov. Type in GAO-04-35 and read it. On page 2, you will find: "When we account for differences between male and female workpatterns as well as other key factors, women earned, on average, 80 percent of what men earned in 2000." That leaves a 20% gap rather than Bob's 4.6%

      The other errors are mentioned below and in the comment thread from Bob's last post on this topic.

      The gap is apparently small because Bob says it's apparently small. The only respected source he quoted for his view is the GAO report that he appears never to have read. And which doesnt say what he claims it said.

      My point is that misinformation is harmful whether it comes from Somerby or Maddow.

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    3. The gap is apparently small because Bob says it's apparently small.

      But that's not what he says. Look at what he did say again:

      According to the commenter [on Drum's blog], Maddow said “what the data show, that if you control for occupation and status in that occupation, women make on average 77 cents on the dollar what men make.” But that is not what the data show. The data show that women make 77 cents on the dollar before you “control for occupation and status in that occupation” (and for other variables). After you control for such factors, women make 95-96 cents on the dollar, according to the expert guest’s admittedly muddled account.
      [end quote]

      So your problem is really with Maddow's guest or with Drum's commenter; whether or not Bob read the GAO report is not really germane. Bob is just passing along what was said, and then makes his major point:

      This is the shape of true belief. The commenter is sure that his tribal leader simply has to be right. Indeed, it was “dishonest” to say different. And he still seemed to believe what his leader had said. He still seemed to believe the very thing which was inaccurate.
      [end quote]

      He's not trying to spread misinformation, he's pointing it out; and he's not commenting on whether one or the other figure is correct, he's pointing out how such misinformation gets spread throughout the nation by our side as much as theirs, when our media stars don't do their homework. And when those media stars are looked to as leaders and referenced as authorities, the damage is compounded: because now not only do you have to dispute the information, you have to sully the reputations of those leaders and authorities to do so. It just makes it harder to convince people of the truth.

      Yes, misinformation is harmful regardless of the source. I'm sure Bob doesn't begrudge being fact-checked himself.

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    4. But he's still passing it along even now when he knows (or should know) that it's incorrect. He doesn't need to use this number to make his points against Maddow. Why does he keep doing it? This infuriates me - well, at least a little - and I can't figure why it doesn't seem to bother you at all.

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  5. The gender pay gap for equal status and equal work is obviously not as wide as 77 cents on the dollar. Regular folk know this from their own life experiences. Whether or not the actual gap is difficult to calculate doesn't matter. If the US Census says the pay gap is 77 cents before you control for occupation and status, one would sound like a blithering idiot to insist that this number is, in fact, controlled for occupation and status.

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    1. I don't give a damn who is the bigger blithering idiot - Somerby or Maddow. I would like both of them to stop spreading misinformation.

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    2. Maddow didn't even get to complete her first sentence containing the 77 cents reference before she was interrupted. Later did she barely had the chance, only with Gregory's intervention, to get in even a single paragraph. At no time I can find, including in her so-called "doubling down" session on MSNBC, did she claim that was the figure for equal work, nor did she imply that. She did claim pay for women in the same professions was generally "lower," and the study she was relying on says exactly that.

      This is an extraordinarily dishonest discussion when you actually look at the transcripts. Her guest on her show did not say the difference is 4.6%, only that you can get there if you try to factor in every conceivable qualification. This is what happens when the conclusion is pre-determined, as this post was. There's plenty real to be critical of Maddow and other liberals for, especially if the extraordinary personal vitriol is eschewed. But manufacturing it like this to fit a personal script is unseemly.

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    3. Her guest on her show did not say the difference is 4.6%, only that you can get there if you try to factor in every conceivable qualification.

      Which, since the context of the discussion was the perception of gender discrimination as the cause of unequal pay, was pretty much the point of eliminating "every conceivable qualification" that wasn't explicitly gender discrimination.

      This is an extraordinarily dishonest discussion

      ...and just leave it at that, because that nicely sums up pretty much everything in our political discourse; here and everywhere.

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  6. Reading a lot of these comments is like jumping through Alice's Looking Glass. Why is it Bob's fault that Rachel Maddow doesn't know what she is talking about, and even her own expert (who she invited to be on her show) contradicts her assertions? Why do people here have to strain so hard to defend her, making arguments that "prove her right," arguments that are irrelevant to what she claimed on TV. Why her defenders ask a real question, like why can't we expect better of our liberal commentators who have prominent positions in the media?

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    1. "Why her defenders ask a real question, like why can't we expect better of our liberal commentators who have prominent positions in the media?"

      Maybe because corporate America won't hire "liberal commentators" who successfully promote liberal interests and challenge corporate prerogatives?

      And I don't see much of a defense of Maddow her. Just commentators calling Bob out on his tribal allegiances -- of being as sloppy and partisan as Maddow herself, in obliviously pushing his favored narrative.

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    2. As for Bob's larger generalization, the one he lives for ("After years of sleeping in the woods, we “liberals” are aping the other tribe now"), why not just concede that not everyone lives to correct talk-show hosts, that allegiances necessarily have to be broad and imprecise, that all errors are not equal and equivalent, and that there's a fundamental difference between mistakenly believing that wage gender discrimination is 23% when it's more like 12%, than (for example) believing that removing environmental regulations will make everyone healthier, happier and richer, that global warming is a left-wing hoax, that reduced taxes means increased revenue, or that life started started in the Garden of Eden 6000 years ago.

      If Bob is unwilling incapable of seeing the difference, he's just too good for this fallen world of ours, and had best retire to the moon, where he can instruct the craters on proper standards of discourse.


      What is this bullshit? Rachel Maddow's off by like 50% (and that's being generous) in her facts, and Bob's pointing that out makes him some enabler for right-wingers? How is that even logical? Maybe Bob's wrong about the difference due to gender discrimination only being 4-5 cents on the dollar, but at least he presented evidence to back that up, what did Maddow offer other than her repeated insistence? When Rachel makes mistakes, it's okay because she's on "our team," but when someone on "their" team makes Howlers, it's okay to swing away. Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations...

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    3. Bob's chief authority for his "4-5 cents" is a GAO report that just doesn't say anything like that. You can look it up. Go to the GAO webpage (www.gao.gov) and type GAO-04-35 in the search window and read what it says: "When we account for differences between male and female workpatterns as well as other key factors, women earned, on average,80 percent of what men earned in 2000." (p.2)

      That would make Bob off by 75% based on the report that he uses as his major evidence - his second basic-nobody-can-contradict fact in an earlier post. But Bob gets it all wrong because he never looked at the report. Instead, he relied on what an expert on Rachel Maddow's show said about the report - a first for Bob I would guess.

      So, who's a bigger idiot. I don't care. You bobbots and rachelbots can go on cracking heads till the end of time for all I care. But you cannot be permitted to injure other people as Bob did in this case. I know he didn't mean to but his work was shoddy in a way that he would be first to criticize in someone else.

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    6. I don't think Bob ever claimed that his facts were incontrovertible, just that Maddow's number came from nowhere (remember, the number Bob used came from the expert that Maddow invited on her own show). In the post that Kevin Drum did above, the IWPR claims the gap is around 80% of wages earned, but it doesn't say how much is due to discrimination. Maybe Bob should have checked the GAO report, but then again he's just a comedian, not a prominent liberal journalist on a major cable network...

      I'm no "bobbot," I disagree with Bob a lot of the time. But at least he TRIES to figure out what's going on, and has a sliver of fairness in him, unlike others.

      Also, why not go by your name when you post? I do.

      One of these days, I'll get the grammar right...

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    7. What's frustrating about this situation is that Bob keeps saying things like this:

      "On Monday night, Maddow’s expert guest did say that Maddow had “the better part of the argument.” This was a strange thing to say, since this guest went on to say that women are actually underpaid by perhaps 4.6 cents on the dollar, not by the 23 cents Maddow mistakenly claimed. That was a very large error."

      Of course, Maddow's guest never said anything about '4.6 cents' - that's Bob's calculation based on what he thought she meant when she talked about a 20% reduction in the gap. And Maddow's guest was indeed very bad on this point. But I think that it's reasonable to assume, based on what we know the GAO report says and that the guest said that she'd read the report, that she simply misspoke. She garbled what she wanted to say. This would help explain her, as Bob says, "strange thing to say" when she said Maddow got the better of the argument.

      You are right that Bob is usually fair. But in this case, not so much - not to this person anyway

      He also shows no sign that he has found time to read the GAO report. A sign would be a correction posted on his blog, so that the 4.6% nonsense would go away. Instead, he's putting that number into the mouth of Maddow's hapless guest.

      I have been a long time fan of Bob. That's why I find his work in this series of posts so shocking.

      I don't have a name yet - I'll think of something

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    8. One would hope that "experts" would know what they are talking about. Yes, Bob should have looked at the GAO report, but sometimes you should be able to rely on putative "experts." Also, I wonder why the IWPR report is so different. I'm sure Bob will fix it tomorrow, but we'll have to see.

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    9. Also, why not go by your name when you post? I do.

      Your name is hardindr? What is that, Indian, like Mohinder?

      I'll quit being Anonymous when everyone else does. Until that happens there's really no point.

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    10. Nope! It is an amalgam of my real name, and my chosen nom de internet. If you google it, I'm sure you can figure out who I am.

      Many people think it is Indian though...

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    11. Rachel Maddow is relying on putative experts too. But Bob thinks that's not good enough, because there are other experts who disagree with her, ergo, she's irredeemably wrong, no backsies, infinity, neener neener.

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    12. If Bob had just said that Maddow had made a huge error when she said that the 23% controlled for other factors and that experts disagreed about the real gap, I'd have no problem. Instead, he started doing his own arithmetic and passing it off as the findings of a government agency. He must know he was wrong by now. His original mistake was innocent but the longer he keeps pushing the misinformation, and now (unless he has access to videos I don't) actually lying about what Maddow's guest said - well, the less innocent it looks.

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  7. A lot of people would say that part of the reason why more women don't get to have comparable experience and reponsibility is... discrimination. If Bob wants to conduct a real discussion about the pay gap between men and women and the components that explain it, bully for him. But he seems much more interested in Rachel Maddow's apparent wrongness, to the point where he seizes upon the work of partisan analysts with a vested interest in minimizing the effects of discrimination. Bob's "tribe" is whichever view makes Maddow look worst.

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    1. The point of this post is not to conduct a policy discussion about the pay gap. It is to point out yet one more instance of our highly-paid, supposedly liberal media stars screwing up on national television in ways that can or will hurt liberal causes. Bob's primary focus is media criticism, not policy, though he does sometimes get into that on certain topics. It's not about making Maddow look bad, she doesn't need any help there; it's about holding her accountable for her misstatements.

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    2. Maddow probably, like Amanda Marcotte and others, wants to include as signs of persistent, implicit discrimination more of the factors Bob's favored experts considers to be something else.

      For instance, if women don't get a chance to acquire the same experience men do, and are accordingly paid less because of it, is that a kind of discrimination, or is it fair? A lot of people, including a lot of feminists, would say that discrimination is driving the conditions that crop up in the studies under labels like "experience," "responsibility," and such. If women aren't having a chance to develop comparable resumes in the first place, that's already a form of discrimination, one that's baked into the cake long before the other, more overt kind whereby a woman and a man with exactly equivalent resumes, doing exactly equivalent jobs for the exact amount of time, get paid differently.

      That's not "screwing up." That's telling a different story. And Bob, like Glenn Greenwald, seems to have gotten to a mental place in which telling a different story can only mean not telling the _real_ story (i.e., the one he wants to tell and no other), which means actively abetting intolerable acts.

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    3. You seem unable to grasp that in this post Bob isn't arguing whether there is wage discrimination or not and how severe it is. So whatever Amanda Marcotte thinks about that issue is kind of irrelevant.

      If you want to argue policy, find a post on policy.

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    4. It's inherent to the question of whether Rachel Maddow is wrong. The reason why he's sure she's wrong is that other experts (whose views Bob likes better) have isolated the factor due to "discrimination" as a number much less than 23%. That's Bob's entire case: in his view, Rachel Maddow recites crowd-pleasing cant because she's too lazy or stupid to come up with the figure Bob thinks is correct.

      What I'm trying to point out is that it's really not a matter of what's accurate or inaccurate but a much more complex debate over the nature of antifeminist discrimination.

      But Bob has no time for that and instead acts like Maddow was pulling numbers out of her ass like Jon Kyl on how much of Planned Parenthood's business is abortions.

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  8. Amanda Marcotte's take on the larger question: http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/its-all-discrimination

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  9. Shorter Comments Section:

    Yesterday, I said that claiming Maddow was wrong on the pay gap is like claiming the world is flat.


    Today I say Bob should just shut up and let "the left" lie or be wrong.

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  10. Cannot be permitted (without protest) to injure other people, I should have said. You folks can't be stopped - that much is certain

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    1. Feel the Howlermentum! Today the Internets, tomorrow...who knows?

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    2. Bobbots in Space! Saving the Human Race!

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  11. Can I also say how peculiar it is that Bob wants to engage commenters on Kevin Drum's blog but has shown zero interest in engaging with commenters on his own blog? Some of whom raise the same points Drum's commenters do? Why go out of your way to ignore the people who bother to show up _here_?

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    1. It's his blog and his choice. And would you really want to engage David-in-CA on a regular basis?

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    2. It's a strange la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you attitude to take towards your own commenters. If that's his decision, why have comments here at all?

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  12. I can't believe so many people don't get it!

    Yes! The GAO says "When we account for differences between male and female work patterns as well as other key factors, women earned, on average, 80 percent of what men earned in 2000."

    THAT DOESN'T MEAN THEY THINK THERE'S A 20% "DISCRIMINATION" FACTOR.

    "Account for differences between male and female work patterns as well as other key factors" IS NOT the same thing as an outcome that compares women's and men's pay "for the same work." NOT EVEN CLOSE!

    Maddow is so insanely wrong it's not funny!

    You have to misunderstand the studies (which many of you are quite willing to do, apparently) in order to think her claims have been even remotely defensible.

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