Part 1—Creating a new situation: We hated the featured editorial in today’s New York Times.
In part, we hated it because we watched Tavis Smiley pretend to talk about public schools on yesterday’s In Depth program (on C-Span). To watch the full program, click here.
In part, we hated it because we’ve come to loathe the types of pseudo-liberal elites who put such piddle in print.
We’ve been writing this site for almost seventeen years now. In recent years, we’ve come to feel that our struggling culture just isn’t going to make it.
In part, that’s due to the ongoing propaganda of the plutocrats and their agents. But in part, it’s due to the fraudulence of the lazy elites who get accepted as the liberal world’s “intellectual leaders.”
What did we hate about that Times editorial? We hated the part where the posers who wrote it referred to “the needs of black students,” a topic the Times is too lazy, and too uncaring, to explore.
We’ll discuss that passage later this week along with Smiley’s posing. But as today's editorial started, bad faith was lurking in the wings, just waiting to appear.
The Times discussed “voting rights in Ferguson.” Hard-copy headline included:
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (1/5/15): Race and Voting Rights in FergusonHave “systemic obstacles...kept black residents from holding positions of political power” in Ferguson?
For most people, Ferguson, Mo., will be remembered for one awful August afternoon, when a white police officer there shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown.
But that incident was only a snapshot in the town’s long and complicated racial history—a history characterized by entrenched segregation and economic inequality, as well as by familiar and systemic obstacles that have kept black residents from holding positions of political power.
In theory, that’s certainly possible! But alas! As the Times proceeded, it quickly offered a silly though pleasing con:
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (continuing directly): Ferguson’s population is two-thirds African-American, and yet its mayor, city manager and five of its six City Council members are white. So are its police chief and all but three officers on its 53-member police force.If Ferguson is two-thirds black, why is its mayor white? Why is only one council member black? Why do Ferguson’s voters keep electing white officials?
As far as we know, the answer has nothing to do with “systemic obstacles” to participation in the political process; more on that later this week. But as the Times continued, the paper conflated this state of affairs with a different situation.
In the passage which follows, the Times is talking about school board elections for the Ferguson-Florissant School District, a large district which extends well beyond Ferguson’s boundaries. The situation described in this passage has nothing to with the fact that Ferguson voters keep electing white mayors:
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (continuing directly): The school board for the Ferguson-Florissant School District is much the same: More than three-quarters of the district’s 12,000 students are black, but the seven-member board includes only one African-American.According to the Times:
Last month the American Civil Liberties Union sued the school board under the Voting Rights Act, arguing that the way its members are elected blocks minority voters from fully participating in the political process.
The method is known as “at large” voting, and lets voters cast ballots for all candidates in the district, regardless of where the voters live. Since the district’s voting-age population is 50 percent white and 47 percent black, and since both groups there tend to vote along strict racial lines, the white voters’ candidates almost always win.
In the sprawling Ferguson-Florissant School District, “the voting-age population is 50 percent white and 47 percent black.” According to the Times, white candidates almost always win school board elections because of this narrow, three-point difference in population.
On its face, that explanation sounds highly suspect. And alas! Even at this early point, conservative voters who read this editorial almost surely knew or suspected something quite basic:
Conservative readers knew or suspected that the New York Times editorial board had its thumb on the scale as it described the electoral situation (1) in Ferguson itself and (2) in the larger Ferguson-Florissant School District. Every conservative knew or suspected that the editorial board was playing fast and loose with some basic facts.
Here at THE HOWLER, we think the board actually was playing fast and loose with the facts. This creates an increasingly common situation—a situation which rarely obtained in 1998, when we started this site:
Alas! Given the way our pseudo-liberal “intellectual leaders” routinely function today, conservatives often know more than we liberals do about the basic facts of various matters!This situation rarely obtained in 1998; today, it’s increasingly common. And as we the liberals proceed this way, we help insure that our struggling culture just isn’t likely to make it.
Increasingly, we “liberals” are part of the problem now too! To us, it seems that we’re a larger part of the problem with each passing day.
Tomorrow: Concerning that law suit against the school district
Once again, the basic text: To peruse the whole editorial, just click here. Tomorrow, we’ll return to that text.
We think the Times is playing fast and loose with some basic facts in that rather deceptive piece.
At one time, this sort of thing mainly came from the right. Today, our side is doing it too! Increasingly, our own lazy, uncaring “intellectual leaders” are part of the problem too.