CRUCIFYING KRISTOF: Kristof doesn't seem all that smart!

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2015

Part 3—Nor very sympathetic:
Kids who live two miles apart may be living in different worlds.

Consider two kids who grew up in tiny Yamhill, Oregon in the 1970s. They were teammates on the Yamhill Carlton High School cross country team.

One of those kids was Nicholas Kristof; the other was the late Kevin Green. In a recent New York Times column, Kristof sketched one face of relative childhood advantage:
KRISTOF (1/25/15): Let me tell you about Kevin Green. He grew up on a small farm a couple of miles from my family’s, and we both attended the same small rural high school in Yamhill, Ore. We both ran cross country, took welding and agriculture classes and joined Future Farmers of America. After cross country practice, I’d drive him home to his family farm, with its milk cows, hogs and chickens.

The Greens encapsulated if not the American dream, at least solid upward mobility. The dad, Thomas, had only a third-grade education and couldn’t read.
Kristof’s parents were professors at Portland State. Green’s father couldn’t read.

That doesn’t mean that Green’s father wasn’t a loving parent. But the runner whose parents were both professors went on to Harvard and then to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.

The runner whose father couldn’t read graduated from high school. But he went no farther than that in school and was saddled with a series of low-income jobs.

(Kristof’s late father, Ladis Kristof, was a great deal more than your average professor. In this memorable column in 2010, Kristof told the story of his father’s astonishing life. For a standard obituary, just click here.)

According to Kristof’s recent column, Kevin Green’s adult life spiraled downhill to his premature death. In his own adult life, Kristof went on to Harvard and Oxford, from there to journalistic fame.

That said, we’re sometimes struck by the lack of smarts the professors’ kid demonstrates in his columns.

One such column was his tribute column to Green. In this column, Kristof demonizes “lots of Americans” in ways we think are both unwise and unfair.

More than that, we think Kristof’s basic analysis wasn’t especially smart. But the demonization he performed was very typical of the current drift among us on the pseudo-left. Indeed, it’s an impulse which led to the recent crucifixion of Kristof himself!

Why do we say that Kristof’s analysis wasn’t real smart in that column? Alas! His demonization of “lots of Americans” was based upon a single response in a recent survey:
KRISTOF: Lots of Americans would have seen Kevin—obese with a huge gray beard, surviving on disability and food stamps—as a moocher. They would have been harshly judgmental: Why don’t you look after your health? Why did you father two kids outside of marriage?

That acerbic condescension reflects one of this country’s fundamental problems: an empathy gap. It reflects the delusion on the part of many affluent Americans that those like Kevin are lazy or living cushy lives. A poll released this month by the Pew Research Center found that wealthy Americans mostly agree that “poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return.”
According to the professors’ kid, “lots of Americans” would have been “harshly judgmental” about his high school friend.

They would have voiced an “acerbic condescension.” This would have reflected one of our country’s fundamental problems: their “empathy gap.”

In fact, no one had said a word about Green, who wasn’t a public figure. How the [Y]am Hill did Kristof know what millions of harshly judgmental Americans would have said?

Alas! He based his analysis on the latest survey from Pew, the place where American “experts” go to prove they may not be all that sharp.

Kristof is angry about that survey, in which “wealthy Americans mostly agree that ‘poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return.’ ”

For ourselves, we don’t think that “poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return.”

On the whole, we don’t think that poor people have it easy at all! For ourselves, we wouldn’t agree with that statement.

That said, newspaper readers don’t have it easy either. In part, that’s due to the lack of smarts of professors’ kids and the rest of our upper-end experts.

Let’s look at the way that Pew survey question worked. As we do, let’s note that a large number of people living in poverty also agreed with the statement quoted by Kristof.

Kristof provided a link to the survey. Flawlessly, we clicked the link, strongly suspecting what we were destined to find.

Sure enough! No one volunteered the thought that “poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return.”

In a rather typical survey question, respondents were asked to choose one of two rather ham-handed statements, neither of which we ourselves would affirm:
The Pew survey's two possible statements:
STATEMENT A: Poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return.

STATEMENT B: Poor people have hard lives because government benefits don’t go far enough to help them live decently.
We wouldn’t affirm either statement. Here’s why:

In our view, Statement A is obviously false. As a general matter, we don’t think that “poor people today have it easy” at all.

That said, we also wouldn’t affirm Statement B. If we were given this survey question, we would refuse to affirm either statement.

What’s wrong with Statement B? In the most obvious sense, poor people would of course have easier lives if government benefits were larger. Indeed, poor people wouldn’t even be poor any more if those benefits were sufficiently large.

Still, the statement rather plainly suggests that government benefits ought to be larger. In some areas, we might agree with such an assessment. But as a general matter, we wouldn’t affirm a (somewhat loaded) statement of that type, even when given the chance by a gang of Pew eggheads.

Banging the drum for his own moral greatness, Kristof reports that “wealthy Americans mostly agree” with Statement A.

Technically, that statement is accurate. According to Pew, 54 percent of respondents in the upper 20 percent by income chose Statement A rather than Statement B when given that choice of two statements.

On the basis of that choice, Kristof tells us what “lots of Americans” would have called his high school friend a moocher. He tells us that these “affluent Americans” are “harshly judgmental.” They suffer an “empathy gap.”

The “acerbic condescension” of these very bad people “reflects one of this country’s fundamental problems,” Kristof says.

Here’s what Kristof didn’t report in his column. According to Pew, 29 percent of people who live below the federal poverty line also agreed with Statement A!

That’s less than 54 percent. But it’s a whole lot of people.

Why did 29 percent of poverty-level people agree with Statement A? We can’t tell you that.

(In part, it’s because many people don’t like to say “neither” when a gang of experts from Pew give them two statements to choose from.)

Do some people suffer a shortage of empathy? Presumably yes. Some people also suffer a shortage of smarts.

Sometimes, we think that Kristof might suffer both shortfalls. Let’s start with the possible shortage of empathy he put on display in that column, a column we think was deeply peculiar:

Good God! In his column, Kristof seems to describe a pair of obvious victims. But he shows little sympathy for their plight.

We refer to Kevin Green’s children.

According to Kristof, his high school friend fell far behind in his court-ordered child support payments. He fell so far behind that he had his driver’s license revoked.

Kristof is willing to note the Catch-22 involved in this matter. The revocation of the license made it that much harder for his former friend to seek work.

That said, he largely skips past the failure to pay which led to the revocation. When Green’s brother suggests that Green could have looked harder for work, he skips past that statement too.

Does Nicholas Kristof have “empathy” for Kevin Green’s two children? According to Kristof, they saw their father fail to pay court-ordered child support. Beyond that, their father may have skimped a bit in the search for work.

Result? According to Kristof, Kevin Green’s children aren’t on their way to Harvard and then to Oxford. This is Kristof’s report about two kids for whom he seems to feel amazingly little sympathy or empathy or whatever you want to call it:
KRISTOF: [D]octors told Kevin a few weeks ago that his heart, liver and kidneys were failing, and that he was dying. He had trouble walking. He was in pain.

He was also worried about his twin boys. They had trouble in school and with the law, jailed for drug and other offenses.
That is a terribly tragic story. But the child of the two professors doesn’t seem to have much sympathy for the children of the guy who didn’t pay child support.

According to Kristof, Green was worried about his kids as he neared death. Reading his deeply peculiar column, it seems to us that Kristof doesn’t match that.

What was Kevin Green really like? We have no idea! Beyond that, we see no sign that Kristof actually knows.

We don’t think it makes any sense to go around judging people we don’t even know. We wouldn’t pass judgment on the late Kevin Green. We wouldn’t tell others to do so.

That said, Kristof tells a terrible story in that column, but he seems unable to see this. Is his own empathy meter low? If we wanted to judge people’s souls in the blithe way Kristof does, we would shout a loud yes.

Kristof’s column strikes us as extremely peculiar. He seems amazingly blind to the shape of the story he tells.

That said, his column fits a pattern which is increasingly loved by us on the pseudo-left. We simply love to trash The Others for their very bad morals.

In this column, Kristof’s morals seem imperfect to us. Beyond that, his intelligence seems very low. This is why we say that:

Surveys questions like Pew’s always strike us as a rather low-IQ affair. That said, if you’re going to report the way rich people respond to some such question, you need to say that quite a few people living in poverty gave the morally bad answer too.

Kristof isn’t always especially smart. In our view, he wasn’t obsessively honest when he failed to say that a whole lot of poor people affirmed Statement A, just like the rich people did.

Mainly, though, he thundered hard against the morals of All Those Very Bad People. Increasingly, we pseudo-liberals love this play. We love to thunder about the bad character of people whose votes we need.

We pseudo-liberals love this game. And alas!

Shortly after this column appeared, the man being lynched was Kristof himself. Tomorrow, we'll look at what was said. Perhaps he should check his privilege!

Tomorrow: Joan Walsh! We swear!

61 comments:

  1. "Kristof’s parents were professors at Portland State."

    "That said, we’re sometimes struck by the lack of smarts the professors’ kid demonstrates in his columns."

    "According to the professors’ kid, “lots of Americans” would have been “harshly judgmental” about his high school friend."

    "That said, newspaper readers don’t have it easy either. In part, that’s due to the lack of smarts of professors’ kids and the rest of our upper-end experts."

    "That is a terribly tragic story. But the child of the two professors doesn’t seem to have much sympathy for the children of the guy who didn’t pay child support."

    So sayeth the son of a strip club operator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also recall the lengths that Somerby went to to prove that his ol' buddy Al, the son of a U.S. Senator and one of the first women to graduate from Vanderbilt Law, was just an average joe like us.

      Delete
    2. Somerby went to lengths to prove that woman Al Gore was "just an average joe"?

      You are so, so very full of shit. Brimming with shit. Overflowing.

      I'm willing to concede this: it's possible you are entirely made of the stuff!

      Delete
    3. Bob campaigns to save our intellectual culture from the pointy- headed professors with a fierce, squirrel-like energy unseen since George Wallace ran in '68.

      Delete
    4. Bob never writes anything particularly obnoxious on this blog, unlike most of us commenters. One wonders what motivates the many comments like yours that never include any counterargument, just insults. Evidently the truth does hurt, but at least we get to see what angry progressives are really like when someone runs afoul of the script. You probably can't wait for the day we have a "progressive certified" blog requirement in this country like China has established.

      Delete
    5. Hmmmm, for those who learned "over-literalism" from the master and think they are clever.

      Al Gore Sr. served 32 years in the U.S. Congress -- 14 in the House, 18 in the Senate.

      Pauline LaFon Gore was the 10th woman to graduate from Vanderbilt law, and went on to practice oil and gas law and divorce law.

      Junior had to do tough farm chores and grow up in a rather seedy hotel -- until his parents sent him to Harvard.

      Interesting, but Kristof's parents seemed to own a farm and Kristof was a member of Future Farmers of America.

      Wonder if "the professors' kid" had to do farm chores, too? Bob doesn't tell us.

      Delete
    6. Another interesting tidbit.

      The parents of Everyman Al sent their boy to St. Alban's, a rather exclusive all-boys school in D.C. famous for sending their graduates to the Ivy League.

      Where did Kristof go to high school?

      Delete
    7. @ 12:42 asks "Somerby went to lengths to prove that woman Al Gore was "just an average joe"?

      No. Somerby just went to great lengths to prove he never lactated.

      He did demonstrate, with geometric certainty, that despite never claiming he "invented the internet" a review of Gore's career and prompted recollections by Erich Segal prove such a claim would seem accurate.

      Delete
    8. "(Kristof’s late father, Ladis Kristof, was a great deal more than your average professor. In this memorable column in 2010, Kristof told the story of his father’s astonishing life."

      BS...The Daily Howler

      His mother, on the other hand, gave birth to a not so so smart boy. Other than that she could be chopped liver. These here posts is all about Daddies.

      Delete
  2. In addition to the difference in parents, Green and Kristof may have had individual differences in any number of ways: general health, ambition, common sense, intelligence, energy, integrity, etc., etc. That they both ran track, took welding, and belonged to the FFA tell very little about their individual character.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The poll question was designed so that the evil wealthy person could did not have an option of "SOME poor people have it easy... or MOST poor people have it easy...." Those statements would be true, but left with "Poor people" option, the statement is still true, except it the evil wealthy probably would have preferred an option that could not be read to include all poor.

    Poor respondents aren't going to say they don't have it easy. It's a safe bet to say if the question were "Middle class have it easy" or "Wealthy have it easy" all of these groups would not admit to "having it easy."

    A garbage agenda-driven poll designed for thrilling low-IQ progressives.

    ReplyDelete
  4. A garbage agenda-driven posting of the poll in this context designed for thrilling low-IQ haters of progressives.

    FTFY - you're welcome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you don't believe the poll was useless without additional nuance, you simply hope to be thrilled by these polls. Sorry to rain on your parade.

      Delete
    2. Looking at the poll question, it's impossible to imagine that anyone could try to make a statement about "wealthy Americans" -- or any other Americans -- based on the results of asking it.

      Impossible to imagine. But Kristof did it!

      It must all be Somerby's fault, somehow.

      Delete
    3. Somerby never said whether the survey was conducted in the fall or spring semester. That might have influenced the answers.

      Delete
    4. It could also have been translated from the Norwegian by native speakers of Urdu.

      Delete
    5. اچھا میں سے ایک

      Delete
    6. We just don't know.

      Delete
    7. Vi bare vet ikke.

      Delete
  5. (poor respondents aren't going to say they have it easy)

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Tomorrow: Joan Walsh! We swear!"

    No, No, Bob! It's only been three days! We haven't examined what a horrible person Kristof is for saying that a lot of Americans would judge his friend harshly.

    The fate of the Republic hangs in the balance. Please, devote the rest of the week --- nay, the rest of the MONTH -- to this critical issue.

    And be sure to mention that Kristof is elitely educated son of two university professors. That message might not have gotten through the first dozen times.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least millions of American Maoists can breathe easier with yet another day's reprieve.

      Delete
    2. Are you suggesting Bob Somerby's blog is not crucial to our nation's future? Try and keep it short if you would, but please provide a list of those blogs on which the fate of the Republic does hang in the balance from day to day. I had no idea there,were blogs approaching the importantance of your incessant comments. Those, then, are the ones we should be reading instead of the Howler in between the several times a day we check back here for your latest pearls of wisdom which are ever delivered with, what would you call it, wit. Keep doing what you do here, if for no other reason it's safer for your neighbors that you kill hours a day with this manifestation of your mania.

      Delete
    3. CMike, that is the best strawman I have seen since Ray Bolger. Bravo! Well done!

      Now if you only had a brain.

      Delete
    4. "Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain" or didn't you get that far in your studies before having one of those uncontrollable urges of yours to get up and go egg someone's doorstep or do something else equally as clever?

      Delete
    5. Excuse me for not realizing you were a pusillanimous creature.

      Delete
    6. You have so much to say you can't even follow a link, can you?

      Delete
    7. Your Wizard of Oz link? It was as clever as your argument that the fate of the republic doesn't depend on blogs.

      I am impressed, however, that you caught the Ray Bolger-strawman reference. My you are the bright boy, aren't you?

      Delete
    8. That's another one of your problems, you confuse being old with being bright.

      Delete
    9. You ever hear the old saying about when you're in a hole, you should stop digging?

      Even pusillanimous creatures should know that.

      Delete
    10. "you confuse being old with being bright"

      CMike, like Somerby, and like the Kristof in Bob's imagination, hears voices saying things never said.

      Delete
    11. The "Ray Bolger-strawman reference" was hardly an esoteric one, "pusillanimous" while sounding highfalutin was the wrong term for the Wizard to be using in that spot, and just because you have cataracts that wouldn't make you all an ophthalmologist @9:41.

      Delete
    12. You have much better arguments to make on topics of far greater importance, CMike. Looking forward to your input on those.

      Delete
  7. Is it too cynical to wonder why Kristof chose to tell us about Kevin after Kevin was deceased and not during his life of struggle, in hopes of heading off scrutiny and comment?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not cynical at all. Just extremely stupid.

      Delete
  8. So when does Somerby blow the lid off this whole sham and prove that Kristof and Green were never high school pals?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kevin Green could have lived a legitimate live in good faith, though badly bungled. It's never been disproven on a journalistic basis.

      Delete
    2. This just in!

      "Kevin Green hasn't been declared dead yet"

      Delete
    3. Say what? Uh-oh! But so what?

      It’s hard to prove that someone didn’t do something to deserve death. Even alive. It’s still possible.
      That remains possible—after all, everything is!

      Warning! To cite one important example, a bit later in his column, he could have said Kevin's dead. Or at least a deadbeat dad.

      Uh-oh! Warning! Food Stamps!!!!! Uh-oh!

      Excitement! Excitement! Everyone started screeching.

      Delete
  9. Kristof: "He was also worried about his twin boys. They had trouble in school and with the law, jailed for drug and other offenses."

    Somerby: "That is a terribly tragic story. But the child of the two professors doesn’t seem to have much sympathy for the children of the guy who didn’t pay child support."

    If only Mr. Green had paid (more) child support, his children would be upstanding folk, like young master Conrad Hilton! (Or Al Gore III!). Fully supported children never have trouble in school and with the law, jailed for drug and other offenses.

    The boys left with mom, without Green's consultation. Years later, they had problems. Nothing else about mom, or her influence, or the lads' later life or circumstances is known. Somerby doesn't know why they turned out the way they did -- but he'll assume it's Green fault because Green didn't pay child support (except when he did) It's a pleasing tale, a tale as old as earth tones, and Somerby will keep re-spinning it until he can find the right words with which to scold Joan Walsh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is interesting that, for the scourge of all scolds, Sr. Somerby's favorite scold is that "liberals don't care about kids."

      He, of course, has no kids.

      Delete
    2. Children born out of wedlock and not supported usually fail. We know enough to hypothesize Green's actions contributed to his children's failure.

      Delete
    3. Children born in wedlock and not supported usually fail.

      People who think a fifteen minute civil ceremony means squat to a child's future usually are imbeciles.

      And more often than not they aren't parents themselves.

      Delete
  10. "A Texan's Response to Welfare" has been circulating on the 'Net for years.
    Of course, only a tiny smattering of Americans would agree with it; the lunatic fringe as it were.
    Well, maybe a few more than a smattering.

    "Put me in charge . . . from a guy in Texas, DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS!!

    Put me in charge of food stamps. I'd get rid of Lone Star cards; no cash for
    Ding Dongs or Ho Ho's, just money for 50-pound bags of rice and beans,
    blocks of cheese and all the powdered milk you can haul away. If you want
    steak and frozen pizza, then get a job.

    Put me in charge of Medicaid. The first thing I'd do is to get women
    Norplant birth control implants or tubal ligations. Then, we'll test
    recipients for drugs, alcohol, and nicotine and document all tattoos and
    piercings. If you want to reproduce or use drugs, alcohol, smoke or get
    tats and piercings, then get a job.

    Put me in charge of government housing. Ever live in a military barracks?
    You will maintain our property in a clean and good state of repair. Your
    "home" will be subject to inspections anytime and possessions will be
    inventoried. If you want a plasma TV or Xbox 360, then get a job and your
    own place.

    In addition, you will either present a check stub from a job each week or
    you will report to a "government" job. It may be cleaning the roadways of
    trash, painting and repairing public housing, whatever we find for you. We
    will sell your 22 inch rims and low profile tires and your blasting stereo
    and speakers and put that money toward the “common good..”

    Before you write that I've violated someone's rights, realize that all of
    the above is voluntary. If you want our money, accept our rules. Before
    you say that this would be "demeaning" and ruin their "self esteem,"
    consider that it wasn't that long ago that taking someone else's money for
    doing absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self esteem.

    If we are expected to pay for other people's mistakes we should at least
    attempt to make them learn from their bad choices. The current system
    rewards them for continuing to make bad choices.

    AND While you are on Gov’t subsistence, you no longer can VOTE! Yes that is correct. For you to vote would be a conflict of interest. You will voluntarily remove yourself from voting while you are receiving a Gov’t welfare check. If you want to vote, then get a job."


    Now, if you AGREE- PASS IT ON...


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A nephew once passed along one of these chain e-mails about "Baracky Road Ice Cream." Half vanilla, half chocolate and costs $1 billion a scoop.

      Ha. Ha.

      But let's not presume that just because "a lot of Americans" pass along this garbage, that "a lot of Americans" actually think that way.

      And we must never call them the "lunatic fringe." We must only use love and respect, and only reserve our insults for the people Somerby himself insults.

      Delete
    2. If I don't agree can I go all second amendment on him?

      Delete
    3. Sounds good except for the voting condition.

      Delete
    4. I want one of them good jobs collecting and selling all them 22 inch rims.

      Delete
  11. As Mickey Mantle, that once great American idol might have said:

    I WANT MY MAO POST!

    ReplyDelete
  12. GOOD GOD and GACK AD INFINITUM

    Bob recently wrote a post comparing people to poo flinging chimps at least a dozen times. He is rolling in, gobbling down, and spitting out hypocritical excrement so badly in this post it stinks to high heaven.

    This post is so bad one hardly knows where to start. I know I won't be able to finish in a single comment.

    Let's start with a reminder of all the screeching and scolding Somerby does when he finds Free And Reduced Price Lunch Eligibility as a proxy for student poverty is used by a researcher or journalist. --- Why these kids can come from families earning almost double the federal poverty level--- Somerby bitterly complains, with oodles of "That saids" and "Can We Talks" thrown in for sarcastic emphasis.

    That same Bob Somerby had the audacity to write this about the Pew Research Poll:

    "Let’s look at the way that Pew survey question worked. As we do, let’s note that a large number of people living in poverty also agreed with the statement quoted by Kristof."

    Somerby continued along the same lines:

    "Banging the drum for his own moral greatness, Kristof reports that “wealthy Americans mostly agree” with Statement A.

    Technically, that statement is accurate. According to Pew, 54 percent of respondents in the upper 20 percent by income chose Statement A rather than Statement B when given that choice of two statements."

    Then Somerby finished this part of his analysis with this:

    "Here’s what Kristof didn’t report in his column. According to Pew, 29 percent of people who live below the federal poverty line also agreed with Statement A!

    Somerby tells his readers he followed Kristof's link to the Pew study. What he doesn't tell you is he seemed not to read it. The PEW study does not base any of its findings on income. They make no mention of how many people, or what percentage of respondents in any income category agree or disagree with any statement in the entire study.

    When Bob Somerby says Pew finds 29% of people below the federal poverty line reporting anything he is, to use his own terminology, novelizing. He is making things up. To use my terms, he is blowing it out his ass and trying to blow it up yours at the same time.

    The Pew Research study can be found at the link Bob provides in the middle of the text. Go to Page 2 where they describe how they came up with their Scale of Financial Security. Pew does not use income at all. And clearly, while those at lower income scales are likely found predominately in the group Somerby described as "below the poverty line" there is no way for Bob Somerby to know that. And he clearly cannot state it with the degree of accuracy he demands of others any time someone he disagrees with dares to write about the low income kids he constantly says nobody cares about.

    The same problem exists when he talks about the findings about or opinions of the "wealthiest" Americans. Neither he or Kristof are "technically accurate. No measurement of or division based on wealth was used in the report. None. Zero. Not squat nor squadoosh.

    That's for starters. The rest of his analysis and indeed this whole post of manure is just as bad. Just as dishonest. And just as hypocritical.

    Bob Somerby holds himself out to you as a knowledgeable critic on numbers and statistics. He isn't. He makes things up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a lot of heat over nothing. As Pew said "The scale is strongly associated with family income."

      Though it is neither "technically accurate" to say everyone in the "most secure" categories is By Definition "wealthy" as Kristof does, nor to say everyone in the "least secure" category is in "poverty" as Somerby does, this technical point does nothing to vitiate Somerby's argument against Kristof.

      Or so I say.

      So, what do I claim is Somerby's argument, unvitiated by this quite minor technical point?

      That Kristof wants to ignore that a significant number of folks who are quite insecure financially (most of whom are reporting that they receive poverty assistance from the government, according to Pew) take the exact same position as those Kristof derides attributing their lack of empathy to their "wealth."

      That ain't made up.

      Delete
    2. But isn't it a bit odd to argue on one hand, "Kristof has no basis to say that 'a lot of Americans' feel the way he says," then in the next breath, argue "a lot of poor people apparently feel that way, too."

      Delete
    3. No @ 11:16, what Kristof ignores is what Kristof ignores.

      I offer no defense of Kristof. But Somerby's point in noting what Kristof ignores is, for want of a better term, hypocritical.

      All of the three posts Somerby has devoted to the Kristof columns on the late Mr. Green are as preachy, moralistic, scolding, and hypocritical as those columns Somerby derides.

      And, if you are going to defend Somerby's inaccurate representation of the Pew report by labeling it a "quite minor technical point," then I look forward to your defense of the work Somerby attacks for similar "quite minor technical points." Should you like a list of past Howler rants on the "minor technical point" of poverty definition, Google "Free and Reduced Lunch Program + Poverty" in Somerby's search box at the top right corner of this page.

      Your first link will be to a post on January 17, less than three weeks ago, where Somerby called for a reporter to be fired and described her editors as "inhuman" for making the same error on "a minor technical point."

      Delete
    4. There is nothing wrong with preachy and moralistic and scolding. God knows the left does enough of it when the subject is gay marriage. It's even more important when it comes to the fate of millions of underprivileged but the left never lets that stand in their way of sanctimoniously declaring "I don't judge" as their failure to judge destroys millions of human beings.

      Delete
  13. Great analysis, Anon. Also, if I am reading it right, you don't have to be rich to be in the "most financially secure" group. A middle class person working for an organization that has a pension plan, and who lives within his means, will likely satisfy the criteria for most financially secure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are reading it correctly David in Cal. So did I. But that does not make for a great analysis on my part. It simply means I read it without a script in my mind or a burr up my butt that made me misread it, as is the case with the "scold-dust" twins, Kristof and Somerby.

      However, as my next installment will show, it is not the only mistake of Somerby regarding Pew. If he can call them "eggheads" for their work, I can clearly call him a "shithead"
      for his.

      Delete
  14. Well, since Bob has essentially put up the same post for the second day, I'll leave my comment again too: Bod decries Kristof's generalizations while substituting his own.
    The irony is that many liberal Americans would have simply dismissed Kristof's column by simply saying "why should I care about a privileged white guy?" an attitude they might well cop from reading people like Kristof.
    That's a generalization of my own, but it does not seem a stretch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No stretch Greg. But Bob has stretched the same post to three days with this one, not two. And unless you have a very slow internet connection, you'll find he has done it again for a fourth day in a row.

      Today: We swear! Nick Kristof!

      Delete