WEAKER APART: Professors and journalists, weaker together!

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16, 2017

Part 3—The Washington Post relents:
Inevitably, your DAILY HOWLER keeps cranking out those results.

We refer to the Washington Post's decision to change the headline we cited in yesterday's report. Below, you see the way the headline was, as compared to the way it is now:
The way it was:

White millennials are just as racist as their grandparents

The way it is today:

Trump’s lasting legacy is to embolden an entirely new generation of racists
Will that be Donald J. Trump's lasting legacy? As opposed, let us say, to the role he may yet play in producing the end of the world?

We don't know how to answer your question! But that eye-catching, original headline was ushered to the memory hole just as soon as your DAILY HOWLER noted how gongy it was.

Briefly, let's be fair. From the standpoint of the catching of eyes, that headline had it all!

It not only dropped an R-bomb, which is sure to get juices flowing. It also tossed a generational claim around!

A fiery R-bomb, linked to a G-bomb! Presumably, nothing grabs eyeballs so well!

Don't misunderstand! Imaginably, there would imaginably be a way to determine if, on average, tens of millions of people in one generation might be "just as racist" as the tens of millions of people who are, on average, their grandparents.

Imaginably, our professors and journalists could imaginably make such a finding. But that didn't happen in the column written by Catherine Rampell.

Sad! For starters, that exciting, eye-catching headline was an embellishment of what Rampell had actualy said in the column so bannered.

In our view, Rampell's actual claim was unwise and dumb on its own. But that headline ratcheted what she said, presumably yielding more clicks.

Here's what Rampell actually said. This came near the end of her column:
RAMPELL (8/15/17): More significantly, the presumption that millennials are uniformly more progressive than earlier generations is false.

Millennials overall are more racially tolerant than earlier generations—but that’s because young people today are less likely to be white. White millennials exhibit about as much racial prejudice, as measured by explicit bias, as white Gen Xers and boomers.
These white millennials today! Rampell nuancedly said that they "exhibit about as much racial prejudice, as measured by explicit bias, as white Gen Xers and boomers." The reader was left to imagine what "racial prejudice, as measured by explicit bias," might actually mean or be.

As written, Rampell's claim was rather murky. That said, the headline writer dropped all the qualifiers—and he or she turned "racial prejudice, as measured by explicit bias," into "racis[m]," the bomb that has launched a million clicks.

Yesterday, someone at the Washington Post decided to change that headline. For ourselves, we spent some time examining the data to which Rampell had semi-referred.

When we did, sad! Rampell's link took us tothis April 2015 report by the Post's Scott Clement. Just seven years out of Vanderbilt at the time, he was identified as "the polling manager at The Washington Post, specializing in public opinion about politics, election campaigns and public policy."

Appendix aside, Clement's actual piece had been fairly short. Especially in its appendix ("General Social Survey methodology and question wording"), it was at various times strikingly incoherent.

That said, Clement's piece from April 2015 still bears an eye-catching headline. Here's what that headline says:
Millennials are just about as racist as their parents
Seven years out of Vanderbilt, the Washington Post's polling director, not unlike Santa of old, knew who was naughty and who was nice in at least two generations.

"Surely not all millennials are racist," Clement magnanimously said near the start of his piece. He went on to offer evidence in support of the implied claim which was fairly accurately captured in the headline atop his report.

As has been clear for a good long time, R-bombs are very good for our liberal world's tribal soul. Presumably, they're also good for clicks at newspapers like the Post.

That said, alas! Again and again, R-bombs turn out to be good for something else. They're often help us see how weak one modern alliance is.

We refer to the often unholy alliance between These College Professors Today and These High-End Journalists. We might all be better off if these two groups were kept apart!

Due to events in Charlottesvile, we may terminate the report we planned for this week—at least, we may terminate it for now.

Those events from Virginia are much more pressing this week. That said, the Washington Post's bomb-laden headlines almost surely play a part in that larger story.

What made the Washington Post feel it could offer the eye-catching headline which topped that 2015 report? The eye-catching headline in which, like a god, some editor brandished a favorite bomb, spread across two generations?

In large part, the Post's polling director had been working from a particular question on "the General Social Survey conducted by NORC's 2010, 2012 and 2014 waves." He didn't bother explaining what that acronym meant, so we won't bother either.

For today, we'll only say this:

We think the use to which that question was put helps display the remarkable lack of skill which is often put on display by our professors and journalists, who often seem to be weaker together. Therein lies a ancillary tale:

We liberals! We tend to find it hard to believe that our professors are perhaps a bit weak in the head, especially when their deathless surveys lead to headlines which tickle our tribal scripts. Sadly, our willingness to bow to authority in this way makes us resemble, in ever so tiny a way. the long-derided ditto-headedness long declared Over There.

We've long ridiculed that trait when displayed by Those People. Over There, they've swallowed all manner of cant from Rush. We tend to get ours from our professors, especially as their work is channeled through columnists and "polling directors."

Had that youngish polling director really found a way to measure the "racism" of two generations? Yesterday, in an easy link, Rampell seemed to say that he had.

An exciting headline followed. Later, it was withdrawn.

We liberals have been highly skilled for many years at seeing how dumb The Others are. In truth, the pronouncements of Rush and Sean have routinely, though not always, been tremendously dumb.

But good God and holy smokes! The major pathetic unhelpful Big Dumb can also be found Over Here!

Today, the headline which sat atop Rampell's column is gone. Incomparably, your DAILY HOWLER keeps pounding out those results.

Elsewhere in today's Washington Post,
superb reporting describes the complaints of some of the nation's least discerning young men—young men who are found Over There.

We'll stick to that work for the rest of the week. But the dumbness is also quite thick Over Here, and the stories are not unrelated.

28 comments:

  1. Somerby doesn't like the way social science professors measure racism -- or he doesn't think racism can be measured by asking questions. Hard to tell what his point is, since he doesn't state it directly, other than: r-bombs bad, youngish reporters bad, professors definitely bad.

    Perhaps Somerby thinks we should stop trying to measure racism (and racial progress) because it is hard to measure? Maybe we should just use anecdotal evidence in which whites say racism is gone and blacks say it is worse than ever?

    Somerby sounds like a climate denier. Measurement is imperfect so lets draw no conclusions, or give up, and lets mock the scientists. What is WRONG with Somerby?

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  2. I think Somerby acknowledges that there is racism, but he doesn't think that calling people out for being racists is going to do much good.
    He appeals to the example of Dr. King, who arguably had to deal with far worse (and murderous) racism than exists today.
    King knew the depths of racist anger and hatred, but he felt that countering hate with hate doesn't change minds...it just makes matters worse.
    So Dr. King preached about loving one's enemy, an idea he got from various sources, including the Bible. He was, after all, a preacher.
    This is a difficult idea to put into practice.
    Having said that, I think Somerby always goes too far in his denunciation of liberals. He seems to be criticize 'talking heads', including
    journalists, pundits, and even professors, but then goes on to equate all liberals with these hated talking heads.
    Somerby also praised Ms. Bro, and said that more liberals should be like her. But there he goes again, saying that "most" liberals
    are not like that, that they are "stupid" or "broken-souled" or whatever.
    On what evidence does he base that claim? In my anecdotal experience, that is not the case..at all.
    So, while I think Somerby is in many ways right about "appealing to our better angels", as Lincoln would have it, he
    promotes that idea while trashing liberals, the very people who helped end slavery and segregation in the first place, and thus negating his own argument.

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  3. Racism IS a powerful force in our country. Any serious-minded historian or social scientist, or even pundit, has to acknowledge that.
    You can't sweep it under the rug. Racism was the principal reason the South abandoned the Democratic party after 1965 (after the
    passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts). LBJ predicted it...actually, he stated it as fact, and he was right.
    But Somerby doesn't seem to approve of ever mentioning the word 'racism', although it's a giant elephant in the room.

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  4. This may be a terrible article, but it is clearly marked "opinion." So, sigh, it is Bob who seeks to mislead.

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  5. NORC is the National Opinion Research Center. I had to look in Greeley's book. Recently I had been reading an autobiography of Andrew Greeley and he used to work there.

    I am not sure I can get at their data, if they charge for it, or if I have the software to read it even if it is free. WaPo articles are now blocked by demands that I subscribe.

    At least YT only makes me watch an ad to see the clip from "On the Waterfront" about showing kindness and concern for people.

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  6. Anon 11:20 I sure don't like the way social scientists measure racism. This study says, "We took a look at five measures of racial prejudice..." Do these 5 measures accurately measure racism? How could you validate that belief?

    IMHO this type of study is worthless, until one can prove that answers to certain chosen questions accurately measure the mount of racism.

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    Replies
    1. Let me tell you how I measure racism. My uncle said that blacks were inferior to whites. Another man I personally know calls blacks the "n" word and calls them lazy and inferior. Would you call those men racist? In my state, blacks were not allowed to vote until 1965. They weren't allowed to live in certain parts of town. They weren't allowed to use the same gd restrooms as whites. Trump and his father were punished by the Nixon administration for discrimination against blacks.
      Does any of that register with you as racism? It is hard to measure the "mount" of racism, which is quite convenient for racists, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist or can be ignored.

      Delete
    2. How about answering this question, Comrade DinC.

      When you support a party dedicated to suppressing the votes of POC in this country, does that make you a racist?

      I say, fuck yeah. What say you? Ha ha, just was just a rhetorical question.

      You on the other hand are searching for the non-existent millions of illegal votes from the brown folks and wetbacks.

      It never stops with you people, you are the party of the undead, systematically doing whatever you can to suppress votes of minority voters.

      **************

      State and local Republicans have expanded early voting in GOP-dominated areas and restricted it in Democratic areas, an IndyStar investigation has found, prompting a significant change in Central Indiana voting patterns.

      From 2008 to 2016, GOP officials expanded early voting stations in Republican dominated Hamilton County, IndyStar's analysis found, and decreased them in the state's biggest Democratic hotbed, Marion County.

      That made voting more convenient in GOP areas for people with transportation issues or busy schedules. And the results were immediate.

      Most telling, Hamilton County saw a 63 percent increase in absentee voting from 2008 to 2016, while Marion County saw a 26 percent decline. Absentee ballots are used at early voting stations.

      Population growth and other factors may have played a role, but Hamilton County Clerk Kathy Richardson, a Republican, told IndyStar the rise in absentee voting in Hamilton County was largely a result of the addition of two early voting stations, which brought the total to three.

      "It was a great concept to open those (voting stations)," Richardson said, adding that the turnout might have increased with the addition of even more voting machines.

      Other Central Indiana Republican strongholds, including Boone, Johnson and Hendricks counties, also have added early voting sites — and enjoyed corresponding increases in absentee voter turnout.

      But not Marion County, which tends to vote Democratic, and has a large African-American population.








      Officials: Expect delays on Election Day in Indy, Hamilton County


      During that same 2008-16 period, the number of early voting stations declined from three to one in Marion County, as Republican officials blocked expansion.
      ***********

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    3. AnonymousAugust 16, 2017 at 3:33 PM - I think we're in agreement. Racism exists. Your examples show that. But, measuring the specific numerical amount is something else again.

      Delete
    4. Social scientists go to grad school to learn how to measure such things. I doubt they care whether you agree that their approaches are valid. You have no training in technical aspects of measurement. But you and Somerby think you know enough to judge. Hubris.

      Delete
  7. Oh dear. The term 'racist' has been so misused, abused, and worn out by your 'tribe' that these days all it really means is "don't like/didn't vote for the neocon/globalist establishment candidate". I certainly do hope that most young people are 'racist' in this sense.

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    Replies
    1. Big deal. To the American Right, you can't even call those who went to war to protect the institution of chattel slavery "racist".
      I know, I know, "why would anyone listen to the American Right?" You'll have to ask the corporate-media the answer to that.

      Delete
    2. Oooh, so would it also be a misuse and abuse of the term ‘racist’ if it really meant “do like/did vote for the Klansman’s son who used to codemark black couples’ housing applications for rejection, famously smeared our first black President as a non-American, hired his campaign manager from the premier alt-right website, appealed to the alt-right for support, and now has defended the alt-right after its mob violence and a terrorist killing”? (He placed not only “blame” on both sides, but “very fine people” on both sides?!)

      Delete
    3. Yes, definitely. That's exactly what I said, isn't? Everyone who doesn't like your favorite poltician is a 'racist'. And most likely misogynist, homophobe, and cannibal too. We've heard it a million times already, and no one is impressed. Yawn.

      Delete
    4. Now, now, Cat Country, Trump has demonstrated misogynistic and homophobic tendencies through his policies, but who said anything about cannibalism? That we outsiders haven’t heard about before... are you spilling inside information from Putin’s trove of blackmail data now, privy only to you Russian trolls? If so, thank you, but by all means do it properly, with a release of actual evidence [=recordings] to actual major news and/or law-enforcement agencies. Cf. the Russian hacker of DNC emails now telling all to federal investigators....

      Delete
    5. Per the Associated Press:

      "racism The broad term for asserting racial or ethnic discrimination or superiority based solely on race, ethnic or religious origins; it can be by any group against any other group."

      ("white nationalism", "white separatism", and "white supremacy" are thereafter defined.)

      "“alt-right” A political grouping or tendency mixing racism, white nationalism, anti-Semitism and populism; a name currently embraced by some white supremacists and white nationalists to refer to themselves and their ideology, which emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States."

      Delete
    6. What? Try to concentrate, dear.

      Y'know, the blogger here tends to assume that a disorganized mind indicates mental illness, and you definitely fall in the category of disorganized minds...

      Delete
    7. Māo “What?” Chéng “What?” 猫城记: You complained the term ‘racist’ was “misused, abused, and worn out” by the ‘tribe’ — but, as shown, it’s defined [asserting racial or ethnic discrimination or superiority based solely on race, ethnic or religious origins]; and the self-titled “alt-right” proclaim it as their own ideology. In 2016 Stephen Bannon had declared his own website “the platform for the alt-right”; then he became Donald Trump’s campaign manager; now he is Trump’s key advisor, “White House Chief Strategist”. There is no avoiding the racism central to this:

      "“alt-right” A political grouping or tendency mixing racism, white nationalism, anti-Semitism and populism; a name currently embraced by some white supremacists and white nationalists to refer to themselves and their ideology, which emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States."

      Delete
    8. Well, so you proved my point, which was that anyone disliking your favorite politician is - by connecting several bullshit dots - a 'racist'. Like I said: this is what the word means now. The world is divided into Clintonites and racists. Fine with me.

      Delete
    9. Trump’s history of racism long antedates 2016, when he ran against Hillary Clinton — above I gave two examples, “used to codemark black couples’ housing applications for rejection, famously smeared our first black President as a non-American” — so you know better, and are merely being disingenuous once again.

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    10. Trump's alleged 'history of racism' has nothing whatsoever to do with the subject being discussed.

      Delete
    11. Māo “What?” Chéng “What?” 猫城记: So all of history preceding the 2016 election gets tossed in the Memory Hole to be burned up and forgotten forever? O loyal duckspeaking doublethinking Party Member!

      Delete
    12. Yeah, obviously avoiding to encourage derange liberal rants amounts to doublethinking and tossing all of history to the memory hole. Got it. Anything else?

      Delete
    13. Have you read the rants of troller Māo Chéng Jì?
      There is no one who can tell a lie like he:
      You can search until you tire, you won’t find a bigger liar;
      He’s been lying since the dawn of history.*

      * (That being July 20, 2017.)

      Delete
  8. “Briefly, let's be fair. From the standpoint of the catching of eyes, that headline had it all! It not only dropped an R-bomb, which is sure to get juices flowing. It also tossed a generational claim around! A fiery R-bomb, linked to a G-bomb! Presumably, nothing grabs eyeballs so well!”

    Good catch on the headline change, Bob. Now we have told you that the prime directive of our plutocratic owned mouthpieces is to foster division among the people in all areas except class. Race division is a fact, and will always be a wonderful tool of distraction for our plutocratic rulers. Lately, they have especially love stoking the G-bomb (the generation division fraud, which they themselves created). It is all done to distract people from noticing the decades of mass theft perpetrated by the class of people who own the Washington Post and the NYT.

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    Replies
    1. http://www.gallup.com/poll/163697/approve-marriage-blacks-whites.aspx

      Polls on black and white interracial marriage 4% approved in 1959 -- 87% today. Turn out the beloved "Greatest Generation" was incredibly racist compared to all people who succeeded them.

      Delete
    2. Millenials are the greatest generation. Note the business owners who can't find good millennial age workers to do work they're willing to pay the millenials peanuts to perform.

      Delete
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