Some examples of what we were talking about!

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2017

Does this presentation make sense:
Every morning, the New York Times presents an array of riddles. As one example, did you understand yesterday's takedown of Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance?

The takedown came in an op-ed column, but the Times chose to publish the piece. Our question:

Do you understand the logic behind the highlighted presentation?

RICE (10/17/17): [D]espite lamenting racism in the criminal justice system, Mr. Vance perpetuates worrisome racial disparities. A 2014 Vera Institute of Justice study found that black and Latino defendants prosecuted by Mr. Vance’s office were more likely to be detained at booking, compared with similarly situated white defendants. And last year, 51 percent of marijuana cases involving black defendants in Manhattan ended in conviction, while only 23 percent involving whites did.
Does Vance's office engage in discriminatory practices? We can't answer that question. Nor do we understand why the Times thought that highlighted presentation supported this serious charge.

Consider:

According to this op-ed column, way more marijuana cases ended in convictions when the defendants were black. Do you understand why that would mean that Vance and/or his office were discriminating against blacks?

We ask that question because juries dole out convictions, not prosecutors, or at least they do on TV. And by the way:

If way more whites are escaping conviction, couldn't that possibly mean that Vance's office has been overcharging whites?

As presented, we'd have to say that passage didn't make obvious sense. But so what? The New York Times waved it into print anyhoo. Such confusions are routine in the Times.

Does the Vance office discriminate against blacks? If you click the relevant link in the column, you'll be taken to a source report where the logic of this charge at least becomes clear.

You still won't know if the charge is fair. But you'll at least be able to see why the logic of that presentation isn't completely screwy.

Unless you're actually Cyrus Vance, that was a relatively minor point of confusion. At the same time, Michelle Goldberg's op-ed column in yesterday's Times struck us as a walk down a familiar hall of mirrors, one which is very unhelpful. (Unless you're the type of "Janet Malcolm liberal" who mainly wants to feel good.)

Tribal liberals most likely won't see what we mean. But here—you can give it a try. We may revisit tomorrow.

Thoroughly bollixed this morning: On this morning's page A3 (not available on line), this was one of the the "Noteworthy Facts" in the persistently low-IQ feature, Of Interest:
"Last year George Soros, the hedge fund manager and major Democratic donor, lost about $1 billion betting that Donald J. Trump would lose the presidential election."
We'll be honest—that struck us as a slightly weird-sounding claim. We decided to check the news report which was cited as the source of this "noteworthy fact."

You can check that report by clicking here.
As you'll see, page A3 had omitted a potentially significant phrase from the original claim. (Page A3 does such things all the time.) But even after reading the source report, we still don't understand what Soros is said to have done.

This stuff lards the Times every day. It's the way our mainstream press corps rolls.

In part, this helps explain how Donald J. Trump ended up in the Oval. The evidence tells us again and again; our nation's upper-end mainstream press corps just isn't transplendently sharp.

16 comments:

  1. I don't know if ad hominem hurts or helps, but it is certainly the order of the day here, and with more sadness than rancor, it is impossible to escape the fact Bob Somerby is an idiot.

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  2. Somerby doesn't understand the news but that is somehow the fault of the NY Times.

    Then he says: "(Unless you're the type of "Janet Malcolm liberal" who mainly wants to feel good.)"

    Malcolm described Maddow's show as a feel good experience for liberals. Now all of a sudden she is supposed to have said that liberals just want to feel good? He has turned her descriptive statement into a slur, not against Maddow, but against Malcolm, and of course, liberals.

    Sentencing disparities for minorities are widely discussed. There is some background knowledge assumed by the op-ed. Somerby doesn't even understand that most trials don't involve juries and his knowledge about racial inequities in the justice system seems to be confined to TV. That is on Somerby, not the NY Times (whose main crime is that they allowed an editorial to be published). If they suppress such complaints, they are perhaps abetting racism. It doesn't occur to Somerby that white defendants may be more likely to have lawyers, that black ones may plead guilty because they cannot afford to fight the accusation. Somerby doesn't know this stuff because he doesn't follow the topic anywhere, much less in the NY Times.

    If he were to read the sports page and it used unfamiliar sports terms and drew incomprehensible conclusions from sports stats, would he be right to complain because the paper hadn't fully explained the sports terminology and speculation by featured columnists? On what planet?

    I think it is time for Somerby to stop reading the NY Times. He needs to prop himself in front of a TV and rewatch On the Waterfront until his eyes grow heavy and it is time for his afternoon nap.

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  3. "Does Vance's office engage in discriminatory practices? We can't answer that question."

    The quoted portion of the op-ed didn't say Vance was engaging in discriminatory practices. It said the stats showed racial disparities despite his stated commitment to addressing racism.

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    Replies
    1. Do you comprehend that racial disparities in prosecutions and conviction rates can exist at the same time as a commitment to addressing racism?

      The NY Times can turn out gruesome reporting because it can depend on the stupidity of progressives.

      Delete
    2. @Anon 8:01 pm:
      "Do you comprehend that racial disparities in prosecutions and conviction rates can exist at the same time as a commitment to addressing racism?"
      Umm...you just repeated what Anon 3:54 just said.

      Delete
  4. The cited statistic might also show that the DA's office is more likely to drop cases (or take pleas to lesser charges) with marijuana cases for whites than for blacks, but, as Somerby states, you can't really tell from the information given my the Times.

    Also, very few cases go to jury trials in America's criminal legal system. Most defendants plead guilty in a deal with the DA's office for a lesser charge or diversion, or have their cases dropped. I am assuming the Times counts guilty pleas as convictions.

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  5. Mr Trump consoled the father of a soldier killed in Afghanistan.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-offered-a-grieving-military-father-25000-in-a-call-but-didnt-follow-through/2017/10/18/8d4cbc8c-b43a-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html?utm_term=.c8a193a0304a

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  6. The Politico article uses the phrase, "people of color" in a way that excludes Asians. In that way, they tilt the data to more easily show a bias against non-whites.

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    Replies
    1. The NY Times article refers to "Black and Latino" arrestees not "people of color". They are clear who they are talking about in the portion Somerby quotes.

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  7. Damn, through all the Rachel bashing (yes, she sucks), Bob shows how invaluable he can be. That article picked and chose stats in a very tendentious manner.

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  8. Hmm I wonder if it's racist to prosecute Black for breaking laws written specifically to put them in jail? The Daily Howler is keeping an open mind.

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  9. 1. The jury decides but the prosecutor can often pick the jury:

    "In a 1987 training video leaked from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, new prosecutors were trained when they encountered black jurors to “mark something down on a little sheet that you can articulate later” and “to ask more questions of those people [black jurors] so it gives you more ammunition to make an articulable reason as to why you are striking them not for race.” As recently as the 1990s, North Carolina prosecutors held training sessions with handouts for “Batson Justifications: Articulating Juror Negatives,” which listed a variety of reasons for striking black jurors based on the kinds of pre-textual reasons noted above."

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2016/05/how_prosecutors_get_away_with_striking_potential_black_jurors.html
    *** ***
    2. Vera Institute was set up in tandem with prosecutors to show bias. That's what they were hired to do:

    "The Prosecution and Racial Justice Program (“PRJ”) was established in 2005 with the goal of helping prosecutors “manage the exercise of discretion within their offices in a manner that reduces the risk of racial disparity in the decision-making process.” To be effective, the program required chief prosecutors to grant Vera Institute staff
    broad access to their offices in order to track decision-making at key discretion points with the goal of identifying patterns of disparity...

    [snip]

    "African American women were treated more harshly than members of any other group—100% of the drug cases involving African American women were prosecuted. The Assistant District Attorneys had been adopting the police officer’s charging recommendations in 98.9% of the cases, and 70% of the defendants charged were people of color. PJR’s findings prompted the District Attorney, Peter Gilchrist, to take action. He appointed different people to the supervisory positions and implemented policies that required the Assistant District Attorneys to screen the cases more carefully. These changes resulted in a reduction of the percentage of drug cases charged to 88% and a decrease in the decision to prosecute cases involving African American females"

    http://www.nyujlpp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Davis-In-Search-of-Racial-Justice-16nyujlpp821.pdf



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  10. "Low IQ progressives like to be told that they are above average. This susceptibility combined with lower intelligence makes them easy prey for carnival barkers."
    "The NY Times can turn out gruesome reporting because it can depend on the stupidity of progressives."
    Congratulations, Bob. See what you've brought out of the woodwork? These commenters are just following your lead.

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    Replies
    1. The Daily Howler tries to stress it's not so much as you're stupid as much as they want you to be narrow-minded, and BELIEVE you're stupid. But there is a history here, and he's definitely playing with fire.

      The Democratic party used to be a eugenic party, pro-sterilization and all that. Sometimes you'll still catch people making jokes about how you should "try not to breed" and spread your terrible mental retardation genres. Just to get elected Bill Clinton had to execute a mentally disabled man.

      Today, IQ is a word that's mostly popular with the crypto-eugenics movement. But again, ironically, very common with Old Guard Democrats.

      Delete
    2. "spread your terrible mental retardation genres."
      Speaking of mental retardation: "genres"???

      Delete
  11. Bob, Vance is under scrutiny for his actions or rather inactions, his eagerness to dismiss charges against Ivanka Trump and rapist Harvey Weinstein. I'm sorry you are so doddering that you are yelling at clouds. Why DID Cyrus Vance Jr. peremptorily dismiss charges against Ivanka Trump Inc and Harvey Weinstein Rape?
    Why do you pretend to be so stupid?

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