The Lincoln Bedroom returns: By the time of the days of impeachment, upper-end American journalists had agreed on one basic idea.
Statistics were boring and hard, they said. Except when statistics could be embellished to drive home some preferred point.
By common agreement, journalists refused to cite data at all unless the data had been "enhanced." As one example, consider the photo report in today's (hard-copy) New York Times about that city's very large number of homeless school-age kids.
In print editions, the report fills the first four pages of the "New York" section. For reasons only the Times can explain, it doesn't even appear in the "Today's Paper" listing on line.
You can peruse the photo report here. In print, the report appears beneath this large, bold banner headline:
114,000 Students in New York City Are Homeless.That's a gigantic number of homeless kids—and no child should be homeless.
That said, are there really 114,000 homeless students in New York City? Eliza Shapiro was the reporter, so we were already checking our wallets.
We were on full red alert. As she started, Shapiro said this:
SHAPIRO (11/20/19): Darnell, 8, lives in a homeless shelter and commutes 15 miles a day to school.Wait a minute! Just like that, it almost seemed like some of New York City's homeless kids may not exactly be homeless!
Sandivel shares a bedroom with her mother and four brothers. She is 10 and has moved seven times in the past five years.
The number of school-age children in New York City who live in shelters or “doubled up” in apartments with family or friends has swelled by 70 percent over the past decade—a crisis without precedent in the city’s history.
Some of these kids are living in homeless shelters. But some of these kids are living in apartments shared with family or friends!
For an upper-class legacy kid like Shapiro, living in a crowded apartment is apparently the same thing as being homeless. Before too long, a new number emerged in her photo report:
SHAPIRO: Sandy is one of over 73,000 homeless students who lived “doubled up” last year.According to Shapiro, 73,000 of Gotham's homeless students actually live "doubled up." In other words:
Of Gotham's 114,000 homeless students, 41,000 are homeless!
Presumably, it isn't ideal to be "doubled up" in the manner described. That said, being "doubled up" doesn't exactly make you homeless.
In this particular case, Sandivel's mother pays $700 rent per month for the apartment her family shares. They aren't living on the street, nor are they in a homeless shelter. They're living in an apartment for which they pay monthly rent.
We're not sure why people like Shapiro like to toy with numbers. In our world, 41,000 homeless kids is an extremely large number of kids. We can't imagine why "journalists" seem to feel the need to goose such numbers up.
That said: As we saw these numbers float by, we thought all the way back to the Lincoln Bedroom pseudo-scandal of 1997.
We recalled the ugly, unconscionable way the Washington Post and the New York Times goosed the number of overnight guests the Clintons had housed, back in the days when the liberal world was sleeping soundly as a succession of journalistic scams just kept rolling on.
Long story short:
To make the number of overnight guests as large as inhumanly possible, the two newspapers added in the 72 teenage girls who had attended a set of White House slumber parties as guests of Chelsea Clinton. They also added in 35 overnight stays by assorted family members.
To goose the number as high as possible, these 107 overnight stays were added to the total. This was done to create the impression that Bill and Hillary Clinton were selling access to the Lincoln Bedroom, and on a massive scale.
We reported this unbelievably stupid and ugly story in real time. We revisited it in 2005, when it turned out that, on a per year basis, President Bush was hosting overnight guests at a rate which basically matched the number once deemed so heinous.
You probably know what happened. Under Clinton, this had been a giant pseudo-scandal. Under Bush, the same (utterly pointless) phenomenon came and went in barely a day.
You can review the whole story here, but yes, it's actually true. In order to hype a phony scandal well, the Post and the Times added Chelsea's slumber party guests to the allegedly scandalous number of Clinton "overnight guests."
There's a special hook involving the way the Post goosed the number up. The story goes like this:
At first, the Post had used the accurate number of non-family adult overnight guests. But when the Post saw everyone else using the phony larger number, they decided to go ahead and use the embellished number too!
This is the way the upper-end press was functioning 22 years before these current days of impeachment. By the time of these days of impeachment, kids who lived in crowded apartments were being listed as "homeless."
By this time, a general agreement had emerged. By general agreement, upper-end journalists refuse to cite any statistic unless the number in question has been embellished. We'll guess that they do this because of their exposure to lead in the years long before Flint, another situation they massively embellished.
Your lizard brain is going to tell you that you should get mad about what we've written. Depending on your rate of exposure to "cable news" and social media, your lizard may be telling you things like that every day of the week.
Please tell your lizard well:
In New York City, it seems that 41,000 school-age kids are living in homeless shelters. That's a very large number of homeless kids. That very large number doesn't need to be goosed.
It's important to get homeless kids into homes. On the other hand, it's also important to stop all the upper-class dissembling and novelizing.
That said, alas! Due to the sickness of the times, the modern journalist won't publish a number unless the number is wrong!
Future Anthropologists Huddled in Caves contributed to this report through the auspices of their award-winning future news service, FAHIC News.