THE WAY WE ARE: Jacking up preferred statistics!


Part 4—It’s all propaganda now:
Let’s suppose you’re chancellor of a major university.

Let’s call your school MIT.

You construct a long, bewildering survey for your students—a survey about their sexual experiences on your campus. Your curiosity knows no bounds, so you even include this early question, along with six possible answers:
How often do you hear MIT students or see online posts from MIT students that say that a test or assignment "raped them?”
Less than once a month
Once a month
2-3 times a month
Once a week
More than once a week
Yes, that question is written in English. At any rate, there’s nothing you don’t want to know!

At some point in time, your survey was taken by several thousand students. (You forgot to say when the survey was taken when you released your long, confusing report on your findings.) As you survey your voluminous data, these two findings emerge:
Two findings from the MIT survey
Many students don’t think they’ve been subjected to “sexual harassment” if they hear a sexist remark from a fellow student.
A substantial percentage of undergraduate women say they’ve been raped while students on your campus.
Remember, you’re chancellor at this school. Which finding will seem disturbing?

At this point, we’re forced to rely on an unreliable narrator. We refer to Richard Perez-Pena, the frequently hapless, long-time reporter for the New York Times.

Warning! You shouldn’t assume that Perez-Pena’s report about this survey should automatically be trusted. Still, to judge from his news report in last Tuesday’s New York Times, it was the first of those findings which rang alarm bells in the world of our modern elites.

Forget the fact that five percent of undergraduate women said they’ve been raped while at MIT—a figure which almost surely understates the size of the apparent problem.

(Many respondents were freshmen and sophomores. The survey may have been given at the start of the current academic year; freshmen would have been on campus for ten minutes at that point. Presumably, a larger percentage would emerge from undergraduate women at the end of their senior year.)

Forget the large number of undergraduate women who say they’ve been raped on your campus. If we go by Perez-Pena’s reporting, Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart was mainly concerned about the fact that the youngsters weren’t willing to say how often they’re being “assaulted.”

A bit later, Professor Foubert (Oklahoma State) voiced a similar concern:
PEREZ-PENA (10/28/14): Large numbers of undergraduates, male and female, also agreed with statements suggesting that blame for the assault did not always rest exclusively with the aggressor. Two-thirds agreed that “rape and sexual assault can happen unintentionally, especially if alcohol is involved”; one-third said it can happen “because men get carried away”; about one in five said it often happened because the victim was not clear enough about refusing; and a similar number said that a drunk victim was “at least somewhat responsible.”

Such views were less prevalent among graduate students, as was sexual assault itself.

Dr. Foubert said he considered many of those responses a form of “excusing the perpetrator and blaming the victim,” and was very concerned about it.
The professor is very concerned.

Again, let’s be clear. We have no way of knowing what Barnhart and Foubert actually said to the Times reporter.

But in Perez-Pena’s news report, no one voices any concern about the large number of young women who say they’ve been raped on this campus. True to the org which funds his life-style, Perez-Pena seemed to be upset about world-class piffle like this:
PEREZ-PENA: There was a similar result on sexual harassment. Among undergraduate respondents, large majorities of men and women said they had heard sexist remarks and inappropriate comments about people’s bodies; more than one-third said someone had uttered crude sexual remarks to them directly; nearly as many had been subjected to people’s tales of sexual exploits; and a smaller number had received offensive digital messages. About one woman in six said someone had repeatedly asked her for a date, even after being refused.

But the number who described what had happened to them as sexual harassment was relatively small: 15 percent of undergraduate women, and 4 percent of men.
Did a large number of undergraduate women say they’ve been raped on this campus? Yes they did—but Perez-Pena was really upset about manifest nonsense like that:

The children are hearing sexist remarks and they aren’t claiming “harassment!”

Perez-Pena’s peculiar news report should be preserved in a time capsule. We say that for two reasons.

First reason: Perez-Pena is deeply invested in manifest nonsense. He skips past widespread claims of a very serious crime. What rocks his socks is the fact that many youngsters won’t give voice to a silly script.

Here’s the second reason why this report should be preserved: Because it appears in the New York Times, no one noticed how absurd its values and reasoning were.

We’re past the point where anybody seems to think that the New York Times is supposed to make sense. That helps explain how such a peculiar report could pass right by without occasioning comment.

Might we tell you what we saw when we read that report? We saw a large indifference to the fact that many teenagers are alleging a very serious crime.

We also saw a large investment in a culture which has been seizing the liberal world—a culture which is devoted to jacking up favored statistics.

Is it all propaganda now? We think your question is very good.

Tomorrow, we’ll answer your question.

Tomorrow: A pair of inflated statistics


  1. Right, Bob. Let's take one question out of all context from a "voluminous" survey and ridicule the entire study because of it.

    And Bob? Let's disappear the fact that Foubert is very concerned that victims of rape may not be reporting the crime because of the "blame the victim" syndrome.

    Nope, let's put the worst possible motives behind his concern -- the only motive that fits your narrative.

    Yes, Bob, "It's all propaganda now." Especially from you as you twist, bend and distort plain English beyond all recognition, and when that isn't enough, you read minds and invent motives that defy reason, compassion and logic.

    Is "being the smartest person in the room" -- a quote from your own self-written Wikipedia bio -- really that important that you'd sink to the level of utter dishonesty and call it "original thinking"? And do you think your take on this survey is any more clever than a right-wing college sophomore blogging in his mother's basement?

    1. Anonymous @ 9:40 I ran your questions by the Google Translator to try and detect if they were written in Norwegian and translated by native Urdu speakers or vice versa.

      It could not be determined. However, it answered the questions for Bob.

      1) Yes. See Rufus C. Somerby

      2) Not known. Since a college sophomore in his mother's basement is not in the same room with Mr. Somerby, we cannot determine what Mr. Somerby thinks of his comparative intelligence.

      As you know, Mr. Somerby spends most of his time with imaginary analysts and it is important that he remain smarter than they are.

    2. Troll on troll action here.

    3. Don't be so certain! What looks like a consensual troll hand job could just be one troll sock-puppet masturbator.

      Ugly either way though.

    4. My favorite trolls are the ones who reply only to comments by others who themselves only reply to comments by those they call trolls.

      Most of them, by the way, are left handed.

    5. Fun game!!

      My favorites are the mind-reader trolls like 2:09 -- the ones who can tell whether folks "reply only to comments..."

      Tell us more, Karnac!

    6. My guess:

      2:09 is the same mind-reading troll who only a day ago was sure that someone commenting favorably about a book on Gary Hart & The Press had read "one" book.

      Fits the long-standing douchey pattern for certain.

    7. You guess wrong.

    8. Food for thought: If there is only one "troll" here, what is the readership of this blog down to?

    9. Clearly a negative number.

  2. Obviously MIT needs Emma Sulkowicz to instruct them how to get media to focus on the actual war against women occurring at higher learning institutions that are run predominately by liberals.

    "Columbia Student Pledges to Carry a Mattress Every Day Till Alleged Rapist Leaves Campus"

    1. Ah yes, the simple-minded right-wing canard that colleges and universities are exclusively in the hands of "liberals" who are out to poison the minds of our impressionable young.

      It works well for those who have never set foot on campus. But those who have know that faculties include every imaginable political ideology from right-wing nutcases to left-wing nutcases to everything in between.

    2. Incidentally, cicero, had you read the story you linked to you would find that Sulkowicz was one of three Columbia women who reported being raped by the same guy. University officials dismissed all three cases.

      This proves that campuses are bastions of liberalism exactly how?

    3. @Anonymous 10:25

      You need to look up definition of predominately. It doesn't mean "exclusively."

      Democrats outnumber Republicans 4 to 1 at colleges nationwide. 6 to 1 at elite universities.

    4. @Anonymous 10:31

      You missed the hypocrisy of liberalism? Columbia is famous for being a bastion of liberalism. They didn't take any action against a male student after being accused by 3 women because pretending nothing happened protects the university's reputation. Expelling the male student would bring bad publicity. Enter Emma and her mattress.

    5. The word you are struggling with is "predominantly." You'd know how to spell it if you were educated.

      But since you aren't, go ahead and believe whatever your favorite right-wing Web site tells you about the makeup of faculties on campuses.

      Your handlers have been spouting this nonsense about "liberal bias" not only on campuses but throughout the media for decades now.

      And as I look at both houses of Congress, I see Republicans in control. How did that ever happen?

    6. So Columbia isn't really a bastion of liberalism. It's a bastion of hypocrisy where all sorts of principles go flying out the window to protect the reputation of the institution.

      Thanks for clearing that up.

    7. @Anonymous 11:06

      You know how to spell predominantly, but you have no clue what it means? Ok. The hallmark of a progressive education.

      According to POTUS Obama, the GOP has a majority in both Houses because 2/3 of registered voters didn't vote. In his press conference, he said he heard their silence which he interprets as total support for his policies. This must be another one of Obama's super powers.

    8. @Anonymous 11:08

      You almost have it. To protect the liberal institution, supposed sacrosanct liberal beliefs were sacrificed.

    9. You still don't get it. What makes them "liberal" if they would chuck their "sacrosanct liberal beliefs" so easily?

      And you don't think this also happens on predominantly "conservative" campuses either?

      Oh, I forgot. In your limited experience, there is no such thing as a predominantly "conservative" campus.

    10. "In his press conference, he said he heard their silence which he interprets as total support for his policies."

      Except for one small detail. He said no such thing.

      He said the silence of so many indicates widespread disillusion with politics.

      But you go ahead and believe whatever your handlers say.

    11. John Roberts, Harvard Law '79
      Antonin Scalie, Harvard Law '61
      Clarence Thomas, Yale Law '74
      Samuel Alito, Yale Law '75

    12. typo, Scalia of course

    13. Where in Obama's post mortem press conference does he say "widespread disillusion with politics"? Is that what MSNBC told you how to spin Obama's comments?

      When elections favor Democrats, he calls it a mandate. When it favors GOP, he says:

      "I’ll leave it to all of you and the professional pundits to pick through yesterday’s results." “I don’t want to try to read the tea leaves on election results,”

      Here is Obama's 2/3 double talk.

      "So, to everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you. To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too."

      Obama's speech writers/handlers had this phrase inserted to massage Obama's ego by suggesting he has the silent majority behind him.

    14. Ah, so he never said anything about that considering that silence to be widespread support for his policies. You were just regurgitated what you read somewhere else without checking it out first.

      Oh, and to avoid looking like a fool again, you should read the links before posting them. Here are Obama's words in context:

      "What stands out to me, though, is that the American people sent a message, one that they’ve sent for several elections now. They expect the people they elect to work as hard as they do. They expect us to focus on their ambitions and not ours. They want us to get the job done. All of us in both parties have a responsibility to address that sentiment.

      "Still, as president, I have a unique responsibility to try and make this town work. So, to everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you. To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too.

      "All of us have to give more Americans a reason to feel like the ground is stable beneath their feet, that the future is secure, that there is a path for young people to succeed, and that folks here in Washington are concerned about them."

    15. @Anonymous 11:51
      "What makes them "liberal" if they would chuck their "sacrosanct liberal beliefs" so easily?"

      You asked and answered your question brilliantly.

      Liberals paying lip service to liberal dogma until their bottom line is threatened is de rigueur.

    16. @Anonymous 12:25

      Are you conceding that you couldn't find where Obama supposedly said or even intimated, "widespread disillusion with politics"?

      No remarks regarding Obama being flummoxed by the election result "tea leaves"? That would be where he might have suggested what you said, but didn't.

    17. I gave you the quote in context. I characterized those remarks as his recognizing widespread disillusion with politics, and that is certainly a fair characterization.

      And yes, I answered my own question brilliantly. An institution that would abandon its principles so easily is neither "liberal" nor "conservative." It is, in fact, quite unprincipled.

    18. By the way, are you conceding that the widespread right-wing talking point you regurgitated that Obama was claiming support for his policies from those who didn't vote is utter bullshit?

      You seem to be since you can provide no evidence to support it.

    19. When have liberals demonstrated a penchant for principles? Denigrating conservative minorities does not inspire devotion to principles, unless being a philistine is considered a liberal principle.

      Why else mention registered voters who didn't vote other than to claim they were silently backing his policies? You consider your flattering interpretation of Obama's 2/3 quote fair, while dismissing any other interpretation as a "right-wing talking point". Good to see that you are not a partisan.

      Have you not noticed that Obama is as gracious a loser as Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes ? Even Chris Matthews called her out on her sour grapes concession speech.

      Now perhaps you could provide us with your reading of the tea leaves since the POUS is at a loss for words.

  3. It is perhaps easier to address the problem of sexist remarks on campus than it is to address the problem of rape. The first takes an education campaign, which universities presumably know how to accomplish. The second takes figuring out in advance which sociopaths will break the law and stopping them before they do it. Short of measures like those shown in the movie Minority Report, we don't know how to do that.

    I do think these are qualitatively different problems but I reject Somerby's implicit suggestion that we must choose which to address, that it is either/or and not possible to be concerned about both issues. The administrators seem to have forgotten to express their concern about rape sufficiently strongly before talking about their concern about sexual harassment, which is also a problem because it interferes with the ability of some students to pursue an opportunity for education by making them feel unwelcome or unsafe on campus. Sex is used to drive people out of jobs and classes, by people who don't want them there. It isn't always just innocent flirtation. It is a power move to make someone fearful and remind them they are vulnerable. We need to care about it too.

    1. "Sex is used to drive people out of jobs and classes, by people who don't want them there."

      Oh brother!

      Let me tell you a little story. We had a pig working in our office who hit on every woman there. Interrupted their work, hung around their space. They put up with it and tried to ignore him, even told him to buzz off until finally, one day, he went too far.

      He told one young lady that she had a nice ass and she slapped him across the face. Created quite the scene that drew the attention of the higher-ups. She had all sorts of co-workers, male and female, backing her up, and the pig got fired.

      I suppose that was just a case of sex being used to drive people out of jobs by people who didn't want them there.

    2. Just because you know a case where sexual harassment was motivated by something else, doesn't make my statement incorrect. Women trying to break into male dominated fields get sexual harassment that has nothing to do with attraction. MIT is a male dominated environment, a technical school that women are trying to succeed in so that they can enter STEM disciplines. Men still want to keep them out and they use sexual attack and harassment as one of a number of methods of hazing them to keep them out of traditionally male fields. Your little story changes nothing about that because I never said sexual harassment couldn't happen for other reasons too.

    3. If you meant, "Men often sexually harrass women to drive them out of jobs" you should have written that.

    4. Interesting story Anonymous @ 11:01. Might I tell you what I saw when I read that comment? Let's apply "Somerby Rules" to your tale of the "pig" at your workplace.

      Let’s suppose you’re a worker at an office. One of your co-workers wastes his time at work and that of every woman. The way he wastes their time and his is by going to their space and making unwated sexual advances.

      100% of the women are victims yet none report it. Neither, presumably, did you or any of the male workers. This suggests the women felt the people in charge would be non responsive to this discriminatory workplace environment. It seems the men didn't care about either the waste of office resources or the abuse of women.

      At some point in time, you don't say when, one woman reacted to this universal harrasment of women by resorting to physical violence. Only then were the managers of you workplace alerted to the problem of both ongoing sexual harrasment and possibly wasted money. This required some more unproductive time wasting investigation before the perpetrator was terminated.

      Might I tell you what I saw when I read what is presumably your second comment @ 11:47.
      I see you are stupid and still don't get it.

    5. FWIW, my wife is a STEM person (Ph.D. in Biostatistics). She trained at Temple University in Philadelphia and at UC Berkeley several decades ago. I don't recall her ever having a problem because she was a women. In fact, her sex might have helped her slightly, because she got a bit more attention from her professors. When she took a job at New Jersey Medical School, she got a higher starting salary than a recent male Ph.D. The higher salary was justified by her greater experience. The point is, there's no indication that she was underpaid because of being female.

      To be complete. there was severe discrimination against women in mathematics at UC Berkeley as late as 1970 or so, but it dissipated surprisingly rapidly.

    6. Again, a sample of one by our eminent ConTroll-actuary.

    7. Too bad this isn't a baseball forum. Then we'd here about David's brother-in-law who once played second base for the Cubs.

      Regardless of the subject, David either knows everything about it, or is related to someone who does.

    8. 12:49, I have no idea of the capacity of women to put up with all sorts of crap like that.

      I also have no idea how often it might have been reported, and they guy was reprimanded. May have happened, may not.

      But I do know that one of them got a belly full, and the others backed her up.

    9. Some people have no idea. Some people don't care.
      Others see the melting of our liberal intellectual culture few around them have the vision to observe.

    10. And others love to engage in mental masturbation because they don't know how to do real thinking.

    11. David, are you sure she's a woman?

      Seriously, all women experience harassment. She is telling you she doesn't want to talk about it with you.

  4. "Might we tell you what we saw when we read that report? We saw a large indifference to the fact that many teenagers are alleging a very serious crime." BS

    Might I tell you what any sentient TDH reader "saw" in that second sentence?

    Somerby sometimes sees things which aren't there. Repeatedly in this opus on the MIT sexual assault report, Somerby complains that the report did not break down undergraduate responses by class membership. Several times he "presumably" postulated that the number of freshman and sophomores in the survey drove the numbers of those reporting a very serious crime "way down." How could a freshman be raped or assaulted when they had only been on campus "ten minutes" This was an effort to bolster his theory of how bad the survey and its report are. But when he wants to bolster his theory that the "grown ups in the press and university administration "don't care" he sees "many teenagers" making the allegations.

    Might I tell you want Somerby "doesn't see" for the fourth straight post? The opening words of the report. "In Spring, 2014." Not surprising. Somerby didn't see a young girl in Tuscaloosa get into a 4 year college despite constant reports in his very own comment box.

    1. And to apply Somerby logic, since he only mentions "teenagers" alleging a very serious crime, he obviously cares nothing about 20-year-old women who are raped.

    2. "Did a large number of undergraduate women say they’ve been raped on this campus?"

      Yes. So did a large number of graduate women. Bob doesn't care about them either.

    3. Why do you say he doesn't care? He did mention the statistics for graduate students. His complaint is that the Chancellor and Professor both seem more focused on the definitions of harassment than on the number of women being raped on their campus. They should have been expressing some distress over that and describing efforts to address that problem. That they instead are focusing on harassment does seem kind of odd.

      But I really don't understand why you are attributing the lack of caring to Somerby, when he is the one complaining that not enough is being done to address the most serious crimes being uncovered by the survey.

    4. "Why do you say he doesn't care?"

      Because he didn't mention it in THAT sentence. It's the Somerby Rules that he never seems to apply to himself.

      And I love your use of the Somerby weasel word "seem" in the very next sentence.

      Yes, it doesn't matter if they are actually more focused on the definition of harrassment than on the number of women being raped. It only matters if they "seem" that way to Somerby and yourself.

      And if they only "seem" guilty to Bob, that's all the evidence his fans need to follow along and proclaim them guilty of whatever Bob accuses them of.

      And please, just for a moment, pause to understand what Bob is accusing Chancellor Barnhart, Professor Fourbert, and any reporter who dares to write that there seems to be discrepancies in the understanding of "sexual harrassment."

      If he is going to accuse them of not caring about rape, he needs more evidence that what it "seems" to him.

      After all, when his buddy Al said, "During my service in Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet," it "seemed" to a lot of people that he said he invented the Internet.

      See how easy the "seem" game is? And how easy it is to fool some of the people, some of the time with it?