How to gin tribal war: Yay yay yay yay yay yay yay! The headline on the Times news report spoke about Us and Them:
"Democrats Think Men Have It Easier. Republicans Disagree."
Yay yay yay yay yay yay yay! Over here, We think one way. Over there, They think another!
That headline tops Claire Cain Miller's on-line report for the brainiac Times blog, The Upshot. This morning, the same headline topped Miller's report on page A15 in our hard-copy Times.
(The graphics you see in the on-line report didn't appear in the hard-copy Times.)
Sadly, that headline is highly misleading. Headline included, here you see the first two paragraphs of Miller's report:
MILLER (10/18/17): Democrats Think Men Have It Easier. Republicans Disagree.Oops! In actual point of fact, only 49% of Democrats answered that murkily-rendered question in the murkily-rendered way that headline describes!
Whether or not people think it’s a good time to be a woman or a man in the United States depends largely on their political party, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.
More than two-thirds of Democrats say the country needs to do more to give women equal rights, compared with only a quarter of Republicans who say that, the Pew report found. Meanwhile, half of Democrats say men have it easier these days, compared with 19 percent of Republicans.
Let's take a look at the record. In the actual survey, 49% of Democrats said they think that "men have it easier," whatever exactly that means.
Miller rounded that off to "half." In the headline, it was simply (and dumbly) said that "Democrats" hold that view!
In this way, the New York Times managed to turn "half" of Democrats into something that sounds like all! We Democrats think that men have it easier. Over There, Those People do not!
Seriously. What the fungk goes through the head of a journalist—a New York Times editor, no less—who composes a headline like that? Is he or she mesmerized by Rachel's Cialis ads, like the nation's best magazine writer?
For the record, performance like this suffuses the Times on a daily basis. In passing, might we make a few comments?
Miller's report is almost completely worthless. Due to the fuzzy questions asked of respondents, so is this whole Pew survey, on which she was reporting.
Having said that, let us also say this. In this silly presentation by the Times, we're looking at the eternal "human" desire to manufacture the appearance of essential tribal difference.
According to the Pew report, respondents were asked this question:
"All things considered, who do you think has it easier these days—men or women?"
Apparently, respondents were offered a third possible answer: "No difference." This is the way the numbers turned out:
Who has it easier these days?Without any doubt, responses by the two groups of respondents weren't exactly the same. On the other hand, it isn't like all Democrats thought X while all Republicans thought Y, the way that Times headline suggests.
Men: 49 percent
No difference: 45 percent
Women: 6 percent
Men: 19 percent
No difference: 68 percent
Women: 12 percent
In fact, responses by the two groups were more alike than different. We base this assessment on our own award-winning statistic, the internationally-acclaimed "dinner party metric."
Suppose you're holding a large dinner party. You'll be hosting two hundred guests—one hundred from each party.
If you were seating pairs of guests based on their answers to this question, you could match seventy Republicans with Democrats who had given the same answer. This would include all 19 Republicans who said "women;" 45 of the Republicans who said "no difference;" and six of the Republicans who said "men."
You would only have to seat thirty couples whose responses had differed. In their responses, the two parties agreed more than they disagreed—until you read that pitiful headline in the New York Times.
Let's review. Miller turned 49 percent into "half." A headline writer then turned "half" into the appearance of "all."
Readers glancing at that headline got a familiar warm glow. Our Tribe thinks one thing, Their Tribe thinks another! Yay yay yay yay yay!
We liberals got to feel wonderfully good, knowing how wrong They are. Low-IQ performance of this type suffuses the work of the New York Times, where writers may still be mesmerized by last night's Cialis ads, or perhaps by a certain someone's performance of the Rachel figure.
"Her performance of the Rachel figure?" Boy howdy! More on that bullship tomorrow.