Latest fact-checking follies from the New York Times: Yesterday morning, observing all procedures, a group of analysts awakened us at an early hour.
They assumed we'd want to see the report which had appeared in the New York Times. Written by Linda Qiu, the report appeared beneath this headline:
Fact-Checking Kamala Harris on the Campaign TrailLithely, we sprang into action. Soon, we were consulting with top anthropologists about what the Times had wrought.
We'd been curious to see how Qiu had handled an obvious misstatement Harris had made on a series of high-profile occasions. We ourselves had leaped into action when Harris told Ari Melber this:
MELBER (5/20/19): Let's start with this. What does your plan do to combat the gender pay gap?Rather plainly, Harris told the compliant Melber that women, on average, get paid 80 percent as much as men for doing the same or equal work—the same work a male colleague is doing right there in the next cubicle!
HARRIS: Well, first of all, it is just a fact, right? So the reality of this is that we don't have to debate the point, which is that, on average, women make 80 cents on the dollar to men. If you're talking about African-American women, that's 61 cents. If it's Latinas, it's 53 cents.
So there is an obvious issue that we have around, not only disparities but fairness, and equal pay for equal work. So let's get beyond that because it's not a debatable point.
The question becomes, what are we going to do about it? And I think the goal, we would all agree, should be that people should be paid equally for equal work.
HARRIS: Look, Ari, it's for real that that woman is getting paid 80 cents on the dollar. It's for real that that other woman is getting paid 61 cents on the dollar.
It's for real that that other woman is getting paid 53 cents on the dollar. And she's sitting at her kitchen table in the middle of the night trying to figure out how she can pay her bills.
When she wakes up at the same time the next morning as the guy who was working in the cubicle next to her, she performs the same work, but she's not getting paid the same amount. That's for real too.
Everyone knows that isn't true. But within our floundering, pitiful tribe, we very much like to say it.
(Almost) everyone understands that Harris' statement is bogus. Indeed, after she said it again to Stephen Colbert, PolitiFact offered this correction, noting that Harris' staff acknowledged that she had "misspoken."
Wearily, PolitiFact noted that the site had corrected this type of misstatement before. That said, so has everyone else on the planet!
For example, to see Fact-Check.org correct this groaner in 2012, you can just click here.
To see the Washington Post's Fact-Checker site correct it in 2016, you can just click this. Wearily, Glenn Kessler offered this overview of his struggles in this area:
KESSLER (4/14/16): "Equal Pay Day” is supposed to symbolize how far a woman must work into the next year to make as much as a man. Every April, Democrats hold events calling attention to a persistent wage gap between men and women, citing the latest number from the Census Bureau. (In 2012, 2013 and 2014, it was 77 cents; in 2015, it was 78 cents; and in 2016, it is now 79 cents.)For the record, Kessler said the basic statistic here is "misleading." When she spoke with Melber and Colbert, Harris made explicit statements about the statistic which were simply false.
And every year since 2012, The Fact Checker has offered an explanation of this figure and why it is misleading. We have updated this account with some new research on the issue.
Everybody knows that Harris' statements have been false. But leading anthropologists tell us that Harris' basic claim is a "sacred misstatement."
These experts, who report to us from the future, tell us that this unusual term became a staple of anthropology among the scholars who survived the conflagration they refer to as "Mister Trump's War."
According to these future experts, we humans were wired to create and promulgate pleasing tribal "fictions," much as Professor Harari futilely tried to explain. Some of these fictions were so central to the tribal perspective that they came to play the role of sacred scripture within our "poorly-wired" brains.
These were the "sacred misstatements" which apparently form a key part of retrospective future anthropology. This helps explain why we leaped out of bed yesterday morning, eager to see how Linda Qiu had handled Harris' misstatements.
Rather plainly, the New York Times is our dumbest and most absurdly tribal contemporary "liberal" newspaper. Hungrily, we fell upon our hard-copy Times and turned to Qiu's report.
Sure enough! Qiu had completely skipped these high-profile groaners by Harris! Instead, she examined five innocuous statements by Harris, finding only one to be "false."
At any rate, Linda Qiu completely skipped Harris' misstatements about the gender pay gap. We felt this confirmed the work of our anthropological experts, along with our own assessments of the New York Times.
Before we were done, though, we decided to conduct our own check! Our question:
Has the New York Times ever fact-checked that "sacred misstatement" about the gender pay gap?
Every fact-checker in the world has noted, often on a repeated basis, that statements like Harris' are false. Has the New York Times ever been willing to let its readers know that?
We googled, and when we did—well, good lord but the Times is just sad!
When we googled, we hit upon this recent piece by Maya Salam, a "gender reporter" for the Times.
The piece appeared on April 2 of this year. It ran beneath these dispassionate headlines:
Womansplaining the Pay GapIn short, the gender reporter spoke to the gender editor, after which she womansplained the matter. As she did, she produced a world-class example of journalistic misdirection and error, in service to tribal belief.
I asked the gender editor of The Times to walk us through the details.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but we're beginning to think our future experts may be right.
Our tribe is just extremely sad. Thirty years of this mugging and clowning ended with Trump where he is.