The Times presents its methodology!


Health spending, schools trumped by songs:
Dear God! We've just returned from attendance at an impossibly chic Wednesday luncheon.

At this event, an acquaintance called our attention to something we skipped in this morning's report. He read aloud the "methodology" employed by the New York Times.

The Times devised and employed this methodology in the course of its latest front-page report—the report which tells us about the songs being played at campaign rallies. And yes, the report appeared on the front page of this morning's Times, a fact we should have noted in our own award-winning report.

The New York Times has done it again! Here's how they gathered their info:

The New York Times reached out to each candidate’s campaign team for his or her full playlist. For the ones who did not provide the playlist—President Trump, Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Bernie Sanders—Times reporters went to each candidates’ rallies to obtain the list of songs using an online application that helps instantly identify music.

The Times then analyzed a total of 306 songs on the candidates’ playlists.
The pop music editor determined the genre of the songs. For race and gender of an artist or band, The Times took into account only the lead singer. For gender analysis, if there was no lead performer and the group features both male and female members, a separate category was created. For the word frequency chart, The Times analyzed the lyrics in each song, leaving out filler words like “the,” “yeah,” and “bam.”

Walk-up songs can change, and the order of the songs on each playlist doesn’t reflect the actual sequence played at rallies.


An earlier version of this article misstated the number of female-led acts on Bernie Sanders’s playlist. The band Against Me! has a female lead singer on the song “Unconditional Love,” not a male one.


Video research by Noor Gill. Photos by Tony Cenicola and Todd Heisler. Additional photo production by Jessica White. Additional development by Alastair Coote.
Filler words like "bam" weren't included!

Let's start with one very basic point—these people are out of their minds. Humans rarely get this dumb unless they're employed by the Times.

Meanwhile, congratulations to Candidates Biden, Sanders and Trump for their failure and/or refusal to respond to the Times' requests. They were willing to make the New York Times use that online app!

The New York Times spared no expense, avoided no effort, in keeping us readers fully informed about the top candidates' songs. By way of contrast, the Times has never reported these remarkable OECD data, let alone tried to explain them:
Per capita spending, health care, 2018
United States: $10,586
Germany: $5986
Canada: $4974
France: $4965
Japan: $4766
United Kingdom: $4070
(South) Korea: $3192
Where's all that "missing money" going? To a very large extent, that missing money explains our stagnant wages, our federal deficits, and our failure to achieve universal health coverage. But so what? The Times has never reported the missing money's existence, let alone tried to explain it.

The paper has also never reported the size of our "racial" achievement gaps on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (Naep), the widely-praised gold standard of domestic educational testing. Instead, it sends a young reporter to NPR, where she makes the lunatic claim that the gaps are the result of test prep, full stop.

The Times has also never reported the size of the very large score gains all demographic groups have achieved on the Naep down through the years. Instead, Nikole Hannah-Jones hands us a grossly misleading account which suggests that these score gains haven't occurred. Since there are no scores from 1619, we can make no important comparisons!

Spending on heath care? Public school progress? The Times doesn't bother with piddle like that.

The silly newspaper does work hard to keep us abreast of the candidates' songs! This is a story of human incompetence. As experts keep telling us late at night, it's an anthropological problem.

Tomorrow: Campaign song gaffes from the past


  1. "The Times then analyzed a total of 306 songs on the candidates’ playlists. The pop music editor determined the genre of the songs. For race and gender of an artist or band, The Times took into account only the lead singer. "

    What a fucking comedy.

    No deliberate parody, no monty fucking python could've done a better job.

    1. Evidently the Times has two rules:

      -- Everything is about Presidential politics.
      -- Everything is about race, gender and ethnicity.

      I remember when a song stood on its own. When the great songs written by Cole Porter were not called "gay songs". Songs by the Gershwin brothers weren't classified as "Jew songs" Songs by Dorothy Fields weren't considered "female songs".

      If we could only go back to those days...

    2. Ah, the good old days, when Village People songs like “YMCA”, “Macho Man” and “In The Navy” were considered just good old straight non-gay songs.

    3. Ah, the good old days when songs like “Oh Dem Golden Slippers” or “Mammy” were innocently sung in blackface using phony black dialect and were certainly not considered “black” songs or “racist” songs.

    4. You are correct, @6:08. Al Jolson, the quintessential blackface singer, was a crusader for black performers in show business. Apparently he didn't consider blackface offensive to blacks.

      Unfortunately, we have gotten better at finding offense in all kinds of innocent things. I don't think this hyper-offensibility helps anyone.

    5. It doesn't matter what Jolson thought about blackface. What matters is what black people think (and thought) about blackface.

      People with power think they can do anything to anyone and if anyone objects they are being too sensitive. When someone uses a sentence that begins: "You shouldn't think..." or "You shouldn't feel...", watch out because the gaslighting is about to begin.

    6. Someone left the cake out in the rain... is just about a cake.

    7. "I am woman hear me numbers too big to ignore" isn't a woman's song?

    8. OK @7:27. So, what did black people in Jolson's era think about blackface?

    9. Here is a rundown on blackface that includes info about how black people reacted to it:

      It was intended to amuse white people but it offended and embarrassed black people, who felt demeaned by it.

      Some black performers used black face themselves but that was because it was the only way they could work at all.

      The blackface performances propagated negative black stereotypes that were actively harmful to all black people.

      That you had to ask that question says a whole bunch about you, David. How would you feel if you were everywhere confronted by demeaning stereotypes about yourself daily, that others laughed at while you suffered?

    10. David lives in a world with fellow Conservatives everyday. If that doesn't demean him, it's because he's even worse than they are.

    11. Was blackface always demeaning? Nick Tosches didn't think so.

      Because few people now black or white have ever seen the full variety of blackface, no one can say for sure how "hurtful" it was.

      Are the Three Stooges demeaning to white males? Will (especially early) Mick Jagger someday soon be seen as a distasteful parody of black artists? Why not?

      Joe Cocker? 60s white blues artists?

      No? Why not?

    12. These are examples of an action carried out in a different context. The context for black people was recent slavery and Jim Crow and their status in society was being enforced via mechanisms like black face. You cannot say the same about Joe Cocker.

      Don't be obtuse. Context matters, intent matters, and it matters who is wearing blackface and for what purpose.

      That white males consider Three Stooges hilarious is pretty demeaning to white males, in my opinion. But if you want to draw some parallel, it wasn't black people who were laughing at those white faces painted black. And that matters a lot.

      No one is calling out Mick Jagger and pretending that progressives may do so at some point in the future is reducing the real pain of blackface as a mechanism of enforcing black subjugation to some triviality of white liberal politics.

      Blackface wasn't imitating black people because it admired their style and wanted to emulate it, as Mick Jagger may have been. It was perpetrating negative stereotypes of black people for white amusement in order to draw the color line more explicitly during a time when there was a rearrangement of racial power relationships following the Civil War. It was the precursor to Jim Crow. No one can say that Mick Jagger's music served to put black musicians in any kind of ghetto, musically speaking.

      No one should have to explain this to you.

    13. Context? The TDH gang don't need no stinkin context.

      Is TDH an authority? I mean, it's a nice place to visit, but the truth miners seem unconvinced.

      During the 2018 election, the Dems ran on healthcare and triumphed, the consternation the NY Times stimulates for TDH is perhaps a tad convenient and overblown.

  2. “We've just returned from attendance at an impossibly chic Wednesday luncheon.”

    They (he) just returned from an impossibly chic luncheon so that they (he) can devote more time to perusing the impossibly chic New York Times, which, as we all know, caters to an impossibly chic clientele in the Hamptons. And they (he) can waste hundreds of words on a blog entry that is silly about a story that is silly while chastising the Times for not discussing important non-silly matters (although, despite his sick “joke” about 1619, one might not classify the 1619 project about the history of black America that the Times is currently publishing as “silly”, and despite the existence of a multitude of stories about those non-silly matters).

    Question for them (him): Were any of your former students, those deserving black kids from inner city Baltimore, in attendance at that impossibly chic luncheon, by any chance? Did you meet any of them on your recent sojourn to Maine? Do you ever go anywhere that isn’t impossibly chic?

    1. Sorry to hear about your right ventromedial prefrontal cortex.

  3. Hello again my friends,

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  4. Somerby is being ignorant and anti-intellectual again. The so-called methodology described by the NY Times is little different than the way academics would approach a content analysis. You need a methodology in order to demonstrate objectivity in classifying those songs and their attributes. It would be wrong not to have one.

    Somerby sounds like an awful person. I'm glad he doesn't come to any of my chic parties.

    1. My friends would commend me on being "woke" enough to invite a homeless person but wonder why I didn't invite any immigrants or, better yet, refugees. I would then have to explain that he was my token Other, not a dude who sleeps in his car (with the voices in his head). I would lose cachet among the trendy elites (e.g., those with houses bigger than mine).

  5. I was speculating to my husband that Trump had picked that fight with Denmark (over buying Greenland) because he didn't want to visit Denmark and was looking for a reason not to go. Now it turns out that Obama is also going to Denmark, right after Trump was scheduled to go, and Trump apparently fears being upstaged by Obama.

    Imagine how freeing it must be to have so much money that you needn't care what people think of you, so you don't even have to have your excuses for not doing things make any sense. He doesn't care what anyone in the press says about him as long as he doesn't have to travel to Denmark. But why didn't he just say he didn't want to go? I guess he still wants to pretend he is doing the job of presidenting.

  6. “The Times has also never reported the size of the very large score gains all demographic groups have achieved on the Naep down through the years.”

    Here’s a very recent report, surprisingly/not surprisingly unmentioned at TDH, that casts a bit of doubt on Somerby’s glib, unexamined statement:

    “The Achievement Gap Fails to Close”, by Eric Hanushek and Others.

    It turns out that these “very large score gains” have occurred only in younger students (ages 13-15). There is no such “very large score gain” for 17-year-olds. As a matter of fact, the scores for this age group are flat, with a downturn more recently, as the above report shows. (Page 6). In other words, the vaunted gains in younger years are not sustained into high school and beyond.

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