MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2020
The endless roads not taken: In what world can a presidential election occur without anyone citing the data shown below? Without anyone asking the commander in chief to explain these numbers?
Deaths from Covid-19, September 10-16:
United States: 6,258
In what universe can those numbers exist without anyone citing them? In what world can President Trump praise his handling of the virus without George Stephanopoulos asking him about those remarkable numbers?
In what world can that exist? In the largely Potemkin world we're all living in!
Over the years, we've mentioned other remarkable data sets which never get reported or discussed.
We've mentioned the data about the large rise in public school test scores recorded by all demographic groups. We've mentioned the very large "achievement gaps" which remain, even as each group's scores get substantially better.
Those remarkable data never get mentioned. Neither do such remarkable data as these:
Per capita spending, health care, 2018
United States: $10,586
United Kingdom: $4070
Say what? Why do we spend more than twice as much on health care, per person, as almost all major peer nations—major peer nations in which everyone is covered?
Where does all that missing money go? How can this be explained?
Such data are never reported, let alone discussed or explained. Your upper-end press corps doesn't care about matters like this, or perhaps some sort of fix is in.
Remember Kevin Drum's remarkable reports about blood lead levels in Flint as compared to the blood lead levels which were common in Flint, and around the nation, within just the past two decades?
The New York Times and the Washington Post took a pass on those data. Data are boring, confusing and hard. Storyline is pleasing and fun.
Let's put it very simply. We've all heard that we the humans are "the rational animal." We also see that our major journalists are often straight outta Harvard and Yale.
(Stephanopoulos graduated from Columbia—second in his class!)
We tend to believe our own propaganda about the nature of the species and about the way a person becomes "highly educated." In fact, our major journalists, and our major news orgs, seem to be functioning in some wholly other realm.
Statistics, data and facts are hard. Storyline is easy.
Statistics, data and facts are boring. Personality and gossip are fun.
Maya Angelou is said to have said it, and we liberals love to repeat it: "When someone shows you who they are, you should believe them the first time."
Our journalists and our major news orgs have persistently shown us who they are. They're a weirdly unimpressive gaggle. More on this problem all week.