G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
Hoax stories fascinates me. It’s not so much the people perpetuating the hoax, but the machine that makes it such that we all hear about a story that someone fabricated that somehow rises to the level of Truth – or at least what some people believe to be The Truth. Every hoax requires someone believing that the underlying events were true. It is that psychology – that lack of good sense and skepticism – that interests me.
What is the mechanism that turns an event that consists solely of someone saying that something happened into a major news story? Also, does the mindset that is conducive to falling for hoaxes have an generalizable patterns? Does the liberal slant of the media mean that hoaxes will tend to be perpetuated by people whose hoaxes are based upon liberal grievances? A hoax is only a hoax because we hear about it. “The medium is the message,” as
Malcolm Marshall McLuhan wrote. It would stand to reason that hoaxes will take on some of the characteristics of the medium through which they pass.
Dave Weigel discussed the latest hoax which was perpetuated by The Bachelor producer and ABC employee Elan Gale:
This is fairly fucked. Yes, people on the Internet want to believe salacious stories. Reporters want to publish stories that people read. If there’s a great reward, and little downside, to be had in publishing bullshit, the Internet’s going to get more bullshit. As one of my colleagues put it, ” ‘Too good to check’ used to be a warning to newspaper editors not to jump on bullshit stories. Now it’s a business model.”
Here’s a recap of what Gale did. Long story short, he made up an elaborate story about a woman named Diane who was complaining at an airport terminal about a flight delay. Gale told her “eat my dick” at one point. People thought all of this was funny for some reason as if saying “eat my dick” is humorous in 2013. Several days later Gale admitted that he was pulling everyone’s leg, but of course he cast it off as just a big joke. I don’t buy that, but it doesn’t really matter. Whatever his intentions Gale received a tangible benefit from the untruth. Gale picked up something like 140,000 Twitter followers because of the hoax. That’s a substantial following, and it actually has a monetary value. Twitter followers actually have weight. They are not currency because they can not be traded (yet), but a large following connotes power, prestige, and status. And Gale received all of those followers, and BuzzFeed received 1.3 million pageviews (from the original post and also a substantial amount of traffic from the follow up retraction-nonretraction) which brought them advertising revenue.
What Gale has done is essentially taken what I’ll call an “attention tax”. He grabbed a little bit of attention from tens and hundreds of thousands of people. I first heard about this story when I was driving home from Thanksgiving dinner. I had my attention focused on the road and the radio while I was driving. My girlfriend was reading BuzzFeed (why, I don’t know, but we’ll work this out later). Our attention was not necessarily being applied to its highest purpose, but nevertheless, the story captured her attention. She in turn captured my attention. For the record, she thought the story was funny, and I had to make a passing comment after she read me the story while I was driving that even if it were true the story had no comical value. It just wasn’t funny. Gale’s delivery wasn’t funny, and his antics in battling this fictional Diane were not clever. I could have done a much better job, I thought.
Anyway, Gale and BuzzFeed — or Gale *because of* BuzzFeed — essentially stole our attention and reaped the financial benefits. But nobody will care enough to do anything about this model. Some people who followed Gale might unfollow him, and some people might make decisions at the margin to not read BuzzFeed (but it’s a hard site to avoid at this point).
Weigel did a good job of tackling this downside of the internet and the media outlets that have sprung up through it. But there are two things wrong with Weigel’s hand-wringing. First, there are plenty of other hoaxes that have taken place that don’t get the same attention that Gale’s did. I figure that that is a function of a couple of things: Gale’s hoax did not hit on identity issues; it was not perpetuated by someone who would be protected from criticism in knee-jerk fashion; second, Gale’s hoax took place largely on Weigel’s turf and was carried out by someone else in big media.
My other problem with Weigel’s post is that he’s fallen for hoaxes himself and never issued a corrective over it. Granted, he didn’t get 1.4 million pageviews from his parroting, but back in March 2012, Weigel regurgitated what we now know is a lie about George Zimmerman saying “fucking coons” on the phone call to the Sanford police shortly before he shot Trayvon Martin. Now, whatever you think about Zimmerman’s behavior that night, there is pretty much no doubt that Zimmerman said something other than “coons”. The Zimmerman case, if not a hoax all the way through, had many of the same elements as a hoax. The main difference is that this hoax was perpetuated by a group of people rather than one individual, as is usually the case with hoaxes. But it should be considered a quasi-hoax because it was based on a series of lies and untruths and repeated relentlessly and uncritically for a long period of time.
1. The woman whose pity story about living a life of poverty, having bad teeth, having two kids, being shunted into the back of the kitchen in her restaurant job, and having to kill roaches while living in a pay-by-week motel went viral at Gawker and then at Huffington Post. The woman, Linda Tirado, laid out all of the reasons she doesn’t – or can’t – want to not be poor. At one point she said she smokes because that’s all there is for a hopeless poor person to do. Tirado capitalized on the story’s popularity and set up a fundraiser. She was given $62,000 by hundreds of dupes throughout the country. She says she will use to fix her teeth. She will now write a book.
It’s no big surprise that Tirado has been less than forthcoming about her situation. Turns out that some of the things she wrote about are not her current plight. She is married to a Marine. Her teeth don’t seem all that bad. She goes to school at Southern Utah University where she is a member of the College Democrats. She’s billed herself as a political consultant. On her blog she has a picture of herself with President Obama. She bought a home with her husband. She went to private school. Here’s something she wrote in a note of gratitude to the many people who’ve fallen for her sob story:
I have been privileged while poor, because I am fucked up and spent decades in therapy, because I have been given access to these words, I am well-suited to this.
The woman has many, many mental issues but simp liberals on the internet for some reason only read the truest and noblest intentions into every sob story they read on the internet.
2. Glenn Greenwald absolutely spanks Mark Ames for his fixation on Greenwald for allegedly bogarting the Edward Snowden NSA documents. Ames only cares about Greenwald’s stewardship of the documents because Ames thinks Greenwald is a Koch operative. Usually, internet arguments often end in a stalemate, but that is not the case here. Greenwald’s basic point – in response to detractors cackling that the Snowden documents are public domain – is that Snowden risked his job and his life to procure those documents. He chose to leak to Greenwald and a few other journalists so that they could curate them, judge them, and post them in a responsible fashion rather than just dump them on the internet. Greenwald supplements the smackdown by pointing out that Ames is now employed by Pando Daily, in which libertarian billionaire Peter Thiel has invested.
3. A black teacher at Minneapolis Community and Technical College who was teaching about structural racism pissed off 3 white male students and was reprimanded. Here’s her response:
In the wake of the reprimand, Gibney told City College, “I don’t feel safe in the class anymore.”
“I definitely feel like I’m a target in the class. I don’t feel like students respect me,” she continued. “Those students were trying to undermine my authority from the get-go. And I told the lawyer at the investigatory meeting, ‘You have helped those three white male students succeed in undermining my authority as one of the few remaining black female professors here.’”
4. Violence in county jails has increased dramatically in California after the state started diverting inmates from state prisons. Not surprising, but this poses a problem for county jail inmates who are more likely to be serving time for non-violent offenses. This reminds me of the time when I was 19 and got arrested for an outstanding traffic ticket. At booking I was in line just in front of a guy who was being charged with attempted murder. He looked like Jeffrey Dahmer.
5. Noam Chomsky talked about the same topics he’s always talking about. But he did go in one interesting direction in an interview with Salon. It’s worth quoting at length:
Each time labor has been attacked—and as I said, in the 1920s the labor movement was practically destroyed—popular efforts were able to reconstitute it. That can happen again. It’s not going to be easy. There are institutional barriers, ideological barriers, cultural barriers. One big problem is that the white working class has been pretty much abandoned by the political system. The Democrats don’t even try to organize them anymore. The Republicans claim to do it; they get most of the vote, but they do it on non-economic issues, on non-labor issues. They often try to mobilize them on the grounds of issues steeped in racism and sexism and so on, and here the liberal policies of the 1960s had a harmful effect because of some of the ways in which they were carried out. There are some pretty good studies of this. Take busing to integrate schools. In principle, it made some sense, if you wanted to try to overcome segregated schools. Obviously, it didn’t work. Schools are probably more segregated now for all kinds of reasons, but the way it was originally done undermined class solidarity.
For example, in Boston there was a program for integrating the schools through busing, but the way it worked was restricted to urban Boston, downtown Boston. So black kids were sent to the Irish neighborhoods and conversely, but the suburbs were left out. The suburbs are more affluent, professional and so on, so they were kind of out of it. Well, what happens when you send black kids into an Irish neighborhood? What happens when some Irish telephone linemen who have worked all their lives finally got enough money to buy small houses in a neighborhood where they want to send their kids to the local school and cheer for the local football team and have a community, and so on? All of a sudden, some of their kids are being sent out, and black kids are coming in. How do you think at least some of these guys will feel? At least some end up being racists. The suburbs are out of it, so they can cluck their tongues about how racist everyone is elsewhere, and that kind of pattern was carried out all over the country.
During a visit to a bookstore yesterday to observe Small Business Saturday, President Obama purchased “The Sports Gene” by David Epstein. The book tries to figure out what makes certain groups who are isolated by racial similarities or geographic compartmentalization excel at certain sports. Perhaps the most interesting part of the book (based upon blurbs; I haven’t read it) deals with Jamaican sprinters.
Epstein received some pushback from academics and colleagues when pursuing the book. They were of course afraid that delving into the topic of race and group differences would lead to a slippery slope of acknowledging innate differences in intelligence.
Epstein’s comments about Obama’s purchase were interesting. He uses an interesting term to describe the subject of his book:
“I’m pleased and certainly surprised he picked up my book, but not at all surprised he’s interested in the topics,” said Epstein, who was reached by The Daily Caller News Foundation via email.
“I don’t think the president does nor should shy away from topics like gender and race — and certainly not from the science of genetics — that are important to Americans and humans generally,” said Epstein, adding that he wants to use the stage of sports to explore the deepest questions about “human biological diversity.”
“I hope he enjoys using sports to delve into evolution, genetics, and questions about nature and nurture as much as I did,” Epstein told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
1. In order to marginalize the skewed incidents of quasi-random black-on-white violence, journos are instead having a shadow discussion over whether or not ‘Knockout Game’ is a trend, an epidemic, or even a game. This misses the point which is, as Colin Flaherty says in this interview, part of a larger pattern of quasi-random crimes perpetrated by black youth which also takes place in the form of ‘flash robs’ and pure old fashioned street-level group attacks. The real story is not that this has risen to trend or epidemic level – what is a trend? what constitutes an epidemic? – it’s that the crimes have occurred and it is beyond random chance that it is almost unanimously black youth who are carrying out the crimes. What is a trend is that the news media is now covering these crimes. And, oh, forgive us who’ve been writing on these crimes and patterns for a while now for spending a little bit of time discussing their social significance. The stories have been hidden for so long that there’s a lot of catching up to do.
a. Matt Yglesias talks more about the time he was the victim of a quasi-random street attack.
b. Emma Roller seems to want more hard proof. As far as street-level crime goes all of the Youtube videos documenting these crimes is as good of evidence as you’re going to get. And it’s completely damning. Besides that, cities don’t go all that granular on street crime. And victims are often hesitant to come forward to either talk about their attacks or call it what it is.
c. Jamelle Bouie thinks that this is all white hysteria. But this is the same guy who wrote a piece denying black-on-black crime exists. Bouie missed the point on that topic as well. Perhaps conservatives are framing the issue of black-on-black crime poorly – but what is really driving the concern about black-on-black crime is that the *levels* of the crime are extremely high relative to other racial groups. Bouie got mired down in making the point that most crime is intraracial. Yes, of course it is. But, again, that misses the point. Seems that Bouie thought he had a real winner of an argument there given his propensity for re-tweeting that article.
2. Just ruminating here on why the mainstream media so inconsistently labels things a trend. A series of individual events of a similar character and nature are more likely to be labeled a trend by the mainstream media in this order:
a. If the gatekeeper-reporter likes the pattern and likes the people engaging in it. Ex: Flash mobs, quinoa.
b. If the gatekeeper-reporter does not like the pattern and does not like the people engaging in it. Ex: Cyberbullying.
c. If the gatekeeper-reporter likes the pattern but does not like the people engaging in it. Ex: Joan Walsh’s response to libertarians rallying against the NSA.
d. If the gatekeeper-reporter does not like the pattern but does like (or sympathize with, feel guilt for, or seek to excuse) the people or group engaging in it. Ex: Knockout, flash robs.
3. A crowd-sourced escape from poverty? Linda Tirado has made a series of bad choices in her life. She’s poor but writes well enough to be published by Gawker (which isn’t saying much) such that people felt the need to give her something like $50,000. Her story sounds like it’s embellished for effect. Not that I’m against duping idiotic liberals out of their money.
4. Women regret past sexual escapades while men wish they’d had more. The author of the article detailing some research on the topic doesn’t want to chalk any of this up to evolution.
For one, I always find it hard to believe that modern young men’s sexual decisions are guided by an evolutionary desire to reproduce with as many women as possible, when most are terrified by the thought of accidentally getting someone pregnant.
5. Rod Dreher was almost fooled by the story of waitress-hoaxtress Dayna Morales. He thought that the bigoted receipt message she received was “awful”, but he’s glad he waited to report on the story.
Tim Cavanaugh has a good piece at The Daily Caller pointing out that the New York Times finally met a series of similar events it didn’t think qualified as a trend. Cavanaugh writes:
America’s newspaper of record, which eagerly reported on bogus trends in church burnings, the looming bee extinction and other subjects, doubts the “knockout game” is a thing.
The New York Times has discovered that the media panic over the “knockout game” — in which primarily black youths engage in random, violent, racist attacks against mostly white victims — is just a product of “fear sown by reports” that “may have racial roots.”
Really, the point of all of this argument about the nature of “Knockout Game” – whether or not it’s a trend or a game – is that it would be considered a trend if whites were targeting blacks. Contrary to what a lot of prestige pressers are saying, the interest in the trend of the media choosing to never address the racial component of the crimes, however many there are. The news value is not that these crimes are occurring with enough frequency such that it would be wise for all of us to stay inside. Instead, the value of the entire collection of these quasi-random attacks on strangers without monetary motive is that they are almost unanimously carried out by black youth. But by focusing on whether or not this rises to the level of an actual trend or whether it is an actual game is really missing the point.
But as for Cavanaugh’s point about the Times, a couple years ago, Slate’s Jack Shafer called out a New York Times piece which reported on a supposed trend of criminals wearing New York Yankees ballcaps during the commission of their crimes. Shafer wrote:
Despite un-announcing the trend, the Times persists, offering this evidence: “Since 2000, more than 100 people who have been suspects or persons of interest in connection with serious crimes in New York City wore Yankees apparel at the time of the crimes or at the time of their arrest or arraignment.” It also musters anecdotes about several crimes committed by people wearing Yankees garb.
Imagine if the Times devoted a piece to the trend of hoodies being worn during the commission of crimes.
It is no surprise that Dayna Morales, a gay waitress from New Jersey and a former Marine, most likely lied when she told the world that a family of 4 stiffed her and left her an anti-gay message on their dinner receipt.
Morales, whose story went viral after she emailed it to a gay-friendly website, produced the receipt on which was written “I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle.” Morales sent a picture of the receipt which showed that she was left no tip on a $93.55 tab.
The family, whose name was not published unlike with the Red Lobster waitress hoax story, said that they finally came forward after the story would not die and after Morales was given $3,000 in an outpouring of support.
They provided a copy of the restaurant receipt and a copy of their Visa bill to NBC 4 New York which showed that they spent $111.55 at the restaurant. Morales and the restaurant had no good explanation for the discrepancy.
The accused wife in this story told NBC 4 that she thinks that there was a bit of confusion when the family were first seated at their table. She said that when they were being seated the hostess told them that “Dan” would be right with them. When Morales, who has short, spiked hair, showed up to the table the wife said something like “whoa, you’re not Dan.” When Morales first told the story, she said that the wife said “Oh, I thought you were going to say you’re name is Dan. You sure surprised us!”
It’s pretty easy to see what’s going on here, assuming that the documents that the family provided to NBC 4 are legitimate. Morales was pissed at what she thought was a slight from the wife of the family. Carrying that chip on her shoulder – and even though the family tipped her generously – Morales thought that the message that she wrote on the receipt herself was a good enough representation of what that family *really* thought about her.
A similar communication gap probably led to the Red Lobster receipt fabrication from Toni Jenkins. What likely happened in that case was that the young couple at the center of that story had to leave the restaurant to take care of an emergency. They took their food to-go shortly after ordering at their table. Jenkins likely interpreted this as the couple not liking her for some reason. In Jenkins mind it seems it was only a small leap from there to assume that they didn’t like her because she is black. In fact, our society now trains people of minority status to think that every rejection of any kind is due to the minority’s minority-ness. Once that assumption is locked and loaded, it’s only a very small white lie to attach a fake bigoted message to the receipt.
When I was reporting on the Red Lobster receipt story the handwriting expert that conducted the analysis of Jenkins’s handwriting made a curious and unprovoked comment to me. He said that nearly all of the anonymous handwritten fabrications that he’s seen have come from women. I perked up at that because I’ve noted the same thing before.
The tendency here is to focus on the minority group members who perpetuate these hoaxes. But, instead, I look at sex. Under the auspices of hate acts, women are more likely to use these accusations to garner sympathy. Susan Smith and Bethany Storro claimed that blacks attacked them – the former claiming that a black man abducted and murdered her children while the latter claimed that a black women threw acid in her face out of jealousy. Back during the 2008 election a young woman falsely claimed that a man carved the letter ‘B’, signifying ‘Barack Obama’, on her face during a robbery attempt. Recently, two lesbians were found to be lying about a reported hate crime.
To me, this is an interesting sociological question that no serious academic will ever be allowed to actually study. If they did, the question would be framed as “why do women feel the need to perpetuate hate crime hoaxes more than men?” as if it is society’s fault.
Since that posting one of the more infamous hate crime hoax stories came from a lesbian named Charlie Rogers in Lincoln, Nebraska who said that she was raped and mutilated by some rednecks because she was gay. As with these other two cases Rogers was given money by a bunch of gullible morons.
Another twist on the Morales story is that the former Marine said she was going to donate the $3k she received in donations to the Wounded Warrior Project. That donation has not been confirmed.
White rapper Macklemore won Best Album at the American Music Awards last night. The win was a travesty, as Macklemore beat out a superior rapper and album in Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid M.A.A.D. City, but his victory speech was even worse.
Sitting alongside his production partner Ryan Jones, Macklemore spoke about Trayvon Martin. He quoted Martin Luther King before making a political statement about Trayvon Martin’s death and “the hundreds and hundreds of kids each year that are dying through racial profiling and the violence that follows it.”
Macklemore is half right. Hundreds and hundreds of black kids do die each year because of racial profiling. But what Macklemore willfully ignores is that it is black kids profiling other black kids that is the cause of so many of these deaths. And then there is “victim profiling” which is when a criminal targets a person perceived to be weaker or not street savvy. This tends to befall whites and other non-black minorities. Victim profiling is something Kendrick Lamar touched on in his superior album on the track “Money Trees”:
You looking like an easy come up, ya bish
A silver spoon I know you come from, ya bish
And that’s a lifestyle that we never knew
Go at a reverend for the revenue
The ironic thing is that even though Macklemore won the award and used it as a platform to talk about Trayvon Martin, Kendrick Lamar essentially rapped about someone like Martin. Lamar’s album was all about his own struggles growing up in Compton. It details the life prescribed to most black people who live in Compton and Miami Gardens and other similar cities. Lamar’s album could have been the soundtrack to Martin’s life. I still maintain that Martin was not a “bad kid” but instead one that wanted to act hard, both at school and in his neighborhood and also that night when he crossed paths with George Zimmerman.
The New York Times tackles “Knockout Game” and pretty much writes the article you’d expect. But, as always, it’s fun and important to pay close attention to the tactics used to downplay the existence of obvious patterns.
Here’s one sample among many in the article:
And in New York City, police officials are struggling to determine whether they should advise the public to take precautions against the Knockout Game — or whether in fact it existed.
But police officials cautioned that they had yet to see evidence of an organized Knockout Game spreading among teenagers online, though they have been reluctant to rule out the possibility.
There is particular concern within the department that widespread coverage could create the atmosphere where such a “game” could take hold in New York.
The bait-and-switch here is that instead of asking whether or not there are lots of incidents of these “random” attacks – and ones with racial disparities between the perps and victims – they ask if it is all part of a game. It doesn’t actually really matter to the victims and to the worried public whether or not this is all a game with a set of rules that is discussed and hashed out by its players. What truly matters is whether people are getting beaten up for no reason other than the passing amusement of the perpetrators. But by questioning whether there is some sort of organization to it all, the New York Times gets to avoid discussing the issue directly. “Is this happening?” versus “Is this happening in game form?” are two different questions, and it’s much harder to prove that this is all a sick game than it is to just acknowledge that for whatever reason and by whatever rules, black teenagers are targeting non-black people for no reason other than to try to knock them out cold.
It’s been both amusing and frustrating seeing people take up this topic. I’ve had two co-workers start talking about “Knockout Game”, probably after they saw an article on Facebook. I felt torture inside. I felt like a hipster who’d noticed a band waaaay before everyone else noticed them once they’d gone mainstream. One of the co-workers who asked me if I’d heard about the “game” (and I did an internal eye-roll, fuck you, and somersault all at once – it was a mixed bag of emotions) started rambling on about it. I let him ramble because I wanted to see how your regular apolitical person thinks about these stories when they see them in the news. He finally keyed in on the racial element without my coaxing. Then he said “but there are probably groups of white kids doing this too.” So I had to jump in and tell him that of the dozens if not hundreds of reports of “random” attacks by groups of teenagers that I’ve seen, absolutely zero have been white kids. He said “yeah, you’re right, but I just had to say that so I didn’t feel racist or anything.” This is pretty much the wavelength which the New York Times is working on, but more sophisticated.
1. Charles Murray points to a write-up at Brookings from Russ Whitehurst about a recent, robust, randomized study on the effects of pre-K on outcomes for kindergartners and first-graders.
Based on what we have learned from these studies, the most defensible conclusion is that these statewide programs are not working to meaningfully increase the academic achievement or social/emotional skills and dispositions of children from low-income families. I wish this weren’t so, but facts are stubborn things.
2. Peter Hitchens on the manipulation of crime statistics in England (h/t Heartiste).
3. Though the data wasn’t provided, a researcher from Australia found that it takes kids today about 90 seconds longer to run a mile compared to kids 30 years ago. Cardiovascular health fell an average of 6% per decade between 1970 and 2000. Endurance has decreased about 5% per decade across all nations.
4. Interesting but completely unsurprising results from an analysis of racial preferences of users of an online dating app. I say unsurprising because anyone who pays attention to the world will not be surprised by any of the vectors. The limitation on the analysis is that it measure response rates to “yes’s”. But if there are general racial differences in how many “yes’s” then the response rate might be skewed. (h/t Robert VerBruggen)
5. Peter Turchin: the overproduction of elites has fucked everything up: “A large class of disgruntled elite-wannabes, often well-educated and highly capable, has been denied access to elite positions.”
6. Why men have larger noses than women. (h/t Razib Khan)
7. This article has been everywhere, but it is familiar to many here. Other women, and not the patriarchy, are the source of slut-shaming and other such mean girl behaviors.
8. WSJ had an article about the obsession over running marathons and also the appearance of marathon stickers. I wrote about this a year ago and made some similar observations, mostly about the stickers that people place on their cars to show everyone in the world that they ran a marathon (or at least half of one).
9. A large company that gets government grants usually given to small businesses. Many of the grants are given to the company, MicroTech, because it has a Hispanic CEO. The company hooked up with another one called MicroLink in order to game the system. I’m sure this happens all the time, but we never hear about it:
Rabiah Y. Sutton, a former contract specialist at MicroLink, recalled Truitt and Wharton telling her that they were starting a new company with a retired Army officer who is Hispanic “to get access to some socioeconomic designations that they couldn’t participate in because MicroLink was owned by two white males.”
This reminds me of the arrangement of TELACU — a Los Angeles-based “community development corporation” that largely subsists on government grants. TELACU was started by Latinos with civil rights grievances and has outgrown itself.
1. James McAuley, Harvard ’12, is from Dallas so he was given the conch in order to write this on Dallas’ role in the JFK assassination:
That’s because, for the self-styled “Big D,” grappling with the assassination means reckoning with its own legacy as the “city of hate,” the city that willed the death of the president.
In 2005, Weekly Standard’s Philip Chalk noted Dan Rather’s role in fomenting this “City of Hate” trope:
It was a different lie–one delivered on national news, and at the expense of children–that caused Rather trouble at the time. As reporters from around the world descended on the Texas city, Rather went on the air with a local Methodist minister who made a stunning claim: Children at Dallas’s University Park Elementary School had cheered when told of the president’s death.
The tale was perfect for the moment, reinforcing the notion among distant media elites that Dallas was a reactionary “City of Hate.” It slyly played to a local audience, too: The school named was in upper-income University Park, one of two adjacent municipal enclaves that shared a school district and a reputation for fiercely protected, lily-white privilege. Finally, for the ambitious Rather–a native Texan and then a Dallas resident–the account represented the very sort of revealing, local dirt that the throngs of out-of-town competitors would have to work far harder to get.
Except that it wasn’t true, and Rather knew it….
Steve Sailer looks at this as well. As Sailer points out, and as CNN’s new JFK assassination documentary does a convincing job of, Lee Harvey Oswald was a Marxist and not a right-winger. Something I did not know until I watched the documentary is that Oswald had tried to assassinate right-wing general Edwin Walker.
2. After-school activities make educational inequality worse. The subhead: “How middle-class parents use soccer, ballet, and chess to solidify their children’s advantage over others.” Evil bastards.
3. Philip Chism, the 14 year-old who attacked and killed his teacher Colleeen Ritzer in Salem, Mass., has the same racial admixture as President Obama but is listed as white in the police report documenting the murder. (h/t Conservative Treehouse)
4. Some numbers put on the relatively lack of motivation for younger, healthier people to sign up for health insurance:
In California, the state with the largest uninsured population, most of those who applied were older people with health problems. In Kentucky, nearly 3 of 4 enrollees were over 35. In Washington state, about 23 percent of enrollees were between 18 and 34. And in Ohio, groups helping with enrollment described many of those coming to them as older residents who lost their jobs and health coverage during the recession.
5. At The American Conservative, Daniel McCarthy takes The Empathy Test, the one made popular by Simon Baron-Cohen which gauges empathy on the ability to figure out emotions by looking at people’s eyes. McCarthy found it easier to gauge women’s emotions while when I took the test I had a harder figuring women out.