TWO MILLION DOLLARS OF CRAP! Maddow doesnt understand politics, as she made clear Monday night: // link // print // previous // next //
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2010
Pravda reports on the schools: Quite often, your press corps is strikingly Sovietized. Consider the way the New York Times got the airbrush out today in reporting Joel Kleins departure.
Klein is leaving his job as head of New York Citys schools. Hell be replaced by Cathleen Black, who has no educational background, in keeping with [Mayor] Bloombergs preference for executives from the business world. Right at the top of todays front page, this is the way the New York Times describes Kleins eight-year tenure:
Certainly, Klein can make many claimsbut would those claims be accurate? In her next paragraph (inside our hard-copy Times), Otterman weirdly writes that his detractors argue that the test scores were inflated. It isnt until paragraphs 29 and 30 (out of 33 paragraphs total) that readers are given a bit of the truththough even here, Otterman bungles:
Do Kleins detractors argue that test scores were inflated? Last August, the state of New York announced that they were! But in the Soviet system preferred by the Times, these facts are slowly being erased, in deference to a billionaire mayor and his inexperienced favorite. Lost to history is the way this school chief and his billionaire mayor paraded all around the country, boasting about those phony test scores. Plainly, Klein should have known about this problemand perhaps he did, while refusing to tattle. But in deference to a billionaire mayor, Times readers arent being asked to ponder the meaning of Kleins bogus claims.
All hail the departing city school chief, who had no educational background! All hail the incoming chief, who has no background herself!
(For details of Ottermans bungle, see below.)
Todays front-page report about Klein is rather strongly Sovietized. But so was Trip Gabriels report about black fourth-graders in yesterdays New York Times. Yesterday, we commented on some of the oddities from that piecemost strikingly, on the press corps long-standing refusal to discuss the fact that test scores have risen rather sharply for black and Hispanic kids in the past fifteen years (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/9/10). Same old scam! Citing data from the highly respected national math and reading tests known as the National Assessment for Educational Progress, Gabriel noted that black fourth-grade boys score substantially lower in math than their white peers do. But he failed to note a second fact: On those same highly respected national tests, math and reading scores by black and brown kids have massively risen since the mid-1990s.
The pattern is unmistakable to anyone who follows these topics, though almost nobody does. In the Sovietized world of our current power elites, readers are constantly given the bad news about the performance of black kids. The good news keeps getting air-brushed away, in apparent service to the reforms preferred by these potent elites. Lets continue on a bit from the topics explored in yesterdays post. This is how Comrade Gabriel assessed the very bad news he selectively reported:
Today, when elites discuss public schools, all roads lead to the need for better teachers. In this remarkably jumbled, illogical passage, Gabriel ends up with one educational expert saying that other strategies simply dont produce better resultsand with a second expert announcing the need for really good teaching.
Really good teaching is important, of coursebut every third-grader knows that. Meanwhile, note the news the Times disappeared! Even as an educational expert was quoted saying that current strategies dont produce better results, readers were kept from knowing the truth! Readers were kept from knowing that results have been massively better in the past fifteen years, on the same highly respected national math and reading tests for which Gabriel has already vouched.
Readers were told that nothing has workedeven though something plainly has. Instead, readers were told that we have to get better teachers. (Translation: Break up their unions!)
This is ugly, evil workand its straight outta the Soviet state, in its method if not in its politics. Is Gabriel an enemy of the state? Well only say that this seems to be the work he has chosen. But please understand the basic fact: If we credit the data from the national tests Gabriel so heartily praises, then something has been producing better results over the past fifteen years!
What has produced those impressive results? Sorry! The results themselves have been airbrushed away, so Times readers will never ask. And there wont be a word in the whole liberal world. White liberals dont care about black kids.
What has produced those impressive score gains? New York Times readers dont have to ask. In the Times, those gains never happened. Aint life in the old SU grand?
Otterman pretty much bungles: Whats wrong with Ottermans work in paragraphs 29 and 30, where she finally lets readers know that the state announced that those score gains were bogus? Duh. She still implies that we can sensibly compare passing rates on last years New York state tests to those from the start of Kleins tenure. We know of no reason to believe that; weve seen no indication that the state of New York can prove that last years tests were equivalent to those from that earlier year. But at the top of this Soviet press corps, technical competence is non-existent. Pre-approved narrative conquers all.
By the way: New York Citys test scores have gone up on those highly-respected national tests. Otterman didnt bother to tell youor to tell you how much.
TWO MILLION DOLLARS OF CRAP (permalink): Again, we strongly recommend that you see The Social Network. If you do, ask yourself this:
To what extent does the amoral culture portrayed in this film pervade Americas news business? More precisely, to what extent does this amoral culture pervade Our One True Liberal Channel?
On Monday, we asked ourselves that very question, as we watched an incompetent, two-million-dollar-per-year cable star discuss the debate about tax cuts. The incompetent in question was Rachel Maddow, who powered ahead with her standard rap about the amazing political gift the GOP has given the Democrats:
Actually, Republicans want to add about $4 trillion to the deficit. President Obama wants to add about $700 billion less. (To see the New York Times explain this rather well-known fact, go aheadjust click here.) Maddow is simply presenting the tale in a way which turns the GOP proposal into a ginormous political giftor at least, so she thinks. But is the proposal a ginormous gift? In yesterdays New York Times, Jackie Calmes reported some of the reasons why the Democrats put this issue aside until after last weeks elections. As others have reported before, Calmes said that major players like senators Boxer, Murray and Reid didnt want to be forced to run on that ginormous political gift.
If Calmes is right, these highly experienced political professionals didnt think this was a gift. Maddow keeps insisting it is because shes a hopeless ingénue.
Why isnt the tax cut issue a ginormous political gift? In part, because many millions of American voters dont think the way Maddow does. The lady is so full of self-adoration that she rarely wastes her time understanding such facts of American life; she prefers to aim dick jokes at the unwashed, then to pretend that they just dont exist. But in this mornings New York Times, our dumbest columnist turns her space over to her brother Kevin, a fellow whos even dumber than she is.
Sadly, this is the way Kevin Dowd describes Obamas tenure to date. Well highlight a few basic notions:
Truly, that is horrible workright down to Kevin Dowds unexplained claim that Obama has insisted on giving higher taxes to the American people. (Does the Times have any editors?) But Maddow lives in a country where such understandings and beliefs are quite common. (Its a country she doesnt much understand, as Charles Murray explained in the Washington Post, in an instantly-ridiculed essay.) It doesnt enter her rather dim head that tens of millions of American voters construe the world the way Kevin Dowd does. Their frameworks, understandings and beliefs are very different from Maddows own. As a result, they see the GOP proposal very differently from the way Maddow does.
These people exist. And they vote.
If you understand the tax cut proposal as these people do, the proposal is not a ginormous gift to the Democrats. Presumably, that would explain why Boxer, Murray and Reid apparently wanted to postpone that votea vote on a topic Maddow keeps describing as a flat-out gift.
Maddow seems to understand little of this; she is defiantly clueless about the people with whom she shares her country. Her brain seems to work as the tribal brain does: Obamas proposal makes good sense to her, and she assumes thats the end of the story. As she continued on Monday night, she was soon offering this perfect crapstandard piffle from one of the many millionaires who litter our broken discourse:
Politically, that is amazingly dumb. But dumb is this childs middle name.
We strongly suggest that you watch what happened when Ramberg explained the real policy difference. (To watch this full segment, click here. Note Maddows trademark self-confidence.) Is Ramberg an expert explainer of complicated things about money? In fact, she gave a rather convoluted explanation of the tax cut issue as it affects small business hiringan explanation in which she basically said that both parties are fudging the facts. If Maddow had an ounce of sense, her confidence would have flown by the time Ramberg finished her rather complex discussion. And she might have understood why this issue might not be a gift from the gods.
Maddow is a pampered child in a nation whose discourse is badly broken. She rarely shows any sign of understanding the depth of that problemof how much effort it will take for real progressives to fix it. If a tax cut proposal makes sense to her, she seems to assume it makes sense in an absolute way. But it may not make political sense in a nation full of people who get their ideas from Rush Limbaugh and Fox, as Maureen Dowds brother does.
The tax cut issue pretty much isnt a gift, especially after last weeks elections But Maddow doesnt understand this. Shes full of self-confidencebut she isnt especially smart about politics. (Beyond that, she isnt real honest.) Sadly, shes making the liberal world dumberas she stuffs those millions of dollars down her self-confident pants.