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July 09, 2004

Milking the bias

On June 26th Matt Yglesias lamented the tragic dialectic of inaccuracy:

Thinking a bit more about Michael Moore, the tragedy is that we have a systemic bias in our media culture that rewards people who make over-the-top and/or inaccurate attacks on their political opponents.[...]

...The more hysterical work gives its critics more to work with and, therefore, attracts more criticism, more countercriticism, and more more viewers. Samuel Huntington has gotten tons of play from both The Clash of Civilizations and Who Are We specifically because his theses are wrongheaded, somewhat offensive, and argued for in a rather sloppy manner. He's the public intellectual people love to hate. So he gets lots of buzz, sells books, and becomes famous. Poor toilers in the salt mines of sober-minded social science research, conversely, die in obscurity.

Luckily, Matt appears to have learned his lesson:

Did the president really gut the Endangered Species Act yesterday while no one was paying attention? So I've heard, at any rate. If so, good riddance. You'll all yell at me, I suppose, but really: Who cares? Species die, shit happens, get over it. Clean air, clean water, and lower carbon emissions I'll get behind that stuff impacts, you know, people.

I'm sure Giblets would like to ridicule poor toilers in the salt mines of sober-minded social science research, but he's a busy guy. So, you gotta do (poke, poke) what you gotta do.


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