Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Catch of the Day

To Joshua Tucker at the Monkey Cage, for calling out Adam Nagourney of the New York Times for (1) claiming that college students will be less enthusiastic for Barack Obama in 2012 than they were in 2008 without placing that in the context that enthusiasm for Obama is down overall, and (2) supporting that claim by interviewing four then-students who report that they'll be less likely to volunteer this time, without taking into account at all that college students are fairly well known for having more flexibility in their schedules than are those recently graduated from college.

Both terrific points. The first one, about setting things in context, just shows up over and over again, and really should be avoided by careful reporters. Not that they shouldn't write about specific groups; in most cases, all that's needed is to keep the context firmly in mind.

So: keep your eyes open. What's the most obscure group that some reporter will notice is somewhat less excited about Barack Obama this year than it was in 2008?

And: nice catch!


  1. So: keep your eyes open.


    That's right. We must remain vigilant re the won. So keep your eyes open... and if you see something... say something. REPORT it to the proper authorities:




  2. "What's the most obscure group that some reporter will notice is somewhat less excited about Barack Obama this year than it was in 2008?"

    Perhaps I'm cheating as this one happens next year, but I'll put my chip on "Normally conservative newspaper editorial boards that endorsed Obama in 2008." I think the Republican primary field suggests that there won't be dozens, but every endorsement that flips to the Republican will be over-reported like they were unfavorable court rulings on the ACA.

  3. My household is somewhat less enthusiastic about Barack Obama than it was in 2008, but is likely to turn out for him in similar numbers. Voting population: 2.

  4. Incidentally, my captcha on the previous post was "Burba." I congratulate you on having enough juice with the powers that be to start having captchas that reference mediocre Giants from the 1990s.

    I assume "Glenallenhill" is right out, though.

  5. I'll refrain from answering the rhetorical.

    Maybe, in general, people will be less excited about President Obama, and we won't have acolytes claiming that someone will change Washington. Jaded? Of course we are.

    Depending on who gets the Republican nomination, there's a possibility of having a great political discourse in 2012. I'm rooting for Ron Paul, because there's a clear choice between a strong, centralized government or not. Unfortunately we can't have a national referendum on the subject. But frankly, Ron Paul is the only true conservative in their field, and, in my opinion, their most intelligent candidate, who could intellectually spar with President Obama. My "hope" would be that Obama vs. Paul would raise the level of the conversation past electrified fences, 999, and eliminating all federal aid. There are much more complex issues, and they deserve proper treatment.


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