Media Criticism

Why Is The New York Times Casting Aspersions on "self-described independents"?

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Speak for yerself, sister! |||

The New York Times and CBS jointly published an interesting political poll this morning, showing (among other things) that Republicans hold a narrow 42%-39% advantage in the upcoming midterm elections, that President Barack Obama's approval rating (41%) is the second-lowest that this particular poll has detected over the past two years, that half or more of Republican-leaners under the age of 45 support legalizing marijuana and same-sex marriage, and that (in the words of Mediaite's Noah Rothman, anyway), "partisan Republican voters are more willing to compromise a range of issues than their Democratic counterparts."

But what caught my eye wasn't the numbers, it was the loaded and unintentionally telling adjectives the paper used to present them. Here's how the related article begins; bolding will be mine, for emphasis:

Republicans are in a stronger position than Democrats for this year's midterm elections, benefiting from the support of self-described independents, even though the party itself is deeply divided and most Americans agree more with Democratic policy positions.

Though "self-described" is technically accurate here, it is also a gratuitous modifier. Why remind readers that the "independents"—in contrast to the "Democrats" and "Republicans" and "Tea Party supporters" in the same article—arrive at their categorization through a conscious act of self-branding?

A search of the phrase on the paper's website provides a possible clue. "Self-described" is often deployed to indicate that the person in question is delusional, comically egotistical, proud of something dubious, or all three. "Jason Itzler, Self-Described 'King Pimp' Drops Names in Court," comes the top search result when filtered by relevance (a follow-up article on the King Pimp is number two). "The Artist as Bully and Self-Described Sex Machine," is the fourth item, followed by "self-described snob" at fifth and sixth. While the phrase is often used neutrally (as in the Dalai Lama being "a self-described Marxist"), even there it's in the service of providing attribution to what would otherwise be a potentially contentious claim.

You can plausibly read the NYT's lede as hinting that the main reason these divided and otherwise unpopular Republicans are eking out a lead over Democrats is that they are attracting the support of people who are either fooling us or themselves. Such a parsing exercise looks a lot less paranoid after considering the first sentence of the second paragraph:

White? Check. Male? 100%. Under age 45? DING DING DING!!! |||

The independents in the poll — a majority of whom were white or male or under age 45 — continued to sour on President Obama's job performance.

A-HA!!! So these self-describers are actually just a bunch of white males who don't like the black president. Much like the dangerous nutbags in the Tea Party that the Times keeps warning us about.

But those of you who graduated from 3rd grade math have probably already discovered the flaw in the paper's emphasis. A large majority of EVERYBODY in the United States–including the subsection within the New York Times newsroom–is "white or male or under age 45." According to the Census, 47.7% of U.S. residents are male, 60.5% are under 45, and 72.4% are "white." By my cocktail-napkin calculations, that means as many as 90% of Americans belong to at least one of these three categories (please correct me in the comments). With about the same amount of relevance, the Times could have re-written that sentence as: "The independents in the poll — a majority of whom believe in God — continued to sour on President Obama's job performance."

There are plenty of other odd wording-choices in the article (such as this gross oversimplification: "Republicans hold their edge despite the fissures in their party over whether it is too conservative or not conservative enough"), which all serve as a reminder that even the hardest of numbers are subject to the most elastic of interpretations and prejudice.

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  1. I, for one, was highly disappointed in the utter lack of majesty projected by the soi-disant King of All Pimps.

    1. He’s just a figurehead, really–all the real power is wielded by the Pimpliament

      1. I prefer Parliament of Pimps.

        Member’s names are prefaced with the title Poppa.

        Ex. The Right Honorable Poppa Huggy Bear.

  2. When the numbers aren’t going your way, you have to remind everyone ever so slyly that it’s because of racism.

    1. That’s why the Democrats are going to run non-whites and/or females from here on out…

  3. The USA Today was once described as a TV News show that you could wrap a fish in.

    I don’t think the New York Times rises to even that low bar of news coverage. It can be used to wrap fish, and that’s about it.

    1. I honestly believe that if USA Today had put a comics page and an easier crossword puzzle in the Life section that they would have run almost every daily out of business.

      1. Is there an easier crossword puzzle than USA Today‘s ?

    2. The NYT might be worth wiping your butt with, but only if your only other option is sandpaper…

  4. Regarding the white figure, I guess it should be noted that that includes white Hispanics. Hispanics are a diverse group racially, and many are indeed white, but many others in this Census category probably wouldn’t be considered “white” by the average person (Ex: George Zimmerman’s dad is 100% white and people still ridiculed the media for calling him a “white Hispanic”), but prefer to identify as that than the other options. Furthermore, I’m assuming the NYT was probably not including Hispanics in whatever figure they came up with for “white.”

    Regardless, this doesn’t affect the validity of the point you were making.

    1. I think it would actually undermine the validity of the point The NYT is making. After all, if it’s all because of “white trash” racism, it’s a bit odd if all these non-“white trash” sorts are joining in on it.

    2. You know that Barack Obama’s mother is 100% white… does that make him a “white black”?

      1. Well it does make him mixed-race who is both white and black. Socially, he’s seen as black because of the history of race as a concept in this country, but in a vacuum it would just as accurate to say he’s white.

        Either way, your comparison isn’t a good one, because Hispanic is an ethnic, not a racial category, which is not the case for “black.” There are plenty of white Hispanics out there. Zimmerman’s mom (and thus him) is mixed-race. That actually supports the point I was making; a lot of Hispanics are mixed-race, but will choose to identify as white on the Census (either because that’s the majority of their ancestry or because they prefer it to the other categories), but that doesn’t mean they’ll be seen as white socially, or that the New York Times is including them in their definition of “white.”

        1. Socially, he’s seen as black because of the history of race as a concept in this country, but in a vacuum it would just as accurate to say he’s white.

          That, and the fact that Obama has publicly stated that he identifies as a Black man, which is completely his prerogative, imo.

          1. Good point, but I presume that he does so in large part due to the reasons I described. Half-black people in this country have historically been identified as black in our society, and this was even more true when Obama was growing up in Hawaii half a century ago. If Obama was had grown up and lived in a country where mixed-race individuals like himself were commonly identified as being mixed-race, it’s a lot less likely that he’d identify as black.

            I do agree that it is completely his prerogative either way.

          2. …nd therefore gets the affirmative action leg up, plus the incantation “Racism!” shields him from criticism.

      2. Is he white on the left side or on the right?

  5. Why Is The New York Times Casting Aspersions on “self-described independents”?

    Whatever the answer, it is almost certain to be very different from the answer of the question, “Why is Auric casting aspersions regarding alt-text?”

  6. Why Is The New York Times Casting Aspersions on “self-described independents”?

    Look, we’re supposed to either be a Democrat or a Republican. And anybody that doesn’t kowtow to one of these ideologies is just a child that would rather waste their vote than get on board and do some real bipartisan good for the country.

    1. No sloopy it is worse than that. You are either a Democrat or you are an evil Republican who is standing in the way of progress. That is what this is saying; that independents, no matter what they claim, are really Republicans and evil or well meaning people who don’t understand how evil the Republicans are and have unwittingly becomes enemies of the state.

      1. Democrats represent the people. Republicans represent the rich.

        Democrats just want to take back from the rich what they stole from the poor.

        Republicans want to steal from the poor and give to the rich.

        The only possible reason why someone could be a Republican is that they are rich, they wish they were rich, or they believe that someday they will be rich. But that’s it. Because that’s what the Republicans represent.

        1. You sound like HuffPo. Not a particular writer or commentator on HuffPo, but HuffPo.

          1. It’s an compelling argument as long as you don’t give it any thought.

            1. “It’s an compelling argument as long as you don’t give it any thought.”

              ^THAT!!! Excellent. About to be stolen.

        2. Democrats represent the people. Republicans represent the rich.

          Democrats just want to take back from the rich what they stole from the poor.

          Republicans want to steal from the poor and give to the rich.

          The only possible reason why someone could be a Republican is that they are rich, they wish they were rich, or they believe that someday they will be rich. But that’s it. Because that’s what the Republicans represent.

          Does this calculus include TEAM Blue like John Kerry ($200 million), Jay Rockefeller ($80 million), Mark Warner ($75 million), Jaren Polis $65 million), Richard Blumenthal ($52 million), Dianne Feinsten ($45 million), Nancy Pelosi ($35 million), Claire McCaskill ($17 million)?

          Hold on, I have a theory: Only the enlightened rich are TEAM Blue. The bad rich are evil Kochtopussy Teathuglicans.

            1. My list goes off of their “disclosures.” It’s likely they are worth a lot more, but who am I, a greedy kulak, to pry into the affairs of the vanguard revolutionaries?

          1. By being Democrats, those particular rich people are not acting in their own self interest. They are selflessly acting on behalf of the people by being Democrats.

            Just as anyone who is a Republican, but not rich, is not acting in their own self interest.

            The difference is, like you say, rich Democrats are enlightened. While poor Republicans are delusional.

          2. It’s like they think it is better to be rich because of your family or who you married or through political connections than to earn it in business. Which is insane.

      2. In short John, the world consists of Democrats, Republicans, and Republican sympathizers . .

      3. Or David Brooks. He’s a good Republican, right?

        1. He is one of the mistaken.

        2. When the People’s Glorious Revolution hits the shores of AmeriKKKa, David Brooks will be shot first; a quick, clean death in reward for his service to the Revolution.

          The rest of the wreckers and kulaks will not be so fortunate.

  7. I think this counts as a micro-aggression and so I am feeling meh about it. This is the NY Times, after all. Focusing on this is like complaining about the choices of graphics on healthcare.gov.

    1. Agreed. Are we really going to point at the retarded kid and laugh when he tries to do the triple jump? Mocking the NYT is basically the same thing.

      1. I don’t mind mocking the Times, it’s just that this is such small potatoes. There are probably half a dozen more mockable things in every edition.

        1. It is a small thing but it tells you a lot about how depraved they are. Also, this is printed as a “news story” but contains all sorts of negative innuendo. Their utter lack of objectivity and crude biases can never be pointed out enough.

  8. Wait. Did I somehow manage to miss the vast demographic shift in America where the majority of the population shifted from being White males under the age of 45?

  9. They don’t even try to be subtle anymore. Political alignment is subjective. If someone says they are Republican or Democrat or Independent, that is what they are. To say that characterization is “self described” is both redundant and implies that there is some objective definition of the term which these people’s subjective opinion could be at odds.

    We laugh at the Times but when you really think about this piece the assumptions in it are pretty disturbing. They are that no one is really “independent”, they just think they are, that the large majority people who object to Obama are either Republicans or white males, whom the Times’ already demonizes every single day, and that no one could possible support Republicans unless they are either evil or really don’t know who they are.

    This is what the people who write at the Times actually think. And given those assumptions, is unsurprising that they are in complete support of Obama and the Democrats going to any length and using any means to suppress those people. The left in this country has gone bat shit insane with hate. They don’t even try to pretend otherwise anymore.

    1. Yep, and the way the NYT (or WaPo, LAT, AJC, etc) report it is:

      Democrat = for the little guy and anti-war
      Republican = for the 1% and baby killers
      Independent = should be locked up for the good of society

  10. Relax, Matt.
    I don’t think “self-described” is the worst thing the New York Times could be calling them.

    Although the micro-parsing of white OR male OR under age 45 is pretty good.

    I’M “white or male or under age 45”.

    1. And what do you want to bet they came to that conclusion by simply adding the percentage of independents who identified as “white male” to the percentage of independents who said they were under 45 never taking into account that some people fit into both categories and thus counted twice in their crude measurement?

      Maybe they went to the trouble of breaking the poll numbers down to account for that, but I would be very surprised, especially since they came up with a total that could be spun as a pejorative.

    2. But they cleverly keep the or almost as an afterthought, thereby imbuing the reader with the idea that it is white AND male AND under 45. The less savvy reader likely sees the comment and immediate pictures Michael J Fox circa Family Ties.

    3. I, for one, am shocked, SHOCKED, that a majority of independents are also in a racial-gender-age additive majority. I really, sincerely, honestly thought that older Black women were the bulk of independent voters. No, really.

      1. But how do you know that a majority aren’t older, OR black, OR women?

  11. the Times could have re-written that sentence as: “The independents in the poll ? a majority of whom believe in God ? continued to sour on President Obama’s job performance.”

    The liberals in the poll, the majority of whom are disabled, or minorities, or on welfare, continue to approve of the President’s job performance.

    1. +100 Hazel. What a fun game.

      The independents in the poll – a majority of whom are illegal aliens, homosexuals, or convicted felons, continue to approve of the President’s job performance.

      1. Now hold on, that one’s not actually true!

        1. They may not “self identify” as those things Matt. But we know who they are.

          😉

          1. What he’s saying is that illegal alien homosexual felons don’t approve of Obama’s job performance either.

            1. True. No one who doesn’t work at the Times does.

        2. “Now hold on, that one’s not actually true!”

          The independents in the poll – a majority of whom are illegal aliens, homosexuals, or potential convicted felons, continue to approve of the President’s job performance.

          Fixed!

          1. The liberals in the pool, the majority of whom are drug users, unemployed, or mentally ill, continue to approve of the president’s performance.

  12. Looking at google: site:nytimes.com “self-described X”

    Democrat: 7 results
    Republican: 73 results
    Liberal: 1,390 results
    Progressive: 464 results
    Conservative: 1,190 results
    Independent: 225 results
    Libertarian: 233 results

    I think you’re reading too much into the word “self-described”.

    1. This. Considering that there are not 233 libertarians in this world. We only admit 13 into the secret cabal the runs the world. And at least half are required to be JOOZ!111!!!!

    2. You are right. Matt assumes that the Times writers are actually skilled writers who don’t include words unless they add to the meaning. It may be that the term “self described” is nothing more than an example of them inserting useless adjectives and poor writing.

      That explanation does not, however, excuse the rest of the bile Matt points out.

      1. But it’s the job of Times editors to kill shit like that with no remorse.

        1. Nikki,

          I don’t think they employ editors anymore. The Times has always been a hack paper. Up until about ten years ago, however, the quality of the style of the writing in the paper was second to none. As they have gone broke, most of their old school skilled writers have left for other professions. All they have left are hacks and they no longer have the money to hire editors to teach them any better.

          As little as 20 years ago, journalists would start out out of college spending a few years writing obituaries or covering suburban city council meetings while being tortured by long time professional editors. That doesn’t happen anymore. They come write out of college and, provided they have the right politics and a total lack of intellectual integrity such that they can be counted on to allows tow the party line, they immediately start writing for places like the Times virtually unsupervised.

          This is what produces train wrecks like Matt Yglesias. Twenty years ago, he would have been fired from his job at the suburban desk after a few months when his editor finally realized he was hopeless. Now he works for the Washington Post.

          1. I spent two years on the night cops beat. THAT was an edumacation.

          2. I can tell you that indeed the Times does still use editors, and it pays them very well. Copy editors at the Times start at something like $75k or even north of there.

            It’s different if you write a blog, but this was a news story.

            1. They may employ them but they don’t do their jobs anymore. The quality of writing at the Times has gone through the floor. And I don’t mean their stories are biased. I mean their stories are no longer well written biased or no.

              1. Soooo, are they ready to hire Amanda Marcotte and complete the circle?

              2. Well I’m definitely not suggesting they’re doing a good job.

            2. I think the whole industry is employing fewer copy editors per reporter. It’s happened at my rag, and we still have one of the highest ratios in the industry (according to what my masters claimed when justifying the cuts).

              1. Of course, one could argue that given the quality of writers like me, we probably NEED more copy editors.

    3. Democrat: 7 results

      I like how Democrats get the least verbal scare quote treatment.

      1. They were probably cases where the subject was a Democratic Politician was in some kind of trouble. Former Mayor Ray Nagin, “a self described Democrat” was convicted on corruption charges today.

        1. I’m also a little surprised that “liberal” was so high. Maybe they didn’t pass the purity test?

          1. I suspect that the deal is that “liberal” is not actually a term many US politicians use to describe themselves, so it’s news when one actually does.

            1. That would certainly explain the much lower number for “progressive”.

  13. This comes off as whining. Even if these descriptions were chosen intentionally to convey the message Matt sees in them, it really isn’t worth responding to.

  14. Maybe “self-described” actually means that this time.

    1. It does mean that, but that’s also the way to describe D’s and R’s responding to a poll, and yet that’s rarely done.

    2. For instance, you’re a self described capitalist.

      1. Yes, we know.

        To a wingnut Buffett = socialist and any lifetime political hack GOPer = capitalist.

        1. I think most folks around here consider Buffett to bet a rent seeker, not a socialist. Although he’s happy to support socialist policies if he can line his pockets as a result of said policies.

      2. I wish you guys would stop interacting with it as if it’s human.

        It literally doesn’t understand what it is writing. It’s spewing random words in hopes of eliciting a reaction. And the tattered remnants of its neural net cannot comprehend the replies, merely that it elicited some type of reaction. It can’t tell the difference between respectful disagreement, agreement or vile imprecations. To it, all those things are the same thing: a reaction, a blessed reaction, which proves to an uncaring and hostile universe that it has agency.

        This is horribly unfair to it, since it is not sentient and has no more agency than the mushrooms that can out-think it.

        1. This is why people think Libertarians are heartless. We do thinks like pick on the violent retarded kid when they come around.

          1. I’m not picking on it. It’s unfair to get its hopes up.

            When people type angry rebuttals to it, it thinks it is being welcomed with open arms.

            It literally treats a “fuck off you Obama-shill” as if we are asking “who wants cake?”

            And it wants cake, John. It wants to wear it as a hat.

            Responding to it is cruel. Ignoring it is benevolent, because that’s the only way it will wander off until it finds a community that welcomes its derelict, decayed and ruined mind.

            1. No. We are picking on it. You are just the voice of better angels telling us to ignore it and feel sorry for it rather than picking on it.

                1. And the “8%” reply is hilarious. It really should be the new standard first reply.

                  1. Fluffy thought of that, the magnificent bastard.

                  2. Can you help a brother out? I missed where this 8% stuff started.

                    1. https://reason.com/archives/201…..s#comments

                      Here you go Tarren. Shreek posted a link to some lefty website claiming that some Kaiser Foundation poll, (which they didn’t link to) found that only 31% of voters support repeal of Obamacare. Shreek, being retarded, didn’t bother to cut out the part that said only 8% of voters wanted Obamacare to remain in force as it is.

                    2. If it weren’t so pathetic, it would be funny.

        2. “the mushrooms that can out-think it.”

          Heh.

      3. For instance, you’re a self described capitalist classic liberal.

        FIFY

        1. Which is why Team Red hates me.

          1. Stop congratulating yourself by pretending you have quality enemies. EVERYONE hates you.

            1. Gillmore,

              It doesn’t understand what’s going on. Your points won’t affect its ersatz substitute for thinking. You are only encouraging it by typing something in response to it.

          2. But 8% like you just the way you are.

          3. Palin’s Buttplug|2.27.14 @ 3:16PM|#
            “Which is why Team Red hates me.”

            You turd, your DOG hates you.

        2. 94 percent!1!1!!

  15. I believe they use the term “self-described” to explain why the independents side with the Republicans. According to the NYT the independents are just (former) Republicans who are ashamed to admit their party affiliation.

  16. I believe they use the term “self-described” to explain why the independents side with the Republicans. According to the NYT the independents are just (former) Republicans who are ashamed to admit their party affiliation.

    1. Yes. And that is part and parcel to their belief that anyone who doesn’t actively support the Prog cause is an enemy.

    2. I blame the self-described “server squirrels”.

  17. “Republicans hold their edge despite the fissures in their party over whether it is too conservative or not conservative enough”

    Remember, the media only notices or reports on fissures in the GOP, never in the Dems. There’s a reason for that.

    1. That’s because any splits in the Democrat Party are just instances of their members failing to fully grasp intersectionalism

    2. In fairness, Democrats these days are considerably less fissure-y. Which I for one don’t count as particularly healthy.

      1. I am not so sure Matt. They just are not as outspoken as the GOP. When Hillary steps up to take her anointed spot as the next in line in 2016 and the Progs find their flag bearer, all hell is going to break lose, especially if they lose badly this fall.

        1. I would also disagree with Matt. I think the fissures on the left are just as pronounced as those on the right. The difference is that those on the left will jump in lockstep with someone they disagree with on 75% of the issues because they honestly believe it’s better to do that than vote for the other Team.*

          *Because in their twisted worldview, those are the only two serious alternatives.

          1. There is only “us and them”. The few Progs who have been willing to work with Libertarians on the NSA issue have been on the receiving end of a whole lot of butt hurt from the movement elders about how they shouldn’t sully themselves by associating with people outside the hive.

            1. As usual, John knows exactly what he’s talking about.

              1. Telling the truth will do that Tony. And maybe you missed the multiple Reason posts about the Prog butt hurt over other Progs appearing with Rand Paul on the issue.

                What is it like when every thought you have and statement you make is a lie Tony? Your consciousness must be a very strange place.

                1. Do you think you could attempt to write like an adult? Do you even realize how ridiculous you sound?

                  1. What I wrote was entirely adult Tony. And of course you lie and say it wasn’t. You are amazing. If one were to believe in the super natural, one could call you demonic. It really does chill my spine to think of how depraved and untruthful you and shreek are. If I were a better person, I would feel sorry for you because your existence must be a horrible one.

                    1. I may not always get everything right but I am on the side of science, truth, and goodness, and you are on the side of plunder, duplicity, and fascism. That you don’t realize it is definitely part of the plan.

                    2. I am on the side of science, truth, and goodness, and you are on the side of plunder, duplicity, and fascism

                      OK, everyone is right, there is no point in interacting with Tony. I’m sorry I ever doubted it.

        2. Except for the fact that the numbers show her to be the most dominant frontrunner among potential nominees in a given party in history.

          Dems are united. They learned a hard lesson in 2000.

          1. Except that the numbers show nothing like that and since no one else is sure to run, it isn’t hard to not be ahead.

            Dems are united.

            Tony since every word you say is a lie, that statement is quit compelling evidence that Matt is underestimating the divisions in the Democratic Party.

            But if you want to admit the Democrats are united in support of Presidential ordered assassinations of American citizens, NSA spying and crony capitalism, who are we to stop you?

            1. Are you seriously claiming that there is a similar level of division in the Dems as there is in the GOP? Or what?

              Or are you just trying to distract from the fact that you supported every one of the entrants in Bush’s unconstitutional parade of horrors?

              1. But Bush!!! Bush never ordered the murder of an American citizen Tony. But the Dems are united because murder is just what you people do.

                We get it Tony, there is nothing Obama could do that you wouldn’t defend and support. It is is a cult with you and a lot of other people. But the cult is about to lose its leader in two years along with the Senate and a bunch of state offices come November.

                You have to remember Tony, not even all Democrats are as deprived and willing to do anything or defend anything like you are. You are a useful foil because you remind people just how dangerous people like you are. But you are not the universal example.

                1. But you just can’t help but claim he’s worse than Bush.

                  Bush ordered the murder of thousands of Americans. And they weren’t even terrorists. They were the ones we wear ribbons for.

                  You are the last person here who gets to lecture people about abuses of executive authority. Everyone knows you’re only doing it through a partisan lens, and it’s revolting.

                  1. Tony,

                    A lot of Americans died in military under Obama as well. Look it up.

                    And even if what you said were true, it doesn’t make Obama any better. It just lets you lie to yourself and pretend your support of Obama is okay.

                    Again, everything you ever say is a lie in some way or another.

                    1. Obama didn’t start the fucking wars.

                      Go on, keep defending Bush. I’m sure it will only help your credibility.

                    2. Obama didn’t start the fucking wars.

                      If you don’t count all the people he bombed in Libya, sure. And he just continued others.

                      And regardless, he ordered the murder of an American citizen and you think he is great. That is who you are Tony.

                    3. Great is a relative term. Greater than the alternative, obviously. Which you would, absolutely without question, breathlessly defend had he done exactly the same thing. Nobody is buying your jockeying for the cool kids’ table, John.

                    4. Of course he is. Just like every other petty tyrant was necessary because the alternative is so bad.

                      You are so profoundly stupid that you actually think your rationalizations are new or different.

                    5. Why do they have to be new? Good ideas should persist.

                      And it’s a very good idea never to have Republicans in the White House.

                    6. Yes we are huge fans of republicans here.

                    7. Sorry.
                      ” Greater than the alternative, obviously. Which you would, absolutely without question, breathlessly defend had he done exactly the same thing.”
                      Yes we are huge fans of republicans here.

                      Fixed.

                2. Bush never ordered the murder of an American citizen Tony.

                  Well, at least he was clever enough not to let anyone find out if he did. I’d be a bit surprised if he didn’t.

      2. TEAM BLUE is mostly a loose association of special interests and grievance mongers and outrage addicts who have completely different “primary” issues. They’re massively fissure-y, except they’re kept jelled together by the power of partisanship and hate for the other TEAM. So, they’re a lot like TEAM RED, but they have far more “sub-factions” within them. The reason they seem less fissure-y is that they have done a really good job of “accepting” the pet issues of the other factions. TEAM BLUE is just really, really good at closing ranks, and having media support helps.

        1. Yes. But even their commitment to unity will end as the money runs out. The Unions are not going to want to share their pensions with the greens or the welfare hustlers.

      3. It’s not healthy AT ALL. “NSA spying? Who cares?!”

      4. That probably depends on how you’re going to define fissures. I see lots of infighting between Democrat subgroups–corpratists vs. socialists, greens vs. labor, etc. I think roughly the same amount of soul-searching and realigning is going on in most parties among the rank-and-file.

        The main difference between their two situtions, in my opinion, is that the Democrats have no equivalent to Amash and Paul, someone openly working to buck the current leadership and adopt a new course for the entire party.

        1. Not since Kucinich retired.

          1. And Russ Feingold, who IIRC was the only senate vote against the Patriot Act.

  18. This may be a small thing, but it does tell you a bit about their thinking in addition to what I describe above. The number of people who consider themselves “Republicans” hasn’t gone up by historic standards. Yet, the Times goes to all of this trouble to slag on Independents. Why? Because they fear the Republicans are going to destroy the Democrats this fall. All this article is is battle space preparation for spinning a defeat in the 2014 midterms. It won’t be that the Democrats fucked up or that people have embraced Republicans or any of their ideas. It will be because Independents are mostly racist white males or don’t understand who the Republicans really are and thus voted Republican either because they are too racist to handle a black President or just don’t understand.

    1. Yeah, we’re starting to see the delusion creep in again for the TEAM BLUE hacks. They can feel the writing on the wall but they don’t want to look at it, and so of course their reaction is to become delusional about people’s motivations. This one should be interesting because their potential shellacking this year could be EPIC.

      Of course, then we have to deal with the TEAM RED hacks screaming about mandates and shit.

      1. If the Team Red Hacks could just be hacks and repeal the damn thing, we could do worse. Instead they will win and decide to be all conciliatory and compromise and make everything worse. They are the party out of power. We need them to be mindless hacks who oppose anything the party in power wants to do. Instead, they will manage to stop being hacks the one time you don’t want them to do that.

      2. Mandates? I thought they opposed gay marriage.

  19. White, under 45, male…damn, I’ve lost 1/3 of my privilege.

    *sad (wrinkled) face*

    1. I wonder if they are apportioned equally.

    2. I’ve got two good years left.

  20. ‘Tards gotta ‘tard.

  21. most Americans agree more with Democratic policy positions.

    O Rly? That seems like quite a bit of a stretch, though of course not if you are delusional about TEAM BLUE’s actual policies.

    1. Why even put that “fact” in the article? What does it have to do with anything?

      The whole article is nothing but an exercise in assuring the faithful. “Don’t worry braid dead Times reader, the polls may look bad, but the people are still with us.” How pathetic and insecure must they consider their readers for them to find this exercise necessary?

      If the fall elections really do go disastrously for them, I think some of these people will have some kind of a psychological breakdown.

      1. “If the fall elections really do go disastrously for them, I think some of these people will have some kind of a psychological breakdown.”

        I hope so. I am already getting fat sucking up all the schadenfreude from the obamacare disaster and watching them frantically try to spin that. I will probably have to go on a diet after the midterms.

    2. “”most americans agree with Democratic Party positions””

      When you dumb down ‘positions’ to things like “End Inequality” and “Moar Jobses” and “Free stuff!” you will find that everyone with a pulse will often agree with the nominal ‘position’.

      Its when you ask people about the #@*#&$ results that you find a surprising amount of dissatisfaction.

      Also most liberal media outlets are liberal. ERGO, WIN!

      Because when you can’t win on logic = go for ‘appeal to popularity’!

    3. Democrats are self-described as being most agreed with.

    4. Before Obama was anointed and experienced apotheosis, it wasn’t unusual to see polls or comments, even in the liberal media, that suggested that the U.S. generally leaned center-right. I’d say that looks to be true, given how most elections (not just presidential) turn out, even today.

  22. “The New York Times, self-described ‘news’-paper, publishes propaganda masking as sociological analysis…”

  23. No way Ronan Farrow is Woody’s kid and not Frank’s. Clearly, Mia Farrow is a perjurer.

    1. Why did they latch on to him? Is it some kind of psychological displacement for their guilt about liking Woody Allen movies? Seriously, there are a million idiot sons out there to decide to make the next news reader. Why him?

      1. Because Mia brought out the big guns and claimed the Sinatra parentage possibility to help launch his (next) career?

        1. Maybe. But Sinatra has at least one other son and no one seems to care about him.

          1. Ronan Farrow looks more like Sinatra’s son than Sinatra’s actual son does.

          2. Yeah, the point isn’t you care about Sinatra’s son, the point is Mia Farrow and her fam were out of the news for a long time and she found a way to get them back in.

            1. The media is so pathetic. They more inbred than British Aristocracy.

              1. And less intelligent.

                1. Difficult to be less intelligent than Charles the Jug Eared.

        2. And the Farrow Sinatra marriage produced one of the cattiest remarks of the 20th Century. When Sinatra’s ex-wife Ava Gardner was asked about him marrying Farrow she replied, “I always knew Frank liked little boys.” Ava was fucking great.

          1. And she was unbelievably hot. One of the best looking cinema legends of all time.

          2. Another amusing, catty remark. Woody Allen about his ex wife being ‘violated’ in the upper west side:

            Knowing my wife, it wasn’t a moving violation.

            1. Someone asks Gardner why she married a 20 lb pipsqueak like Sinatra. She told them “because 15 pounds of that is cock”.

              She was a hoot.

  24. It can either be that independents don’t necessarily register as independents so they are part of the unregistered pool or that they are registered as one thing but call themselves independent.

  25. Had the gang from Human Resources visit this morning, new online diversity training thing coming up. We all have to take it and we all have to pass the test! In tow was a “diversity specialist”, whose contribution to the discussion was to apologize for being a white male teaching diversity: “I can understand why people might think this is wrong.”.

    1. I can understand why people might think this is wrong.

      “Yeah, because you are as useless as tits on a boar?”

      “Because you are no value add to this business?”

      “You went to college and this is all you could find to do for a living?”

      1. You went to college and this is all you could find to do for a living?

        It’s quite a racket. If I were an amoral sociopath, with my credentials in intercultural competency I could be making a pretty penny on the diversity workshop circuit.

  26. which all serve as a reminder that even the hardest of numbers are subject to the most elastic of interpretations and prejudice

    Oh. I was only reminded of what a bunch of fucking hacks edit the NYT.

  27. OT: The White house just put out a release about the ACA and Valentines day. with the hashtag #ACAValentines

    Do with this what you will.

    1. Aren’t they a couple of weeks late? Shouldn’t you release your Valentine’s Day message on St. Valentine’s Day?

      1. I appears that this started on valentines day, but the press release just went out. that or it got caught in my spam filter.

    2. Even with their incompetence on full display for 5 years it is still difficult to fully understand.

      I am beginning to think this administration is nothing but cronyism. They cook up bullshit for the sole purpose of handing govt checks to their buddies, buddies who have no clue how to do anything and no desire to learn. They cash the checks and shrug their shoulders.

      Then they try to cook up some new bullshit and demand more money.

      1. Dude, they’re from Chicago. You’re just figuring this out now?

  28. Shorter NYT: “DERRRRRRRRPPPPPPPPPP!!111!!!!!11!!”

    That pretty much sums up everything they write.

  29. By my cocktail-napkin calculations, that means as many as 90% of Americans belong to at least one of these three categories[white, under 45 and/or male][…]

    Yes! This is a racist country! An awful country! Sacco and Vanzetti did not die for nothing! Free Mumia!

    /20th Century prog.

  30. A large majority of EVERYBODY in the United States?including the subsection within the New York Times newsroom ? is “white or male or under age 45.”

    Well, it is likely that the HR department of the NYT requires new calumnists… er, journalists – sorry – to know and understand set theory.

  31. TOW THE LION, AMERICA.

  32. This is the stupidest thing I’ve read all day.

    1. “Self-Described Genius, ‘Tony’, says…”

      1. Doesn’t take a genius to detect the most pathetically whiny thing on the Internet today.

        1. Doesn’t take a genius to detect the most pathetically whiny thing on the Internet today.

          Sure Tony. But we are not talking about your posts right now.

          1. It gets richer and sadder by the day how rightwingers accuse others of playing the victim card.

            Without a constant feeling of embittered victimhood there would be no point to you people existing, I suppose.

            1. That’s like the pot calling the kettle b…oh, wait. Let’s not use that one.

              1. I believe in victims. I just don’t believe they tend to be white billionaires.

                1. Isn’t it funny how Tony thinks we are all rich.

                  Yet another example of his stunning cluelessness at the world.

                  1. it is not cluenessness tarran. It is evil. It really is. Everything Tony says is a lie in some way or another. He and shreek and Progs in general live in a world consisting entirely of lies.

                    1. That’s just what someone who reads Breitbart.com might say.

                      Sorry John, you’ve got things terribly backward. The entire civilized world is not in a conspiracy of lies. You are just in the stupid bubble.

                    2. Yeah Tony, everyone who disagrees with you listens to talk radio or some other evil right wing outlet. Yet another lie you tell yourself and the world.

                      I don’t read Breitbart tony. I don’t have to. I read you. And your depravity and lies are self evident. You only scream and cry about my pointing it out because the truth is for you what holy water is to a vampire.

                    3. I saw you link to breitbart the other day. Now who’s the Nazi?

                  2. No, no, I think you are all quite middle class. Don’t flatter yourself. That your politics is consumed by concerns about the tax burden of billionaires, and that you do this legwork for free, is just pathetic.

                    1. Tony,

                      I can assure you there are people on here that are more educated and successful in life than you will ever be. And more importantly, whatever they are, they at least tell themselves the truth, unlike you.

                    2. Tell me again how science is optional depending on which American political party you align with.

                    3. That your politics is consumed by concerns about the tax burden of billionaires, and that you do this legwork for free, is just pathetic.

                      Finally we find something to agree upon. Those are exact reasons are some of the reasons we find *you* pathetic.

                    4. God damn it! Why is preview so close to submit!

                      Someone should kick Gillespie in the balls until the commenting system gets overhauled by a proper UX guy!

                      HAMILTON! WHY DID YOU FAIL US?!?

                2. Yes Tony. We know you believe in victims. They are just never your enemies. Nothing is ever bad enough if it happens to your enemies.

                  Don’t you ever shock yourself with how hateful and depraved you are? Just maybe once in a while?

            2. You know, Tony, it is possible to have compassion for other people and not just worry about one’s own problems. How can you read this site every day and still think that all we care about is enriching billionaires? Billionaires do just fine in the current regime.

              1. Zeb,

                To understand Tony, you need to read something from our archives:

                You are actually missing Tony’s main point: We libertarians aren’t envious enough!

                Haven’t you noticed all the digs about people starving so that a billionaire can drive a Bugatti Veyron?

                We say “keep your mits to yourself!” But when one does that someone might amass alot of wealth! To an envious person this is a big problem. To a libertarian, it’s not a problem at all – so long as the wealth is amassed through production and/or voluntary trade.

                Now serious students of economic history recognize that in the presence of free markets, you get a large middle class, some rich people, and a shrinking pool of people in poverty. It wasn’t the existence of unions, for example, that ensured that a poor woman had access to stockings that 100 years previously were only available to the very wealthy. It was the expansion of production prompted by the opportunity to get rich off of one’s own labors.

                But to the envious, the very existence of the wealthy is the problem. To them it’s as much a crime as a mugger taking someone’s baby’s milk-money is to us.

                1. I think this is the cause of Tony’s frustration. A very envious person thinks it’s OK to take stuff that other people has because it’s intolerable that they don’t share their good fortune. Or, if they are opposed to taking, using force to prevent someone from getting more stuff.
                  Consider Paris Hilton, for example. Now, I think we can all stipulate that Paris Hilton will consume far more than she produces. And her consumption is so frivolous as completely revolt my half Scotch-Yankee love of frugality.

                  However, the wealth she consumes was amassed by people who loved her and gave it to her, and to a libertarian the fact that her dad and granddad wanted her to have that wealth they had worked so hard to produce is sufficient reason for her to have it.

                  Someone filled with envy, though, looks at Paris Hilton and screams she doesn’t deserve that wealth, decent people do! They view her as being the beneficiary of a natal lottery, and rather than seeing her wealth as a gift of love, view it as a theft from their pockets.

                  This is why I don’t think Tony will ever accept all the evidence thrown at him that he is wrong. Because to admit that forcible redistribution of wealth away from the halves would require him to confront the envy & greed that is the core of his being. Far more comfortable to repeatedly type out the same jingoistic slogans and to close his mind to reason.

                  1. Your psychological projection is exceeded only by your unself-awareness.

              2. I don’t give the slightest shit what goes on inside your weird little heads. The fact is libertarianism is a flimsy mesh of contradictory policy aims pretending to have a connective tissue of principle but which, by any reasonable estimation of their outcomes, serve only to transfer wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich. Why, it’s almost as if it were designed just for that purpose.

                1. Sure Tony you don’t care. You just are on a mission to ensure that no one who disagrees with you ever has a forum of any kind for their views. So you show up and fuck up the threads ans spew your lies because you think it is your duty to suppress any form of dissent. If this were East Germany, you would be informing on your neighbors.

                  Again Tony, it amazes me how you are never shocked by your own depravity.

                2. Then why the fuck are you here? Just to be an asshole? You clearly aren’t winning any converts and you obviously aren’t interested in understanding what anyone else believes. So what the fuck is the point of you?

                  1. To disrupt the board as much as possible Zeb. That is his point. Tony is a fascist totalitarian. He doesn’t think we should have any way to profess views that go against his.

                  2. I’m here to make John go into hysterical rants about Nazis. What could be more fun?

                    1. You come here to prove me right. It only hurts because it is true.

                    2. Tony|2.27.14 @ 5:06PM|#
                      “I’m here to make John go into hysterical rants about Nazis. What could be more fun?”

                      Tony the turd returns to smell u the place!

                3. I don’t give the slightest shit what goes on inside your weird little heads.

                  Which is why you keep coming here. God! Can you ate least try to lie convincingly?!? I mean, it’s pathetic! Have some pride in what you do!

                  The fact is libertarianism is a flimsy mesh of contradictory policy aims pretending to have a connective tissue of principle but which, by any reasonable estimation of their outcomes, serve only to transfer wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich. Why, it’s almost as if it were designed just for that purpose.

                  There you go: confusing your superstitious fantasies for reason again.

                  Tsk.

            3. “Without a constant feeling of embittered victimhood there would be no point to you people existing.”

              See also FOX News. The persecution complex is comical.

  33. By the way… I note an ad on this very page highlighting certain celebrity news….? with the headline =

    “15 Actors Who Do Not Like Democrats”

    Its for “republican reader” magazine.

    So, the *hate*…it runs through all TEAM. TEAM HATE TEAM!!

  34. most Americans agree more with Democratic policy positions.

    And every legitimate mainstream economist believes the stimulus just wasn’t big enough.

  35. Jesus H, people, sometimes a self-described independent is just a self-described independent. Get down off those ledges!

  36. My math says it’s closer to 94% of all Americans fall into one of those three categories.

    You can’t get there with the numbers you put down, you have to reverse it. 27.6% (minority) x 39.5% “older” x 52.3% female. These will be off since the population over 45 skews more toward females, but something like 5.7% of the population are minority women over 45. Everybody else is either male, under 45, or white.

  37. Why is the Times using “self-described”? Maybe because, as you point out *yourself* and then blithely ignore, it’s because they use it accurately to *describe what someone has said about themselves!

    Why else might they describe political moderates as “self-described”, even if they do so *intending to suggest that those so described may not actually be so ‘moderate’ as they believe?* Because they want to point out that those people are actually racists? Sure, that could be . . . or maybe it’s because *it’s an old, well known, solidly regarded conclusion of most poli-sci research that there are far fewer “actual” moderates/independents than there are people who describe themselves as such but are, in fact (based on their historical voting) “partisans”. (Not necessarily a malevolent reason for this, apparently people frequently just subconsciously believe and therefore claim that they are “moderate/independent” but in fact vote routinely vote for a specific party).

    But yes, if you simply choose your conclusion: “the Times means they’re racist” and then conclude that every example you chose to illustrate your point was only used in a fashion that supports your predetermined conclusion – notwithstanding perfectly reasonable alternative explanations – sure, then that’s the meaning. Great job! – The sort of hard-hitting well-researched journalism that makes me think “gee, these guys are really right about things”!

    1. Your point about independents often being quite predictably partisan is correct. And just basing that interpretation on those words would be weak. But once one reads the rest of the article, especially the strange white/old/male comment, a certain interpretation become less ambiguous, unless one was just concern trolling.

  38. The Left, as embodied by Jill Abramson, has a big problem dealing with polling data about white voters. They writhe in agony trying to explain why the oppressed American working class isn’t communist and might even dislike ACORN. They write books about Kansas explaining about how the white working class are voting against their own economic interests by not wanting to live in Cuba. Marxist politics sells well in most of the world (especially France and Venezuela), but it has never gotten much traction in the Anglosphere. We anglos really don’t want to live in Havana, Caracas, Quito, La Paz or Pyongyang. We kind of like owning three cars and having a Home Entertainment Center. Jill will never understand that; she yearns to be the editor of Granma or Korea Central News Agency.

  39. In passing: This sentence cannot be parsed. It must have been written by a journalism major who never took Basic Statistics:
    “The independents in the poll ? a majority of whom were white or male or under age 45 ? continued to sour on President Obama’s job performance.”

  40. Perhaps “self-described” contrasts with “registered”, and they felt the need to make that clear. Seems sensible to me.

    1. Reason seems to have a problem with the law of identity.

      1. You could certainly make that argument if you don’t care to read the whole article, or if you are a concern troll.

  41. I have cast aspersions on the NYT for much longer than they have on me. I have been a registered Independent for about 45 years and stopped reading (regularly) the NYT 25 years ago. George Washington was perhaps correct about the two party system. But then he is merely an old dead white guy. An aspiration of mine when. . . When I get old enough.

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