455 Comments
Jan 22Liked by Ben Krauss

No quibbles with the column, but the bigger problem with over-hiring from this cohort is the lack of subject matter expertise. They have a lot of ideological commitments, high confidence, and very little knowledge. So they fill in the gaps with their assumptions or repeat the conventional wisdom in their newsroom.

Example: an Army friend was complaining to me the other day about crappy coverage of military topics. I saw an analysis showing that less than 0.5% of NYT staffers have any military background, and those people mostly work on the tech side. So it’s not surprising that they’d make errors of fact and analysis. But why? The military has trained journalists that the NYT could hire from.

And for the love of God, foreign correspondents should speak the language. At a minimum, they should be able to have a basic conversation on the street. If they can’t even communicate, who knows what cultural assumptions or biased filters are showing up in their work. Imagine trying to report on the US without speaking English. But this means more hiring of immigrant kids, Mormons, etc., not Penn grads.

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author

Interesting, the Army point is one I've never heard before but it seems like a great idea and makes tons of sense.

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Jan 22·edited Jan 22Liked by Ben Krauss

Oh no. Then they would also have to hire an Air Force-trained reporter, and one from Navy Times, and an ex-Marine and even, heaven help us, a Space Command-bred reporter. Man, what am I saying. An "Army" reporter? Which branch? Can an infantry-branch reporter do full justice to issues affecting the armor branch or even, I laugh just thinking about it, Army aviation?

But seriously, of course you need journalists who know their beat but it's always the case that people inside an institution will have problems with journalists who, because they have to cover a wide beat, will never know as much of the details as someone who lives it every day. And there have been truly fine military correspondents. I'll name Thomas Ricks as just one.

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"And there have been truly fine military correspondents. I'll name Thomas Ricks as just one."

Add C. J. Chivers, who is a vet, and Tyler Rogoway, who I think is not. (Rogoway, as far as I can tell, is more of a tech enthusiast who just likes military tech. But he is knowledgeable about his subjects!)

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I have to reluctantly agree that subject matter (and/or institutional) knowledge is increasingly necessary. Reluctantly because I have known beat reporters who knew squat become not only expert but able to bring a broader, less captured perspective to their reporting.

The economic challenges facing news outlets of every type are as understood as they are mostly ignored. It will get worse before it gets better. Perhaps we will see the rise of loosely organized citizen-reporters working with more established reporters and writers to deliver a broader and deeper range of coverage. Perhaps a consortium of Substack writers!

The danger of biased perspectives in such an arrangement are hard to address. Today’s media are growing less objective because their readers are more ideological and less tolerant, demanding not only coverage but favoritism. Being profit-making institutions, news media will give them what they want. How does someone get a less curated depiction of events? Watching both Fox News and MSNBC to figure out “reality” would make me both insane and deaf.

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Ryan McBeth did the research on the minuscule portion of staff at NYT and WaPo that served in the military. You can find the YouTube episode or read his Substack.

Both newspapers consulted ‘military experts’ regarding the chances the IDF has in fighting Hamas above and below ground. They haven’t really adjusted in the face of the IDF’s masterful use of combined arms in urban fighting, nor the fact that 17 of 22 Hamas battalions are inoperable beyond tiny cells. The pro Palestinian indoctrination these journalists received in J-school and their personal urge to be pro Hamas propagandists has been a disservice to their useful idiot progressive readership.

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"...foreign correspondents should speak the language."

Totally agree, but note that this is easier when you have more foreign beats, harder when you have fewer. Your "Middle East" correspondent should certainly speak Arabic; should they speak Persian as well? When your paper has only one African correspondent , which is "the language" that they should speak? Does your Asian Bureau have enough people to have Thai, Burmese, and Laotian speakers as well as the speakers of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese?

In the old days, the papers would have lots of correspondents in the field, speaking lots of languages. But it's expensive.

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Yeah I think you hit on it. The real issue is just general decline of news readership overall. Which has meant the first thing to go is usually foreign correspondents given how expensive it is how little non domestic topics get read. Which means foreign policy coverage in general is almost certainly worse. I think it’s a huge part of why the Afghan coverage was so unbelievably and disproportionately negative to Biden. So many of the people writing about it probably hadn’t even thought about Afghanistan for years let along be stationed there.

Sort of on that note. Was blown away to find out from David Simon that the Baltimore Sun used to have a plethora of foreign correspondents as it was one of the top 10 newspapers in the country.

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Watch the wire season 5!

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Jan 22·edited Jan 22

You're right about the expense, especially for smaller outlets that only have one or two people covering a region. A big outlet like the NYT would still need to prioritize based on the area's importance. Correspondents sitting in their Mideast bureaus should speak Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, or something. They shouldn't be reporting from Jerusalem speaking only English, which happens pretty often (I've met them).

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Something I've often wondered is why newspapers don't jointly fund foreign bureaus.

There must be twenty "Middle East correspondents" for twenty different newspapers (assuming the NYT and WaPo have it more broken down than that). Wouldn't they be better off if half of those newspapers organised a consortium and had a bureau chief and eight correspondents, locating six in specific countries and then the other two to cover the rest of the region?

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founding

You are describing UPI and, to a lesser extent, AP.

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"...those newspapers organised a consortium...."

I suspect that this did happen sometimes, and was the origin of the "exclusive" report, i.e. a report that was not shared by all members of the consortium. After all, if the Guardian and Telegraph share a "pool reporter" whereas the Times can afford its own correspondent in Kabul, then it can run "exclusives" that you can only read if you purchase the Times.

Some of our current terminology makes more sense if those were the earlier customs.

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As John from FL replied separately, that is sort of how UPI, AP, and some other wire services operated:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Press_International

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Associated_Press

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The loss of advertising rents in media has not been replaced.

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Africa correspondents should speak French in addition to English (that's gotta be 80% of the continent south of the Sahara between those two).

Middle east correspondents should speak one of Farsi, Turkish, or Arabic, and should be assigned to stories based on language skills (Hebrew, Pashto, etc. can be a plus).

For covering India and Pakistan, I think English should actually be fine (though obviously Indian languages don't hurt).

I think Chinese is the most important East Asian language, followed by Japanese, then Korean, then other languages.

And obviously, Spanish for Latin America (with Portuguese as a nice plus).

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Journalism does not pay a wage competitive with almost any other application of genuine competence, let alone expertise.

It *cannot* attract the talent it needs to help the audience understand most topics, and fills the gap with idealistic but deeply ideological journalists coming from programs which themselves are increasingly run by ideologues rather than people with genuine expertise.

My own half-assed spitball is "recognized experts (defined loosely) should be required to spend 40 hours a year writing public interest pieces on their field with the aid of an editor for publication in a major media outlet, and major media outlets (also defined loosely) should be required to publish at least 4 of those works every publication. They should be in the public domain immediately and available for publication by any news periodical without charge, forever."

I have no idea how to implement that.

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"Journalism does not pay a wage competitive with almost any other application of genuine competence, let alone expertise. It *cannot* attract the talent it needs to help the audience understand most topics..."

The wages may not be competitive in terms of dollars, but there are competent people who highly value agency, status, etc. E.g. professors in STEM fields are often payed much less at a university than they would if they worked in industry; it's pretty common for newly graduated STEM PhDs to make more money than their advisors if they go into industry.

So, there are situations in which experts are willing to take a pay cut in exchange for non-monetary benefits. I'm sure that major publications could offer an acceptable package of monetary and non-monetary benefits if they really wanted.

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How?

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I'm not sure what specifically you're responding to. Are you asking what package of benefits a publication could offer?

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The last sentence, yes. I see no possible path for print media corporations to offer an attractive combinations of pay, benefits, and prestige for anyone except their very, very best.

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If the NYT offered $90k with remote work and a fair amount of autonomy, they'd have zero problem filling the job with a qualified applicant. I'm confident they could offer less.

Assistant professor salaries at a generic R1 public university aren't that high [1], and the NYT is much more prestigious than say, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. A NYT job is also pretty easily monetizable. If you do a good job writing articles, you can easily make some extra money with a side hustle of writing popular science books.

[1] https://oira.unc.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/297/2023/07/Faculty-Salaries-at-Research-and-AAU-Universities-2022-23_20230613.pdf

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Is this going to go towards their tenure and promotion packets?

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I would love to see this sort of work being valued in tenure and promotion packets. My husband had a colleague who was featured in the New York Times a couple of times, but administration didn't see that as worthy at all even though it reached way more people than anything else he or anyone else in the department did.

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Conversely, I am kind of annoyed with the attention some of my colleagues get from being featured in the NYT. Maybe it's just bitterness talking, but I find what gets picked up for public interest stories are *never* the most impactful science being done.

With regards to administration though, they will always claim not to value what you excel in. If it's research, then your teaching isn't impactful enough. If it's public outreach, then your research isn't deep enough. etc. etc. etc.

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Most science journalists aren't scientists and don't understand the subject matter enough to make it legible to non-scientists.

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Oh, that's exactly how it is in academia too. I've gotten some modest raises here and there by raising a stink about productivity vs. colleagues (hey, I'm not posting here all the time!), but I know the only way to get the big money is to get a competing offer.

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A lot of the standards are asinine, arbitrary, and ever increasing.

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We need the cultural norm that not doing it gets you put at the back of the line. Academics have, among their many, many problems, a tendency to ignore or downplay public scholarship. We need to beat them bloody until they rediscover its value.

Let's start with a 5% income tax surcharge for not doing it, to help that norm to grow.

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That 5% tax idea sounds unconstitutional.

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It would be entirely constitutional for a state licensure board to mandate an either/or: 40 hours of public engagement and scholarship annually, or an additional licensure fee equivalent to 5% of the field's median income paid into the state general fund.

The number of times that people trot out "but the Constitution" as an attempt to slap down discussion of something they find personally unpleasant around here is sad. We have a million ways to enforce an in-kind contribution from experts in many fields, including most of the important ones.

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I don’t find it personally unpleasant, David. But the First Amendment does not allow the government to compel speech, and I am reasonably sure that your proposal violates it because you would have people penalized by a state board for not engaging in a particular type of speech.

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I think you are far better off using a carrot than a stick. Make it something to be proud of and reputationally beneficial and people will do it. Tell someone they have to do it or get penalized and you'll get some crappy product that is of no use to anyone.

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Good luck with that norm here in the States. It actually, in the main, exists in China. A book of public scholarship is something academics are proud to put on a CV, an invitation to give a public lecture to a generalist audience is an honor and privilege, and the sort of anti-social, narrow-minded, elitist fools who sit at the pinnacle of academia in most American universities are marginalized and derided.

Recreating that norm in the United States (we had this too once upon a time) would require turning academia inside out and deliberately privileging those scholars who have been confined to its margins because they choose to educate the public. They are the folks with the power to dispense carrots and they must be overruled by the government wielding a big stick.

I see no clear path other than to incentivize the proper behavior until it becomes something people expect and require.

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I don’t think the US should be copying speech norms from China.

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I will restate my previous point - if the culture doesn't support and reward "40 hours a year writing public interest pieces" than using government force to make people to do it will be EXTREMELY unlikely to result in positive outcomes. Most of them will probably publish an article talking about why its bad for their field that the government forces people to do this.

This sounds very much like a Republican trying to accomplish a cultural change by law, but if the culture isn't already supportive it will be very difficult to have a law passed and even more difficult to enforce it in a meaningful (and non biased) way.

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Jan 22·edited Jan 22

You are being silly.

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No, I've asked folks like you to do something you don't want to do but may be necessary for the health of the body politic and you're throwing a hissy fit about it.

I don't care.

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I don’t like your punitive or authoritarian tone, much less you personally directed animus. The fact you open with a projection and personally directed lie is completely uncalled for. I am describing your behavior.

You want to punish a group you hold in contempt for a failure to meet your arbitrary set standards. Nowhere have you expressed a willingness to actually contribute to a public provision problem, just blame.

You just what “free stuff” and want anyone but you to provide for it.

Hence why you are being silly and being dishonest.

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Have you written your first piece?

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Yes.

A couple dozen over the years, though I doubt that I'd be an acknowledged expert in any particular field. Peripherally so in project delivery, about which I've written quite a lot, and China-related economic policy for the developed world, about which I've written a bit.

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And just to add, I specifically joined my local civic organization to lend my expertise to the maintenance of our park, our interactions with the city about infrastructure maintenance in the region, and the discussions of housing and development we have.

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While I'm still thinking about your spitball, on your first part, it's always seemed like the people skilled in communications who want to make a lot of money will be able to do so in PR or advertising, thus siphoning away their talent and leaving journalism with talent that is driven by things bigger than money.

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This idea seems like the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences except much, much less technical.

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>In the USA we do a perverse version of it: you put in your time as a low paid government employee and then jump to the private sector where you lobby for your industry’s interests, nevermind the common good

My understanding is that the French and the Japanese practice the exact same model though (and probably other developed countries too, these are just the ones that I've read about). The Japanese famously force their bureaucrats to retire at age 50, so they all jump straight into working for the companies that they were just regulating. In other words, this is a pretty common arrangement

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This strikes me as a pretty “kids these days” take. Young people are overconfident and lack expertise, so what’s new? I can believe this specific generation is more ideological but mostly because society as a whole is.

Also, media orgs aren’t exactly flush with cash these days. Expertise is expensive. So idk that there’s an easy solution to this problem even if the diagnosis is correct.

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This last point is an important one. I believe "media employment has collapsed" and "media is dominated by young people with strong ideological commitments" are the same trend.

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Same thing has happened in humanities at the collegiate level. When access to a stable and financially viable career disappears, then you only get people who ignore economic incentives. Those people tend to be ideologues or those with trust funds.

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Jan 22·edited Jan 22

"Work for 7 years in a nice place with extremely good job security and interesting colleagues" is well within the class of normal reasons people choose jobs, especially a ones that leave you capable of pivoting somewhere else after your 20s. I think making this out to be more special than it is confuses the discussion

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Grad school is a lot different than being a professor. Also you are wasting time on a PhD if it takes longer than 5 (extending the clock to a degree is a perverse result of incentives.) Tenure track jobs have disappeared in many disciplines, and you don’t get COLAs any more.

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Honestly as a former humanities grad student myself, I think it is much less about putting ideology above financial reward and much more "I am good at school. I want to keep doing school" without a whole lot of thought beyond that.

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"Work for 7 years in a nice place with extremely good job security and interesting colleagues" is a description of being a grad student! Most 24 year old band members won't be doing it when they're 60 either

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Sure, but what are we going to do about it? I think the future of American reporting is going to look like party newspapers that dominated between the Civil War and WW2. Matt is right the current equilibrium where non-right media is biased towards Democrats still doesn't produce the most optimal reporting for Democratic party interests. But we're mostly on track to get there, and I'd say he should look on the bright side. Americans mostly agree with him in that they distrust these outlets he thinks are emphasizing the wrong things. The information fracturing will continue until morale improves.

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I ran across an article from Teen Vogue this weekend on the latest COVID data. It was a far, far departure from the days of me reading teen magazines and not in a good way!

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Fair, but I think hiring someone out of the Army Times might be cheaper than a Yale grad.

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Would it though? The Army Times vet would have a career on their CV and a certain level of salary expectations, but the recent Ivy grad would still just be a 22 year old.

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Also, the recent Ivy grad would likely have rich parents prepared to fund them living in New York for a few years while they try to make it in journalism.

As long as there are a few well-paid jobs for an occasional Matt Yglesias, it's not unreasonable for a parent who can afford to do so to subsidise a kid who will work hard at journalism in the hope that when they're 35, they can make a good living (and if they haven't made it, then they'll change careers before that - which is why journalism is full of young people; older people either move up or move out).

The Army Times vet would be much less likely to be in the position where they can afford to live and work in New York or wherever without being paid a salary sufficient to sustain a reasonable lifestyle.

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Would we accept this in other environments? I think it was Matt Bruenig who said that if a company can't afford to pay a living wage, then perhaps they should go out of business...

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That’s basically what’s happening-journalism is in a death spiral and has been for about 2 decades.

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I don't think we should. But also, there's a difference between a living wage (ie the equivalent of the lifestyle of waitstaff or a bartender) and what I called "a salary sufficient to sustain a reasonable lifestyle".

I bet most of these junior people are being paid $15 an hour, probably even $20 an hour (if they're employed, not freelancers or interns), but there's a huge difference between that and the sort of salary that an Ivy grad would reasonably expect to get (and could get doing something else), or the salary than a ten-year vet with the sort of CV than an Army Times reporter could look to get in some sort of defense/security consulting or PR job.

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If the vet were 40 years old, you're right. But can't you find people who aren't not necessarily career military, but got a few years' experience in military journalism and would have better knowledge and instincts for the subject matter than a kid out of college?

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They definitely could find qualified reporters from military press. The problem is that generic beat reporter wages are very low and someone who writes well with these qualifications will have far better paying options, notably in PR for military contractors or lobbyists. Financially, they’d be better off staying in the military than going to the NYT if they can hold on for a pension.

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This seems very unlikely. Median pay for a journalist at the NYT is 82k per Glassdoor. You would need to be a Captain with 6 years experience to make that much in the army. More likely, you're making 20k less.

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Oh, I definitely agree that the Army Times alum would probably be better suited to the job. Whether they would be cheaper to hire is another story.

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I doubt this.

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The Army times person requires a living wage and will not move to NYC without a sufficient COLA. The Yale grad is subsidized by their parents.

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The vast, vast majority of my classmates who end up in New York will not be subsidized by their parents—they will be making six figures on Wall Street or at an MBB firm.

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Right, but your classmates that are working in non-profits, publishing, fashion, journalism, are likely to be subsidized by their parents. I am old enough to be your parent and see this often in my kid's cohort among those who have wealthier parents. Parents also subsidize summer internships in NYC, and most families can't afford that either.

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Agree. When I think of the hundreds of classmates I had studying policy between college and grad school, maybe two or three went into media (and it was either specialty media, Thomas Reuters, or the Washington Post). Most of the people I went to school with who went into media had a writing, not policy background. If you went to a professor for career advice and they suggested either going into media or Capitol Hill, most students would just ignore them since those were seen as thankless career paths. Most of the people who were serious about policy that I went to school with basically went into one of the more prestigious federal agencies (State, Treasury, DOJ, DOE, DOD), the UN, Big Law, or major consulting firms. Going into even legacy media was an afterthought.

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Does your friend follow Ryan McBeth?

We all know that NYT mostly hires Ivy grads. Rarely they will poach talent like Ezra (who had a really unique career pathway that probably doesn't exist any more. I find his experience/challenges with formal education very humanizing,)

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No idea, but I can recommend! Thanks :)

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Ya, because Ryan just did a critique of NYT’s military coverage.

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When you think about it , the connection of the economy to epistemology is under appreciated. Or put simply, the current economy doesn’t incentivize people being trained and employed to be competent truth seekers and propagators, be it in journalism or academia (as different as those two are). Ironically at the age of the Internet we seem to be experience a decline in our ability to understand the world and it seems the causes are mostly economic (although post truth ideology left and right certainly comes into it).

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Look, it's Monday morning, but this is probably a strong contender for Comment of the Week.

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The third paragraph I will agree with in totality. But I'd argue that it's wholly unimportant for actual reporters to have prior subject matter expertise, and in fact better for journalists to approach difficult (whether in complexity or political heat) subjects as complete tabulas rasa. The goal is to *become* a subject matter expert through talking to the real experts in the field and doing extensive research with an open mind - which is where I'd say modern journalists often fall short. But when there are truly competing ideas or schools of thought on a subject, vast prior educational or applied experience is likelier to create bias than to create understanding.

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Former journalist who works in tech now for 5x+ the money and way more job security. I reluctantly admit that I would only feel comfortable reporting on the tiniest sliver of the tech industry in which I'm involved day-to-day. Anything outside of that, and I know I would get roasted. Let's be practical about what we expect journalists to know given the terrible state of the industry.

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No disagreement about speaking the language being a requirement for foreign correspondents, but a lot of people study foreign languages in college (including, presumably, at Penn).

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I complete agree with your friend Amy...In addition I have also noticed that when professional media have people with professional experience, they are either crazily partisan (the right) or obviously had bad experiences in those professions and basically are used to support the preconceived and incorrect notions of those who do not have any experience (these "professional voices" left the professions, often after relatively short stints and had a bad experience that supports a prevailing ideology).

I know we used to laugh about some of the people who left our profession to go into the media or who would do all these interviews. It was kind of a joke about how they could not succeed in the job so now they were going to go explain it to other people.

My guess is that they are hired not because they have professional experience that could add to a readers understanding of the field but because they have some kind of quasi-professional experience that can allow the organization to use them as an "expert" but also come with an ideology that is comfortable (and familiar) to those hiring them. Thus they can have an expert who conforms to their bias.

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Sure, but this is probably the most challenging to address in a time of news media’s economic collapse. Hiring actual specialists is expensive and limits your flexibility in staffing.

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"Foreign coverage is a huge minus for American prestige media."

I agree with this take.

For some reason, FW, I am "blocked from liking" your comments. If it's a personal thing, let me know and maybe we can work it out.

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"An industry full of young, educated, urban progressives, ...American journalists are ... left-wing."

As a claim about individual journalists, this seems broadly true, for the demographic reasons you cite.

"The media is on the left...it’s precisely because the media tends to be left-wing that the media tends to focus on ideas that divide Democrats...."

As a claim about an industry, i.e. the media, this seems broadly false. "The media" is not equivalent to a bunch of cub reporters: it is the owners of Sinclair and Fox, as well as the owners of the Wall Street Journal and NYT, all of them much further right than their employees.

The WSJ is a good example: it's reportage has generally been excellent, while it's editorials have generally been laughably bad. It's clear which of these is the journalists and which is the owners. But which is "the media"?

To make the point about journalists that you want to make, references to "the media" obscure more than they clarify.

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You make a good point about the distinction between reporters and the editorial direction they are under. That is an interesting wrinkle to analyze.

One thing I would add is the growing realization both in newsrooms and everywhere else is that the Internet is not real life. There was a real responsiveness in the real world to online discourse nonsense from what felt like 2016-2021 or so, but that era is definitely over. I think some of the more unhinged position taking and leftist on liberal vitriol is a response to this loss of ability to drive real world results from Twitter screeds.

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But it was so very nice to be able to "change the world" by hammering out spam on Twitter.

Actual organizing is hard, voting requires consistent effort year after year.

I'm becoming increasingly persuaded by "many/most online leftists are mentally ill and using Twitter and shared doomist sentiment to substitute for friendships, social ties, real-world achievements, and good therapy" as the best explanation for why they are the way they are.

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It's true that ownership is, in the aggregate, much more conservative than reporters. But it mostly doesn't matter because they don't have the personnel to operationalize their preferences, a manifestation of the trend Tracing Woodgrains wrote about in "The Republican Party is Doomed" (https://www.tracingwoodgrains.com/p/the-republican-party-is-doomed).

[Addendum, some follow-up, below: https://www.slowboring.com/p/bidens-media-problem/comment/47857026]

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"...they don't have the personnel to operationalize their preferences...."

Owners fire journalists all the time. Ask Dave Weigel, of this parish. Moving from the sublime to the ridiculous, ask Tucker Carlson -- he was not a journalist, but the dynamic is the same. Owners have no problem selecting their preferred journalists, and firing the ones who stray.

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I do think this illustrates a key underlying element of Matt’s article: it isn’t the high profile stuff that is key. Instead, it’s the drip, drip, drip of articles that choose to focus certain things that highlight divisions in the left and negatives of our society without any interest in successes or issues on which left of center is largely undivided. Those things don’t get anyone fired and aren’t the types of editorial decisions that management would usually get involved with.

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"Mostly doesn't matter" was a little hyperbolic. But the power to say "no" is less significant when your only choices are Coke and Pepsi. (Not to say it's that extreme, I'm just trying to make a point about the structural dynamic.)

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Are they really just Coke and Pepsi? This made me wonder, like maybe they could hire student journalists from The O'Colly, the newspaper of Oklahoma State University, so I repaired to its website just now to see what kind of journalism they produce, and the featured story is, um, this:

https://www.ocolly.com/news/4-students-charged-for-dumping-dead-longhorn-outside-farmhouse-fraternity/article_69431f18-b71a-11ee-a80e-2351b49f276e.html

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Assuming they got the particulars right (names, dates & times, locations, charges), what’s wrong with that story?

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Ken, you're a better man than I, a snooty coastal person.

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I know Matt refers to "the media" a couple of times, but in reading the piece, I thought it was fairly clear that, overall, he was referring to the composition of individual journalists and not necessarily making a point about "the media" as an overall institution

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You said it much better than I tried to in my own meandering post. Matt not distinguishing between younger reporters and older centrist editors and owners is a real flaw in his column.

Also, the older reporters are clearly the ones with more influence and power. We all know the name Maggie Habberman. And I rant rail about Peter Baker all the time. These two alone have way more power than any super lefty reporter. The most famous is probably Taylor Lorenz. And she’s famous in part from lots of people dunking on her precisely for being the doomerist on Covid that Matt describes. Honestly, how much of the agenda at large on anything is Taylor Lorenz influencing at all?

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"the older reporters are clearly the ones with more influence and power"

Can you elaborate on this?

I can see how people who have been around for a while are going to have more name recognition than someone who is new, but how and does that translate into power and influence - and for whom do they have more power and influence over?

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I said it in my own (again more meandering) post but see the Claudine Gay coverage. This was 'front page" coverage for basically a month. Multiple stories, multiple news analysis pieces, multiple op-eds for weeks on end. There is no way that story gets that sort of coverage if the young super lefty writers Yglesias describes have as much power as he says they do.

Maggie Habberman clearly has sources close to Trump in some capacity. Her news stories were lead articles all the time. Peter Baker is a consistent guest on MTP. He heads the New York Times political desk, his news analysis articles are given "front page" prominence on the actual pages and website most of which are basically a byword for "extremists on both sides" garbage.

Young reporters just out of college basically by definition are not getting plum "above the fold" stories that drive news cycles except on one of basis. Taylor Lorenz articles were almost never given place of prominence on WaPo with the exception that proves the rule when she uncovered who was behind LibsofTikTock. She's also a good example of someone who has lots of name recognition among people like Matt as a paradigm example of these super lefty reporters. In fact, she may be the most famous. Which again serves my point. How much influence does she have? As far as I can tell, she still wants 2020 style Covid restrictions. I don't think there is anywhere in the country that has any meaningful Covid restrictions.

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As I understand, you're saying that their articles get better positioning in the paper and on the website and they get better stories because they have had time to develop more sources and contacts.

I guess that makes sense, though I suspect those are heavily related. I vehemently disagree about the Claudine Gay coverage and suspect that if newspapers were full of old school blue collar reporters, it would have barely made the paper. Its only because they are full of Ivy grads that they spend so much time talking about them.

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Oh we are actually in huge agreement on the Claudine Gay coverage. Reporters being disproportionately from the ranks of elite schools has been a reality for decades now. I mean Matt after all is himself a Harvard grad. My point isn't in tension with yours. The amount of coverage this story got is definitely (at least in part) reflective of the fact that so many reporter are elite school graduates. The tenor of the coverage (and most important how it drove news cycles) is result of the fact that the older more centrist reporters have more clout.

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My view of the MSM coverage of the Gay story was that it was in no way hyper critical of her in the way that most centrists were. The MSM coverage was largely in defense of her and focused heavily on where the accusations were coming from (RIGHT WING AGITATORS!) rather than doing real reporting to determine how problematic her behavior really was. The volume of coverage was driven by the outrage machinery on the right, so the left-wing response needed to be proportional but opposite in tone and tenor.

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"The tenor of the coverage (and most important how it drove news cycles) is result of the fact that the older more centrist reporters have more clout."

I went more into length in another response, but I think "more" is doing a lot of work in that "more centrist" descriptor. I'd also like to see some evidence of them having the influence you think they do on "tenor."

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I certainly recognize Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker. I'd be very hard pressed to name five prominent young journalists at the New York Times. And the ones I can -- like Jane Coasten, Sarah Kliff and Brad Plumer -- are pretty darn good and don't fit Matt's stereotype. (You might say that Plumer represents an overemphasis (?) on climate change, but he was hired to report that beat; he didn't force himself on the Times.)

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Jan 22·edited Jan 22

What does the fact that you recognize the names mean? Do you ascribe more accuracy to their articles than you do for articles written by people you don't recognize?

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Accuracy? Maybe no; I wouldn't know. Prominence and influence? Definitely.

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"Prominence and influence"

Again I ask, what does that mean? Do you think others are ascribing more importance or accuracy to their articles beyond their ability to do more sourced reporting?

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This is not particularly germane to the main point of discussion we're having here, but is it actually true that the owners of NYT are "much further right" than their employees? I was under the impression Sulzberger is something of a true believer, maybe mildly more moderate than his journalists but certainly no centrist

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There’s something to this and in general there’s a way in which bosses, for lack of a better word, often escape any criticism in many fields.

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founding

It may be mistaken to say “the media” as a whole is “left”, but there are systematic biases you get from the structure of who gets hired as reporters, and there are systematic biases you get from the structure of who goes into ownership and management, and those systematic biases are not precisely diametrically opposed but instead align in several ways (even if there are some ways that they might cancel).

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"...those systematic biases are not precisely diametrically opposed...."

That sounds right.

My intended point was not really about canceling out, in any case, but just about the non-equivalence of "journalists" with "the media." It makes sense to say "journalists are predominantly young, educated, urban, etc."; it makes no sense to say "the media are predominantly young, educated, urban, etc.". They are just different kinds of things: to start with, journalists are people whereas the media -- newspapers, networks, and so on -- are corporations. "The media" don't have demographics characteristics, although some of the owners of the corporations do.

But my point got interpreted as a claim that reporting skews right because the ownership skews right, and then it was off to the races with refuting something I had not said. Ah, well. At least I got my normal day's wages for commenting here.

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I'm not sure how substantive this comment's edits were* and how much of my original top-level response was a product of my own tunnel-vision but I'll cop to being excessively focused on the terms "NYT" and "WSJ" and only thinking about text-first center-left journalism.

Half a day later, the conversation is ranging over several different subjects - and people aren't always talking about the same thing.

As you imply and other commenters note more explicitly, television doesn't fit as neatly into the paradigm Matt laid out in the article. What's more, internet successors like TikTok and YouTube have even more complicated relationships between "owners" and "journalists". YouTube is often in the exact opposite position of the NYT/WSJ: the "owners" are often appalled by the right-wing slant of the "journalists". Of course, I'm stretching the terminology. But it seemed to me that Matt was talking about Journalism with a capital J, for which I think his critique is quite accurate.

It's another thing entirely to try to comprehend the role of text-first, center-left Journalism in a world dominated by MEDIA: the local television news, TikToks, and YouTube, among others. And I appreciate the reminder that the landscape doesn't begin and end with the NYT.

* Not implying anything sinister!

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"I'm not sure how substantive this comment's edits were...."

I deleted two periods that had crept in between words, due to my fat fingers on a phone.

Sometimes I do make more extensive edits, though. Usually when I think a punch-line didn't land.

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deletedJan 22
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It’s not just or even mainly a matter of getting fired for ideology; that’s not all that common as far as I can tell. It’s a matter of what content gets run in the first place. Some rogue Oberlin grad at Fox News isn’t going to be able to sneak some global warming is real content onto Fox News; the ship they run there is too tight.

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The right-wing media is reporting on widely unexpected temperature and range constraints to EVs, ensuring the industry will both adapt and inform consumers how to mitigate this drawback while enjoying their CO2-reducing sedans. That's good for CO2-reducing sedans in the long run; just because media is adversarial or ideological doesn't mean it cannot helpfully induce others to solve real problems.

https://www.mediamatters.org/fox-news/right-wing-media-use-tesla-strandings-chicago-bash-electric-vehicles

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I promise I wasn't trying to get into an argument about ideological media on the merits. I was using a hypothetical example to show how "does right-wing ownership influence the media" cannot be answered just with reference to who gets fired for what, but also has to consider coverage/programming decisions. No one's getting fired from Fox News but that's not because management there gives reporters maximum leeway.

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It’s not just that Fox News is genetically right-wing. They enforce message discipline; they make some GOP candidates look reasonable and others foolish; they boot people like Carlson who wander off the reservation. But also, I don’t think I understand the distinction between “the owner influences the output of the outlet” and “the owner establishes an explicitly ideological outlet.” Why isn’t that influence?

But fine, you don’t like Fox as an example. What about Sinclair? Those stations *aren’t* explicitly right-wing but the owners make sure their content is consistently right-wing.

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This is the strongest point against Matt's thesis. The common biases in local news are very different then those places like the NY Times and WaPo.

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I watch local news every morning. Yes, some of it may be a bit too focused on crime, but I also find out about things like local events of interest, human interest stories, and even mundane things like a boil water advisory. And the weather, omg, the weather - every 10-15 minutes.

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Love getting that tv weather when filling up the gas tank. In addition, there are always offers for discounts on monster drinks.

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The crime bias ("if it bleeds, it leads") is not the only bias.

In fact, I think local news bias is distinctly unique in almost every media market.

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As part of the 38 percent who don't watch television of any kind, I would like to add that I do read the local news. Does that count? It really helps to know what's going on in the 25 - 30 mile radius around me. Also - working in two counties, and those news stories are of interest as well.

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I've known multiple journalists who work for outlets like WaPo and CNN- literally none of them have ever talked about ownership input on topics as being some sort of balancing force between the left wing staff and the right wing corporate class. All of them talk about newsrooms heavily focused on left wing agenda setting. To claim, without evidence, that the owners are somehow preventing mainstream media from swinging significantly to the left strikes me as bizarre wishful thinking.

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I mean there’s good evidence that some media owners being right wing has had a substantial effect on coverage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinclair_Broadcast_Group?wprov=sfti1#Political_views

Where you’re right is that there’s a kind of polarization: there are some carriers like Sinclair that force a right-wing perspective, but moderate to center-right owners at other media are not forcing a center-right perspective; they’re basically allowing the journalists to be left-wing.

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Talking about "right wing media ownership" is the standard predictable liberal response to the overwhelmingly left wing slant of print and TV journalists.

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Because it’s an important factor! Some times arguments are predictable because they’re relevant and worthwhile

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"Some owners potentialy being right-wing has had virtually zero evidence on journalistic output...."

Do you mean this claim to apply to the output of Fox News and the Sinclair Broadcasting network? Because it seems to me that the preferences of Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes, as well as the preferences of the Sinclair owners who dictate the content of TV editorials from their main office, have had more than zero effect on their journalistic output.

Maybe you wanted to restrict the "zero evidence" claim to the NYT, WaPo, and CNN?

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the first two don't even have right wing owners, so the response barely makes sense on those terms

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Jan 22·edited Jan 22

Your point on RCP 8-5 hits close to home. So many things from EPA and the White House still rely on this model when they write about climate change and no action scenarios.

It’s frustrating. Part of me thinks it’s selection effects (I am an economist. I strive to be accurate and look for data to inform rather than confirm my opinions on lots of stuff.) Lots of people who go into politics and law look to win an argument and thus seek positions that give them the strongest rhetorical positions. I think lots of people take a shortcut and just assert things they find convenient rather than do the hard work of knowing and learning.

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Even when learning and knowing more would actually make them feel better about the world! It seems like some people just want to feel as bad as possible and are willing to shut out any evidence that might prompt a reevaluation.

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Jan 22·edited Jan 22

The number of times climate doomers on Reddit get angry when I link “OurWorldInData” or cite the IPCC is far too high. Heck you got people asserting RCP 8-5 is a lie because it isn’t bad enough.

Bringing this back to media, you got common phrases like “climate crisis” and framing climate change as an existential struggle all the time. It’s a debasement of language that both overstates and understates the real material challenges of climate change.

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founding

The number of hurricanes is unchanged over the past 150 years. But every hurricane story references climate change these days.

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pastdec.shtml

https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/beyond-data/can-we-detect-change-atlantic-hurricanes-today-due-human-caused

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Jan 22·edited Jan 22

I think the generally window in which hurricanes occur has broadened. There is still work being done on severity and frequency. The biggest problem is low N so you cannot easily use statistical methods to identify causality. We know mechanically if you add more energy into the system that hurricanes will get more intense and will be more likely to occur (unless our models are wrong.) Heck the IPCC describes the cyclone intensity and frequency relationship as a likely hypothesis, not an established relationship with a bounds of confidence.

https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/syr/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_SYR_LongerReport.pdf

Of course most journalists don't care because they opted out of taking math and statistics in college... they just care about 'maximizing attention.'

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Unless you had countervailing factors which, given that hurricane formation is complex, isn’t out of the question. The key is for the assertions not to get ahead of the science.

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Which makes the period we have to plan for disruptions and damage broader which increases the economic cost of hurricanes. It isn't existential. Though maybe the storm surge is existential for places like Miami?

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FWIW -- It's not just warm water. It's also the pressure system that creates vertical wind shear. Just look at what happened during the 2023 season:

"Tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures were at record warm levels during the peak of the 2023 hurricane season. These anomalously warm waters and associated low pressures in the tropical Atlantic were likely the reason why El Niño did not have its normal teleconnection to above-normal shear across the tropical Atlantic. Model output included in our forecast methodology was helpful in predicting this anomalous behavior in advance."

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Come on, man. Get real. It's raining in Los Angeles right now and I just realized my roof has developed a leak. If that's not powerful evidence of climate change, I don't know what is.

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I posted this last time the topic came up - but the industry I currently work in relies on hurricane forecasts. We work with Phil Klotzbach out of CSU: (1) he's awesome and (2) I'm just going to "trust science" here that we don't know what effect climate change will have on hurricanes in the US. If anyone tells you differently - they have an agenda.

https://climate.nasa.gov/news/3184/a-force-of-nature-hurricanes-in-a-changing-climate/

https://tropical.colostate.edu/Forecast/2023-11.pdf

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I have a number of family members who listen to way too much NPR and still think that 8.5 is a likely temp rise. I've had them freak out over a very low quality paper that implied that something was being mismeasured and so all our models are off and anything can happen. A lot of the doomerism is obviously absurd and clearly contradicted by the things that are happening right now, but they swallow it because NPR is supposed to be a reliable news source. It's not good for their mental health to listen to this constant doomerism, which sometimes crosses into misinformation (don't get me started on the whole gas stove thing) but NPR is so ingrained in people's brains as something that educated liberals listen to that they're never going to give it up.

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I was reading your comment and thinking Yeah and also the gas stove thing! and then you said it. After that flurry of fear-mongering articles, I actually had neighbors ask me how I liked my electric stove bc they heard gas stoves were bad. Plenty of people just believe what the “trusted” Doomer News tells them.

(Not sure what my overall point is except the gas stove thing is like Exhibit A for shit reporting driven by left wing journalists.)

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Wait, is it misinformation that gas stoves contribute more to climate change than electric?

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founding

No, it’s misinformation that gas stoves make you much more likely to become asthmatic and develop COPD (though it’s probably not misinformation that they do contribute slightly to those things).

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Yes. I think this claim was being pushed by climate activists who want to get rid of gas appliances for climate reasons but the claim was that they were a major health risk - and my understanding is the evidence for that is weak.

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It was really interesting to read the comments on the New York Times article yesterday about the “anti-DEI plot.” Nobody was having it, which wouldn’t have been the case so much as a year ago.

At first this must seem tangentially related, but both situations have something to do with a job recruiting only from the demographic of young highly-verbal professionals. (Wordcels instead of shape rotators, that is.)

Now, combining this with the doomerism also cited in this post and the extremely-online-ness of this class of people, and I see storm clouds on the horizon of a Trumplike outpouring of inchoate anger. The only things that give me pause:

1. The average high-ish-achieving woke yuppie has an ideological short circuit, but isn’t immune to facts in quite the way that a 65-year-old Trumper is.

2. The climate doomer stuff is usually just a flippant appeal to nihilism. The revealed preference that would correspond to their stated preferences is ruthless ecoterrorism. They are not doing that.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I ask for your predictions. What will the meltdown of post-woke (and eventually post-Trump) America look like?

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I will just say that some of those emails, especially the one about nonwhite nannies, were really gross and racist.

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Those guys (I believe it was two of them) can fuck themselves, but the whole article seemed to be intent on tarring anyone opposed to DEI with a loose sort of guilt by association. That’s what people were refusing to go along with in the comments. Even /r/Professors had plenty of critical commentary for that article!

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R/profs is full of people sick of the mandatory paperwork and DEIwashing. Considering how admins always try to squeeze pennies from cleaning staff or rely on adjunct exploitation. It’s asinine theater.

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On what grounds? Private universities are entitled to hire on the basis of ideology if they like, no?

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They accept federal $ via student loans.

We can basically force them to do whatever we want if they accept those strings.

Like we already do in numerous other ways (Title IX, for instance) that left wing folks applaud.

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You realize the source for this article was almost certainly someone who works for these organizations right? Meaning it’s very likely someone who probably had the same feelings about DEI you (and to extent me) have and went to work for these orgs and then found out “holy crap, these people are homophobic and bigoted as hell. I need the blow the whistle on this”.

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founding

When a person holds both bad ideas and good ideas, it is still OK to laud the good ideas.

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I think it’s a problem when the supposedly good ideas are merely cover for the bad ideas.

Like the person who keeps saying this is Chris Rufo himself. He basically admits his goal is not nearly as limited as it’s made out to be.

Also, it should matter a lot to us that he’s out there retweeting tweets blaming plane mishaps on airlines supposedly hiring too many people POC.

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They can also be trying to sink those involved for personal or financial reasons. Snakes are still the most likely creature to be found in a snakepit.

But your scenario is entirely possible. Either way, I'm glad they blew the whistle.

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Wow I love DEI now!

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Interesting. I thought they got those emails through FOIA requests.

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Jan 22·edited Jan 22

The header was: "The backlash against “wokeism” has led a growing number of states to ban D.E.I. programs at public universities."

I just over-read the public universities part.

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I wonder what relationship left-wing doomerism has with relentless negativity and condemnation of America and Western values. It’s almost like so many people have to trash their own society to show off their sophistication to others - that they can’t be fooled? It usually goes with mockery and condemnation of people whose patriotism is treated as a sign of stupidity.

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I suspect we can solve this by giving less money to colleges and sending less people to colleges and more to cheaper new technical institutes, but I don't think /r/Professors wants that answer.

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DEI seems a lot more complex and varied than a policy that can be voted up or down. More of a theme or broad menu of policies from which to choose. Why hide the bad elements for fear of them tarring the legitimate criticisms of the policy overreach?

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A major reshaping of politics, political leanings and liberal-focus will come about if-and-when Black people, start shifting meaningfully to the GOP. It might not happen in my lifetime or it might happen in a cycle or two (the future is hard to predict). But if it does it would really rewire everyone's socio-political brains in enormous ways.

I can think of a few reasons this is unlikely to happen soon, but a few more reasons why it might. The top few are: educational polarization, immigration, interracial families, decline in the influence of Black church and "the not great but slow and steady migration to the suburbs". My guess is if and when Black people voted 80/20 it would be a tipping point and things could easily change fast from there.

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I think the tipping point is 30%. 20% just means Black conservatives are finally voting R. 30% means many Black moderates prefer Republicans to Democrats.

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Denial is what it will look like. It will be the same as post-COVID. In the middle of COVID pure righteousness from the left. We believe in science and are responsible humans. But when information comes back that shows their lord and savior got a lot wrong - just ignore it. Say “ why are we still talking about this?” Or just lie like Fauci does...”I never really took a position on the lab leak theory”. Bullshit! So that’s what post DEI will look like. Ignore, lie, just keep moving forward and find the next thing to trumpet!

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I mean, that's definitely what a lot of people do in every situation. But I think there are three things that people do:

1. Refuse to admit that they were ever wrong, don't change, and just dress up their old positions in new language.

2. Refuse to admit that they were ever wrong, DO change, and claim that their new positions are totally consistent.

3. Actually self-consciously make a break from older espoused views.

I think people in group #2 are kind of infuriating, but you have to make your peace with them and recognize them as the driver of marginal change.

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That’s fair. My concern isn’t so much about individuals or even politicians. It’s institutional officials. And it’s professional journalists. Institutional trust is important. These institutions need to double down on their core missions and be rigorous about truth telling.

We just went through this enormous thing (COVID) and where’s the investigations into show well it went? Where’s the lessons learned? How are we going to be better next time? The leftists institutional folks are just playing defense against mostly bad faith conservative politicians.

Institutions and journalists are so concerned with holding themselves accountable because they don’t want to give conservatives aid and comfort even when conservatives are right (correct). That’s a problem. The kinds of people that Matt references in the media would rather be wrong than align with a deplorable conservative. This is bad faith and good things don’t get down by people acting in bad faith.

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I am probably way off base but I wonder if we look back to past information explosions (printing press, pamphleteering, newspaper explosion, radio, TV, initial internet, etc.) and find some examples of how things play out. My sense is that there is generally a lot chaos as people learn how to navigate the new information environment and that this will be exacerbated by 1) the increased rapidity of the exchange of information, both factual and make believe, (this is probably bad), 2) who AI news generation plays out (probably bad but who knows for sure).

My biggest concern is that we will have a cascade of information related technological changes that prevent us from "keeping up" and get stuck in a perpetual cycle where our ability collectively generate all kinds of information (good, bad or neutral) outpaces our collective ability to manage the information flow. I think past information explosions tended to be more singular and the current trends (since the internet) seem to be cascading...probably due to low marginal costs for digital information.

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We didn’t deal with the social effects of the printing press until after the 30 years war. We didn’t deal with the social effects of television until after the culture war of the 60s/70s.

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Jan 22·edited Jan 22

I think NYT planned the story as part of a DEI "series." Today there are a couple articles on how DEI is pivoting in response to backlash (with some Yglesian elements). You probably have to interpret the articles together.

Edit to specify the more-Yglesian article. https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/22/business/diversity-oneten-black-employment.html

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Today’s article is how highly compensated DEI quacks are looking for ways to allow businesses to continue to discriminate by race without being successfully sued for discriminating by race.

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There are a couple articles. The org helping companies remove unnecessary college degree requirements from job descriptions seems VERY Yglesian. And it actually does discuss measuring outcomes.

This was the one:

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/22/business/diversity-oneten-black-employment.html

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I don’t subscribe to the Times but saw the equity for all line. That’s good. Getting rid of unnecessary qualifications that benefit a certain kind of suburban middle class person is good.

Of course when they go to college and can’t get a job then they want their degree paid for by someone else because they were told a story about how the degree entitled them to a good outcome. 🙃

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The broad approach outlined in that piece sounds a lot more like old-fashioned Affirmative Action and a whole lot less like DEI.

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As long as people won’t talk with those stupid accents. (Just kidding, Canadian SBers.)

I would surmise that a decent part of New York is similar to that, except also very expensive. Chicago is a good example of a cheaper version.

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Yes, otherwise why would anyone know about that frozen wasteland? (I kid, I’ve been to Canada multiple times and enjoyed it.)

Although maybe you can help me explain this: my friend and I were in the club last weekend and ended up playing beer pong with a bunch of Canadian chicks, and they got bizarrely into the beer pong game (and extremely competitive). I surmised that this is the sort of thing that women from the Upper Midwest would do, and went on to further expostulate that Canadian culture and MI/WI/MN culture are pretty similar. Right or wrong? FWIW I could see a few of these women wearing a red flannel and attempting to pull a stump with an F-250.

As for New York ethnic politics, a lot of that stuff seems to be smoothed over by the vast amounts of money flying around everywhere. Chicago doesn’t have that luxury.

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I mean more in a way that NYC has so much to squabble over that it rarely gets so cutthroat as to impede daily life for the average Joe.

I need to finish that book as well.

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When you say "ethnic politics" is that referring to immigrants or 2nd+ generation natives? I could believe that 2nd+ generation New Yorkers are more into their ethic background than Torontonians(sp?). But I find it a little hard to believe that recent immigrants are more or less that way.

With immigrants it probably depends on where they are from and how many of their co-migrants are in an area, less the local culture of where they arrive.

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got it, thanks!

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More Mississauga would be great but I think the current R consensus on legal immigration is a greater barrier than mentally ill leftists

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The R _voter_ consensus on this predates Trump by literally decades. I would love to return to politicians ignoring the voters on this one, but I wouldn't bet on it

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I think(?) we agree - Reagan and GHWB (and Clinton!) knew their voters had bad views on this ( http://tinyurl.com/3x2vvn88 Fig 1) and mostly ignored them. Trump (and right wing parties in basically the entire developed world bar Canada) took advantage of this untapped electoral advantage. I (both of us?) would love for them to put the wedge issue down, I just don't see how that would work, especially given the weak parties, strong partisanship mode we're now in

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Counterpoint: contra Will Stancil it's not because of Twitter bad vibes and lack of attention to the "great" Biden economy people are unhappy.

Liberals over my adult lifetime have succeeded in building the more hyper individualistic, secular, irreligious society they always wanted where people are free from traditional natural attachments such as to family members they don't like, "heteronormativity", to the gender they were "assigned" at birth but now feel uncomfortable with...this kind of society doesn't actually make most people happy.

You could forget the meaninglessness when Obama was president and social media and the possibilities of great "online communities" were still a new and exciting thing or later when joining the anti Trump "resistance" made an otherwise pointless life meaningful and purpose driven.

But in the Biden years ennui has set in. It's all so pointless. Talking about all the wonderful improvements Biden has given on Medicare and the low unemployment rates or hard fought gains in carbon emissions just doesn't scratch where most people... including left wing people... itch. Something is just not right. Something seems missing.

And I will gently suggest the traditional things that make most people happy... getting married, watching your kids grow up are hard to replace with politics and online entertainments. It's a sad world where fewer and fewer people get married and have families. My $.02.

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The supposed link between persecution of outliers and the happiness of the many was wrong when you were using it to justify persecution, and it’s still wrong now that you’re trying to blame contemporary unhappiness on the absence of persecution.

Nobody on “the left” made it so you can’t get married or watch your kids grow up. We might have made it so that people who were already never going to do that, don’t have to get beaten into a pulp by you for their deviance.

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Jan 22·edited Jan 22

Social pressure to conform rarely rises to the level of "persecution".

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It very very commonly does and that’s what the liberals Mr Pete is complaining about were fighting, persecution to make people conform.

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Exactly. It’s a strange world we live in where being more accepting of your neighbors means being less likely to talk to your neighbors. Why can’t we try to have both at the same time?

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Conservatives blame godless liberals for something that is only Steve Jobs fault.

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republicans are still more likely to be married but marriage is an increasingly "elite" milestone where highly educated people are more likely to get married and less likely to get divorced so IDK.

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The ones who do report higher levels of happiness I think. There were lots of successful center left people in Obama years too. But now marriage, kids and owning a home to build your life around seem to a lot of people like luxury goods they may never attain.

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So your theory is that, rather than this being a hangover from inflation of a kind we’ve seen before, the way polls measure people’s happiness and satisfaction has totally changed in the last 15-20 years? I will take the other side of that action.

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Can you point to one person who supports "the free market idea that if you’re poor you should just get sick and die?"

Because I don't believe anyone who supports open markets in heathcare has ever embraced that position.

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Well, the Republican Study Committee doesn't say it such explicit terms. But their 2024 budget includes steeeeep per-capita cuts to Medicaid that would likely kick millions off health insurance. That means people with disabilities and low-income parents forgoing healthcare because they can't pay for it.

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Right, that's exactly my point. Nobody believes in letting people without health insurance die, yet the liberty has been taken to claim as much based on a surmise.

And I'm not sure how such needless hyberbole really adds credence to the argument.

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Jan 22·edited Jan 22Author

People absolutely can die when they lose access to health insurance. I don't necessarily know what Kevin Hern believes or doesn't believe, so just judging the policies he and the GOP are putting out there.

This is from 2009, but a Harvard study found 45,000 annual deaths due to lack of insurance: https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE58G6W5/

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I'm generally in support of a government funded universal health care service. That being said, I'm hesitant to describe not covering people with government insurance as wanting them to die. By that perspective - if someone dies because they freeze to death or overheat to death its because the government doesn't provide heating and cooling for people.

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I think helping people avoid preventable death is a basic function of government, yes.

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