Patterico's Pontifications


Nicholas Kristof: Of Course Progressives Believe In Diversity, Well, Except For “Conservative” Diversity…

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:43 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Nicholas Kristof has an eye-opening piece at the New York Times titled A Confession of Liberal Intolerance. In his op-ed, he both admits to and laments an undeniable sort of discrimination at our institutions of higher learning. You’re sort of late to the party, Nicholas, but welcome anyway:

We progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, gays, Latinos, and Muslims at the table – er, so long as they’re not conservatives.

Universities are the bedrock of progressive values, but one kind of diversity that universities disregard is ideological and religious. We’re fine with people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.

Thus Kristof begins his confession. Given the recent outing of Facebook for its calculated political bias, Kristof informs us that that’s exactly where he’s been mulling this over. On Facebook. How ironic.

I’ve been thinking about this because on Facebook recently I wondered aloud whether universities stigmatize conservatives and undermine intellectual diversity. The scornful reaction from my fellow liberals proved the point.

“Much of the ‘conservative’ worldview consists of ideas that are known empirically to be false,” said Carmi.

“The truth has a liberal slant,” wrote Michelle.

“Why stop there?” asked Steven. “How about we make faculties more diverse by hiring idiots?”

To his credit, Kristof zeroes in on the root of the problem: liberal arrogance. (I think liberal ignorance would have worked equally as well.)

He also offers findings from four different studies that demonstrate that Republican professors in the humanities and social sciences are indeed “endangered species,” and the stark contrast a black sociologist provides reveals the narrow-minded bigotry of supposed “progressives” (a term used to describe a group of people who are anything but…):

“Outside of academia I faced more problems as a black,” he told me. “But inside academia I face more problems as a Christian, and it is not even close,”

If it’s tough being a conservative in academia, it’s even tougher if one is also an evangelical:

According to Yancey’s study, 59 percent of anthropologists and 53 percent of English professors would be less likely to hire someone they found out was an evangelical.

“Of course there are biases against evangelicals on campuses,” notes Jonathan L. Walton, the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard. Walton, a black evangelical, adds that the condescension toward evangelicals echoes the patronizing attitude toward racial minorities: “The same arguments I hear people make about evangelicals sound so familiar to the ways people often describe folk of color, i.e. politically unsophisticated, lacking education, angry, bitter, emotional, poor.”

Kristof, who earns his bread and butter in the belly of the self-admitted liberally-biased beast, nonetheless reminds readers of all political persuasions why this particular kind of discrimination is so dangerous:

To me, the conversation illuminated primarily liberal arrogance — the implication that conservatives don’t have anything significant to add to the discussion. **My Facebook followers have incredible compassion for war victims in South Sudan, for kids who have been trafficked, even for abused chickens, but no obvious empathy for conservative scholars facing discrimination.

The stakes involve not just fairness to conservatives or evangelical Christians, not just whether progressives will be true to their own values, not just the benefits that come from diversity (and diversity of thought is arguably among the most important kinds), but also the quality of education itself. When perspectives are unrepresented in discussions, when some kinds of thinkers aren’t at the table, classrooms become echo chambers rather than sounding boards — and we all lose.

**Clearly, narrow-minded bigots are limited in their capacity to feel anything but disdain for those who dare to think differently. The very definition of progressive.



Kristof Busted by Malkin

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:48 pm

She appears to have Kristof dead to rights here.


Maguire Makes Kristof Squirm

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 5:08 pm

This is a very entertaining post by Tom Maguire, about Nick Kristof’s airbrushing errors and making implausible excuses for Lyin’ Joe Wilson. Read it and chuckle.


Kristof: U.S. Should Be More Like China on Infant Mortality

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 6:37 am

Captain Ed fact-checks Nick Kristof here. He catches Kristof telling some stunningly misleading half-truths about infant mortality rates.

For example, Kristof actually compares the U.S. unfavorably with China on this issue:

As readers know, I complain regularly about the Chinese government’s brutality in imprisoning dissidents, Christians and, lately, Zhao Yan, a New York Times colleague in Beijing. Yet for all their ruthlessness, China’s dictators have managed to drive down the infant mortality rate in Beijing to 4.6 per thousand; in contrast, New York City’s rate is 6.5.

In order to pull off this comparison, Captain Ed notes, Kristof conveniently ignores the astronomical infant mortality rate of China as a whole: 25.28 deaths per thousand. Also, Kristof breathes not a word about the country’s forced abortion policy. As Captain Ed says:

The notion of using China as an example of child care is so noxious that it almost defies description. It equates to using Juan Corona as a poster child for supporting migrant workers, or Richard Speck as a spokesman for a nurse’s union.

I’d be fascinated to know Kristof’s reaction. I’m interested enough that I have sent him a link to Captain Ed’s article, asking for his response.


Kristof Acknowledges Error, Stops There

Filed under: 2004 Election — Patterico @ 6:45 am

Nick Kristof today a few of us called him on the other day:

In the spirit of taking a tough look at one’s own shortcomings: on Saturday, I referred to William Rood as a witness for Mr. Kerry’s Silver Star incident. It was the Bronze Star episode that he saw. Mea culpa.

That’s fine, as far as it goes. [UPDATE: Actually, it’s not!! See UPDATE below.] But it comes at the tail end of Kristof’s column today. Kristof doesn’t even stop to reconsider the one conclusion that he based upon this plain error:

Did Mr. Kerry deserve his Bronze Star? Yes. The Swift Boat Veterans claim that he was not facing enemy fire when he rescued a Green Beret, Jim Rassmann, but that is contradicted by those were there [sic], like William Rood and Mr. Rassmann (a Republican). In fact, Mr. Rassmann recommended Mr. Kerry for a Silver Star.

Now that we know that the group of “those were there” does not include William Rood, maybe that “yes” answer deserves to be changed to a “maybe.” Maybe Kristof should tell his readers that there were many other people there who say there was no enemy fire. Sure, those people were on different boats. But, William Rood was also on a different boat from Kerry in the (separate) incident that Rood described in his article — and Kristof was willing to take Rood’s word as gospel, until we reminded him that Rood had described a completely different incident.

Nor does Kristof acknowledge or address any of the other numerous deficiencies in his analysis, as pointed out most completely by Beldar. The fact that Beldar caught his blatant error apparently doesn’t entitle Beldar’s other points to any consideration.

Kristof is toeing the mainstream journalist line: the Swift Vets’ campaign is a smear, and they have been discredited on every point. Every witness for Kerry is credible; as for the witnesses against him, we’ll just pretend they don’t exist. Rather than acknowledge any doubt, we’ll pronounce the case closed. And the details be damned.

The trouble with this attitude is that it excuses Kerry’s inexcusable decision to deny access to his complete military records. If there really were no legitimate questions to be answered, Kerry’s failure to sign the standard Form 180 would not be as egregious. But the fact of the matter is that the Swift Vets’ claims have not been knocked down the way Kristof et al. claim. The mainstream media should therefore be highlighting the fact that Kerry has not released all his records. But they aren’t.

P.S. Captain Ed and Tom Maguire have more. Both point out Kristof’s ridiculous argument about Democrats rejecting Michael Moore:

True, Democrats have also engaged in below-the-belt attacks. Some of “Fahrenheit 9/11,” the Michael Moore film, was the liberal equivalent of the anti-Kerry smears. Its innuendos implying that Mr. Bush arranged the war in Afghanistan so backers could profit from an oil pipeline were appalling.

But I, along with some others, immediately complained about “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Aside from John McCain, where are the sensible conservatives?

Tom Maguire points out that the “some others” who criticized Moore don’t include the Kerry campaign:

Kidding? Michael Moore was an honored guest in the Big Box at the DNC.

Yup. Why didn’t you mention that, Mr. Kristof?

The fact is that the Democrats have embraced hatemongers like Michael Moore, while President Bush has said that John Kerry should be proud of his Vietnam service — a statement that hardly constitutes an embrace of the Swift Vets. Kristof’s attempt to draw an equivalence between the Vets and Moore is utterly unconvincing.

UPDATE: Aargh. Kristof is still getting it wrong, and I missed it. As Dave B. points out in the comments, Kristof is still saying that Rood saw the Bronze Star incident, which directly contradicts what Rood himself has said. In context, this is just a misstatement — which is probably why I missed it — whereas Kristof’s previous error was clearly substantive. Still, can’t we get it right, Nick?


Kristof Flubs Basic Points About Swift Vet Controversy

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 1:36 pm

Beldar and Captain Ed document several errors in Nick Kristof’s column today about the Swift Boat Vets. I would like to highlight the most egregious one:

Did Mr. Kerry deserve his Bronze Star? Yes. The Swift Boat Veterans claim that he was not facing enemy fire when he rescued a Green Beret, Jim Rassmann, but that is contradicted by those were there [sic], like William Rood and Mr. Rassmann (a Republican). In fact, Mr. Rassmann recommended Mr. Kerry for a Silver Star.

“In fact,” William Rood was not there, Nicky my boy. You’re mixing up your incidents. Here is a direct quote from Rood:

I was part of the operation that led to Kerry’s Silver Star. I have no firsthand knowledge of the events that resulted in his winning the Purple Hearts or the Bronze Star.


Keep in mind that this column was written by someone who chose to focus on the Swift Boat Vets’ allegations, and write a column about them in the New York Times.

So when you hear people like Tim Rutten talking about the “Swift boat nonsense” or the “phony Swift boat controversy,” ask yourself: do you think they are more informed about the controversy than Nick Kristof? Who himself lacks a grasp of the basic details?

I doubt it.

P.S. I have written Dan Okrent about this. I’ll let you know what he says. I have a feeling I am not the only one writing him, and that we will see a correction within the week.

UPDATE: One point mentioned in the Captain’s and Beldar’s posts was that Kristof misspoke when he said that “every enlisted man who was with Mr. Kerry on various boats when he won Purple Hearts and Silver and Bronze Stars says he deserved them.” But I believe that Kristof’s statement, while very carefully worded, is true. It ignores Swift Boat Veteran for Truth Steve Gardner, who served with Kerry longer than any of his supporters who served on the boat with him. But I believe that Gardner was not present for the specific awards mentioned.

UPDATE x2: Tom Maguire has more.

UPDATE x3: Beldar correctly points out that he did not specifically accuse Kristof of misspeaking, but rather of ignoring Gardner. Which Kristof undoubtedly did, in a way that was accurate — but misleading.

UPDATE x4: Thanks to Mickey Kaus for selecting me to join Beldar, Captain Ed, and Tom Maguire in the firm of “Fisk, Fisk, Fisk, and Fisk.” (An honor no doubt aided by Instapundit’s link.) With partners like that, I don’t even mind getting bottom billing!


Kristof’s Underwhelming Set of Nuclear Terrorism Suggestions

Filed under: Terrorism — Patterico @ 3:42 pm

As promised, Nick Kristof has published his (more…)


Kristof on the High Risk of Nuclear Terrorism

Filed under: Terrorism — Patterico @ 6:21 am

Nick Kristof here and here.)

I have said it before and I’ll say it again: if John Kerry would do a better job with this — which is not unthinkable given how little Bush has done — that’s a significant factor for people to look at in deciding between Bush and Kerry.

When I said this before, my conservative friends criticized me, saying that there is no reason to think Kerry would be any better. Fair enough. Hence the word “if.” But you know what? I’m sick of the complacency. Bush needs to damn well start taking the simple steps necessary to combat this obvious menace.

As I’ve discussed here before, the steps to take are straightforward. Kristof says he’ll discuss these steps in his next column.

UPDATE: Michael Williams has a different take.



Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:46 am

KRISTOF SUPPORTS OUR USE OF THE A-BOMB: In a link sent by a reader, Nicholas Kristof examines “one of the most morally contentious events of the 20th century, the atomic bombing” — and concludes that it was justified. Given Kristof’s record of reflexive liberalism, this view is surprising — and interesting.


Trump’s Tweet Reversal on FISA, and What It Says About His Presidency (With Bonus North Korea Discussion)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 am

President Donald J. Trump woke up this morning and issued a tweet about FISA that seemed to contradict his administration’s position on an upcoming FISA vote:

What’s going on? Today the House votes on reauthorizing “Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, that permits the government to collect without a warrant from American firms, like Google and AT&T, the emails and other communications of foreigners abroad — even when they are talking to Americans.” Section 702 will certainly be reauthorized, but libertarian-minded lawmakers like Justin Amash are trying to impose a warrant requirement for such searches. The White House has consistently opposed any such amendment, with Sarah Sanders saying as recently as last night that the amendment would “would re-establish the walls between intelligence and law enforcement that our country knocked down following the attacks of 9/11.” Sanders said, in no uncertain terms: “The Administration urges the House to reject this amendment.”

And then Trump stepped into the breach with his tweet, emboldening the supporters of the amendment and undermining the clarity of his administration’s position.

Apparently somebody spoke to him, because one hour and 41 minutes later, Trump tweeted this:

That is a big Emily Litella-style climbdown. And it was obviously motivated by the intervention of someone who, unlike Trump, understood his administration’s position.

If the notion of Trump farting out an off-message policy statement and having to be walked back sounds familiar, cast your memory back to two days ago, when Trump seemed to tell Sen. Dianne Feinstein that he was for a “clean” DACA bill — a statement that Kevin McCarthy had to help Trump walk back. Trump is like a kid who might suddenly dart into traffic at any moment. You have to hold that tiny little hand tight, to keep him safe.

You don’t need Michael Wolff to tell you that Trump is a woefully uninformed man-child who stumbles around saying random things. This aspect of Trump’s character is on public display, day after day.

So what does this say about the nature of Trump’s presidency? Until we get to foreign policy, not much. It appears that, for the most part, the people around him manage to get the right thing done most of the time, despite Trump. And he obviously listens, at least sometimes. Although the FISA tweet and Feinstein DACA examples show that Trump has no grasp of what his position is supposed to be, they also show that when the correct position is explained to him (which we know happened with Feinstein and which I assume happened with FISA today), he is willing to back down from his incorrect pronouncements. True, an informed president could do more with the bully pulpit to push legislation like ObamaCare repeal. But he mostly does OK on the domestic front.

Ah, but then there’s foreign policy. There, Trump both interacts directly with other world leaders, and also makes public pronouncements on his own (“fire and fury,” anyone?). I think a lot of people assume that, hey, everything will be OK because we have folks like Mattis or McMaster around to rein Trump in. But if you believe the story in Wolff’s book (and here’s an example of a story I believe), Trump has contempt for McMaster, whom he finds “boring” because of his penchant for PowerPoints that make Trump feel like he is being lectured to by a professor. In any event, let’s assume for the sake of argument that Mattis & Co. support comments like “fire and fury” as exemplifying Nixon’s crazy man strategy. It’s still concerning that a guy whose ad libs are often this uninformed and off-message is the Voice of America.

I’m sure my concerns about all this will be met with arguments that South Korea is crediting Trump with bringing North Korea to the table for talks. Settle down, Sparky. The situation is hardly resolved yet. That’s not Trump’s fault, of course; presidents since Clinton have devoted a lot of energy to addressing North Korea, and every effort has ended in failure. It’s a problem that has no easy solution. But when I look at Trump’s aggressive pronouncements about nuclear war, a rhetorical question keeps coming to mind: when did mindless and prideful escalation ever lead to unnecessary violence?

I realize it seems we have detoured far from our original discussion about FISA, section 702, and Trump’s contradictory tweets. But in the headline I promised an analysis about the larger meaning for Trump’s presidency of having a man in the Oval Office with a grade-school-level grasp of policy details. And foreign policy in general — and North Korea in particular — are a YUUUUUGE part of that discussion.

Exit suggestion: if you’ve never seen Nick Kristof’s video from November about North Korea’s preparation for war, set aside some time to watch it. Kristof visited North Korea and interviewed government officials and people on the street — and at the end there is an interesting reveal about the way in which the officials guided the expression of opinions from the “normal citizens.” I disagree with Kristof about a lot of things — just yesterday, I was dismissing Kristof’s worry about Trump’s authoritarianism, noting that while Trump certainly talks like an authoritarian, he doesn’t really act like one. But it’s hard to watch a video like this and not be acutely aware that North Korea at least wants to send the message that it considers war with America virtually inevitable. As we cheer the slight reduction in regulations under Donald Trump, let’s give a little thought to the at least equally important issue of whether we are about to go to nuclear war with a country led by a madman.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

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