2014/03/21

Wall St. Journal

Had a lengthy email conversation with a right-winger who reads a lot, but really likes the Wall St. Journal and quotes it a lot. Problem is, he doesn't appear to read the original liberal ideas that the WSJ criticizes, nor does he read any liberal responses to what the WSJ asserts.


A real problem with the one-sidedness of the WSJ can be seen in a Media Matters critique. On the surface, the WSJ appears to have a good case. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act sets up a “disparate impact“ test that says that if a practice has the effect of denying equal employment opportunities to a minority, then it must be discontinued. In a case involving firefighters, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio defends the decision by saying “I think the numbers speak for themselves." The WSJ argues:


But the numbers don't speak for themselves. Intent matters. Racially disparate outcomes alone are not proof of discrimination, yet advocates of such nonsense continue to exploit our legal system. "No speck of evidence is required from those who implicitly assume that employee composition would be similar to population composition, in the absence of discrimination," writes Thomas Sowell...”


Slight problem with this (As Media Matters also points out) is that ever since the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s, it's been unfashionable for racists to openly and explicitly use racially derogatory terms or to openly admit racist intentions, so minorities seeking to prove that they were not just discriminated against, but were discriminated against with the clear and explicit intention of disenfranchising them, puts an impossible burden on the minorities.


So the problem is that if one depends entirely on the WSJ for their understandings and arguments (And the aforementioned right-winger does), if one's only source is the WSJ, then one will be unaware of how deceptive and manipulative the WSJ is being. But the only way to realize this is of course to read other sources like Media Matters. Remaining in a bubble has to be voluntary act as it's not at all difficult to find liberal sources that will eviscerate WSJ talking points.




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