Our Sh*t Just Don't Stink
By: shep

by shep

By now I’m sure you’ve heard something about Frank Newport’s unbelievably stupid analysis on the Gallup poll measuring self-reported mental health by party affiliation. Gavin at SadlyNo does an expert takedown and uses it to do a little social science education on the psychology of the Republicans using our favorite expert on authoritarian personalities, Dr. Bob Altermeyer.

I had already sent a couple of comments to Gallup after finding a link to the study on TPM (which, oddly, appears to have scrubbed the link from its site). Today, I got a reply via email so I thought I should respond:

Dear Judith,

Thanks for your reply.

If you indeed, "are well aware of [the fact that self-reported mental health doesn't indicate better mental heath], and attempted to make it as clear as possible throughout the analysis," then you failed miserably.

To wit:

“But the key finding of the analyses presented here is that being a Republican appears to have an independent relationship on positive mental health...”

"The reason the relationship exists between being a Republican and more positive mental health is unknown, and one cannot say whether something about being a Republican causes a person to be more mentally healthy, or whether something about being mentally healthy causes a person to choose to become a Republican..."

Really, I'm not a moron and don't appreciate being treated like one. You owe your readers a correction.

On the other hand, If you really believe that Newport framed the meaning of the poll results correctly, I apologize and hope that you get yourself a modest education in the fundamentals of science.


After Time’s (most) recent (and still uncorrected) Joe Klein debacle, isn’t the media’s complete failure to take responsibility for its egregious mistakes starting to be the real, barely told story. The Fred Haitts, and Joe Kleins, and David Broders, and Maureen Dowds (I could go on) of the world can make any false statement they wish and not be held to account for a word of it. (If you are wondering, I left out the Kristols, and Krauthammers, and Humes and the rest of conservative commentators because pretty much everything they say is mistaken).

The fact is we will not be able to clean the stink out of our political class until we fumigate this rotten American press.

[Cross-posted at E Pluribus Unum]