An Amazing Case Study On How Bias Makes Us Stupid

when-facepalmnot-enoughBias makes you stupid. It interferes with our objective judgment, makes us unreasonable and unfair, leads to poor decisions and the loss of the respect of others. Seldom will one see a more striking example than the current post on The Daily Kos, the unhinged far left website, by earnest, progressive, biased and struck-stupid commentator Mark E. Anderson.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is a potential Republican presidential contender who is hated by progressives with an unseemly passion for his successful vanquishing of public employee unions in a traditionally liberal state. He never graduated from college: he left the University of Marquette in his senior year to take advantage of a business opportunity, and never looked back. Good for him.

In a recent interview, addressing his lack of bachelors degree, Walker said,

“I’ve got a master’s degree in taking on the big government special interests, and I think that is worth more than anything else that anybody can point to.”

Does anyone reading that sentence, knowing its context and being educated sufficiently to have a passing familiarity with the basic tools of rhetoric, such as irony, metaphor, and hyperbole, misunderstand what Walker was saying?

Well, both Anderson and his editors at the Daily Kos did misunderstand Walker’s obvious—to the non-hate addled—meaning. Believe it or not, they jointly allowed the site to post Anderson’s embarrassing screed titled,

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker claims to have a master’s degree

Yup…it really is called that. The title would be unethically deceitful if the writer wasn’t so obviously serious, writing,

“He does not get to say he has a non-existent master’s degree. He has not earned one—he does not know what non-traditional students have to sacrifice for their education. He has never wondered if he will have enough money for food after he pays his tuition bill, or if he can afford diapers after purchasing a textbook. He has never slaved away for months on something, putting heart and soul into it, only to have a professor rip it to shreds in less than five minutes, and to have loved ones walk out of your life.No, Walker does not have a master’s degree in taking on the big government special interests. He is a college dropout.”

Wow.

This even worse than Fox News’ recent bout of confirmation bias, lazily reporting absurd claims that whole cities in Great Britain and France were Islamic enclaves. That was a matter of believing something unlikely because they want it to be true, and not bothering to check the facts. Anderson had all the facts right in front of him, and still can’t comprehend them. That’s bias blindness.

Yes, Mr. Anderson, Gov. Walker is a college dropout, and as such, with your help, he has proved a fact of life: formal education is not a prerequisite of success and leadership ability,  and all the degrees in the world can’t overcome the brain rot that accompanies blinding hate and bias.

_______________________

Pointer: Althouse

Source :Daily Kos

Graphic: rolfnlol

13 thoughts on “An Amazing Case Study On How Bias Makes Us Stupid

  1. I was going to write about this story this weekend; I may yet, but I’m glad you got to it now. There’s a concept in literary theory called “willful misreading.” This is a definition by example. Not sure it’s worse than completely making stuff up (Fox), but the two phenomena are first cousins if not siblings.

    • That’ll be the day they print ‘NEVER MIND’ in 60-point bold and shut down the website.

      Meanwhile, according to old journalism school cynicism, on average, 8 out of 10 people will read the headline — “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker claims to have a master’s degree” — but only 2 out of 10 will read beyond that and at least get a clue.

  2. Well, his profile says he works in Information Systems (I think, it says IS). Just thinking about all the information systems people I have known over the years that said that they couldn’t allow Macs on the network because no one in the department was able to learn how to use them, could it be that he can’t actually comprehend written text well? That, combined with his built-in bias, could make him actually believe that is what Gov. Walker said. It also would explain why his readership probably believes his article.

  3. “I, on the other hand, have a degree from the University of Life, a diploma from the School of Hard Knocks, and three gold stars from the Kindergarten of Getting the **** Kicked Out of Me.” – E. Blackadder

  4. Your standard beat-up. It’s not as if there aren’t real issues worth reporting, but it’s easier and more spectacular to engage in “willful misreading”, as Rick put it.

    I’ve seen far worse, in the WSJ for example. There are multimillion dollar organisations that do nothing but engage in it. It’s now so common, so universal, it’s the default. Gresham’s law applied to public discourse.

    Remember the “plastic turkey”?

      • And standard? Standard beat-ups at least are clever enough not to require complete idiocy to line up with them. The beat up on Romney’s “binders” gaffe fit your description, or even the attacks on Obama’s “you didn’t build that.” The crap Haig took for “I am in charge here,” or that Carter took for his so called “malaise speech.” Or poor Dean’s scream. Surely you see why this is worse than any of those? I mean, Dean did scream.

        I think we get so used to the standard that we no longer react to the outrageous, which accusing Walker of falsely claiming a degree when any fool could tell he did nothing of the kind clearly is. You still have to draw lines and say “enough is enough.”

        • A little off topic here…

          I don’t know about the “you didn’t build that” one. I think it was actually a relatively fair complaint rather than an unfair standard beat-up. Even in the context of the rest of the speech, he barely acknowledged any value created by the business owner themselves. He basically assigned success to the efforts of others on their behalf. People could look to other speeches and come to the conclusion that he doesn’t really think business owners bear almost no responsibility for their own success, but that’s bordering on a Pazuzu rationalization I think. I consider his willingness to put it in the terms he did signature significance of someone who doesn’t think much of private enterprise.

          Actually, now that I think about it, Pazuzu rationalizations are usually an attempt to erase a statement of signature significance.

        • Totally forgot about that. But that was being hyper-critical, not completely and absurdly dunder-headed about what the clear meaning of a statement was in order to get indignant about it. Being hyper-critical IS a standard beat-up, in Zoe’s words—the turkey nonsense is a good rejoinder to the accusation that Obama is hyper-criticized because, you know, racists—but its not in the same ball park of stupid as missing an obvious metaphor.

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