The role of psychological projection in the “mainstream media” hatred at FoxNews

That sure feels like the title of an academic paper. Not unexpected from an academic, but also nothing close to the truth. More the ramblings of a non-expert who does this as a hobby, and has some thoughts to get off my chest. Normal stuff. But here’s what triggered me: A discussion of the news that Pfizer’s COVID vaccine exceeded expectations in the early analyses of efficacy and how it was handled in the bit I heard at FoxNews (and “heard” is accurate, because I was in my car, listening to FoxNews on the radio). It got me thinking about how often the criticisms of other media outlets by folks at FoxNews really feel more appropriately directed at themselves.

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Is the ride over or just getting started?

I wrote a quick post the other day, before Biden was declared the winner of the election by the major news agencies. I had a lot on my mind and referred to a few things that I was thinking about and wanted to write more about in the coming days. Some were short-lived, and I’ve lost the desire (need) to think about them more, but others still weigh on me. Perhaps most of all is the polling and how to adjust expectations in the future. I’m not thinking about this as a pollster, because I’m not and never will be. I’m thinking about this as a member of society who relies on polls to give me some semblance of predictability in an unpredictable world. I’m thinking about this as a consumer of information and how to best use that information to inform my decisions and expectations. I’m thinking about this as a lay person, which I absolutely am.

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A roller coaster election day/week

It’s November 6, three days after election day and we do not have an official winner of the election. If you live in Biden world (like I do), there’s finally optimism that Biden will eventually be declared the winner, and the lead he’s just taken in Pennsylvania makes that very likely. If you live in Trump world, hundreds of thousands of votes were cast after the election and it’s just a matter of time before the Supreme Court throws them out and declares Trump the winner. I don’t have a sense of how populated that version of Trumpworld is, but it’s not empty.

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Trump and the new version of identity politics

There are many things I don’t feel like I fully understand. The concept of identity politics is one of them. Perhaps it’s not that I don’t understand it as much as it confuses me because it seems thrown around so much that it’s kind of meaningless to me. But for many years I’ve thought of identity politics as a term used to describe the way that politicians try to attract voters of specific identities. The way that democrats have tried to appeal to LGBTQ voters or African-American voters, and the way that republicans have tried to appeal to military members and people who are very religious. When I think of identity politics, it’s about appealing to people with these specific labels being part of their identity. But I think the idea can also be thought of in the converse: that support for a specific politician becomes part of a person’s identity. A shorthand for what’s important to them and where they stand on issues.

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A hopeful read of some polls

It’s pretty obvious to anybody who knows me, has read anything I’ve ever written, or heard anything I’ve said, that I’m hoping Biden will win the upcoming election. The polls all seem to predict that outcome, which is nice, but the polls predicted a solid win by Clinton in 2016, and that didn’t happen. That’s likely why some polls show a lead for Biden, but among the same sample, the prediction that Trump will win. How fascinating is that? Although a majority of those sampled prefer Biden, a majority believes Trump will win. To be fair, I might have been in the majority opinion on both questions, but I’m feeling more and more confident that the polls will predict the outcome. Here’s why.

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Right track or wrong direction?

Is the country on the right track or going in the wrong direction? A question that has been popular in political polls since it was introduced by pollsters working for Reagan in the late 1970s. It’s an odd question, because it lacks parallelism (perhaps should be right direction vs wrong direction), but it’s an interesting way to track voter behavior. This was, as are so many important things, alluded to in the opening of an episode of the West Wing. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the clip on YouTube, but it was some pretty typical Sorkin writing that gives the characters an opportunity to teach the viewer about something.

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Is Trumpism a third party in the making?

As the election season gets closer to being over, and as the GOP convention finished its final night, I’m left watching the disdain for Trump come from all sides. There really isn’t a single group left (other than “Trump supporters”) that isn’t upset with him. In some ways, it almost seems like the makings of a third party, but probably not.

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Delight in suffering

Trump supporters like to talk about Trump Derangement Syndrome, in spite of having no idea where that phrase originated and what its originator thinks about Trump. Although I think the phrase is a bit over- and mis-used, the visceral disgust that many of us feel about Trump is real. I wouldn’t call it derangement, but there’s a real difference between how I feel about Trump and how I feel and have felt about politicians and pundits who haven’t shared my views in the past. I don’t think that’s because I’ve changed. I think it’s because there’s something vastly different about Trump and his supporters: they seem to place a higher value on upsetting their opponents than on achieving some policy goal.

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Quarantined

My family has been voluntarily quarantined for six days. My wife was frightened by the novel coronavirus first. We thought she was crazy, and made fun of her, but I soon was infected by her fear. At first I was just trying to be a good husband, and help present a united front for our kids, so they’d fall in line, but after some easy math, I got worried also. I hope I’m wrong. I hope this ends faster than we fear. I hope it takes fewer lives than I fear. I hope for all those things. I am, to a fault sometimes, a man of hope. But I’m afraid.

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The Thing About Biden

Full disclosure, I’m planning to vote for Joe Biden in the New York Primary and I hope to vote for him again in November. I won’t think twice about voting for Sanders in November if he wins the nomination. But I cannot ignore the thing about Biden: that he’s getting old and he’s not as quick as he once was. He stumbles on simple sentences. He makes mistakes as he speaks. He garbles words and can’t recall phrases that I bet he’s known his whole life. He’s getting old and he’s not as quick as he once was. But…

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