Sunday, January 22, 2012

Politics of Grievance at Duke [Updated: The Group, and Tim Tyson, Strike Back]

[Updated, Friday, 1.07pm: In the race-to-the-bottom among critics of the paper, none other than Tim Tyson--yes, that Tim Tyson--has weighed in on the matter. In virtually any other environment, Tyson would have no credibility to comment on public matters. This was, after all, a figure who so badly misjudged the lacrosse case that he participated, as a "teacher," in a candlelight vigil on behalf of false accuser Crystal Mangum (who he described as somebody's "sweetheart") a couple of hours before Mangum took the stage, in a highly . . . limber . . . fashion, in a local strip club.

But in the race/class/gender-dominated academy, a race-baiter like Tyson speaks pearls of wisdom. And so in yesterday's Chronicle, Tyson goes after Peter Arcidiacono, fuming, "Who appointed [Arcidiacono] to weigh the merits of black folks being allowed into the room?" I was unaware that tenured faculty members like Arcidiacono had to be "appointed" before they could engage in scholarly inquiry.

As with virtually all of Arcidiacono's critics, Tyson does not challenge the data that the paper of Arcidiacono, et al., uncovered. Instead, he resorts to the race-baiting attack lines: after disingenuously suggesting that he's not challenging the academic freedom of people who don't share his world-view, he does just that: "Duke’s treasure, the late Dr. John Hope Franklin, whose legacy Arcidiacono treads upon, provided research for Thurgood Marshall in the Brown v. Board of Education case. But there is no constitutional right to R-E-S-P-E-C-T, as Aretha might put it. BSA members who question 'the research’s intent, methodology, analysis and conclusion, in addition to its validity,' display a generosity and deliberation far exceeding those of this study."

Once again: Tyson does not challenge in any way the data that Arcidiacono, et al., presented, that black students at Duke disproportionately migrate away from more difficult (science and engineering) to easier (liberal arts) majors.

[Updated, Wed., 8.14pm: In what could be deemed the least surprising development of this entire affair, prominent members of the Group of 88 have sharpened their race-baiting credentials to attack the paper.

Karla Holloway, notorious for her decision to pass along fifth-hand, slanderous gossip against Duke students, at least when doing so furthered her on-campus agenda, tweeted that "Duke authors' unpublished study of race + Affirmative Action lacks academic rigor." Nowhere in her twitter feed has Holloway provided any specific criticism of the study's data; indeed, in another tweet, she even elected to use scare quotes when describing the paper as a study.

The existence of the paper, the Group of 88'er wildly implied, indicated that "Duke still struggles w/issues of diversity," as she appeared to demand that Duke administrators publicly speak out about a research study from Duke professors. (This position was particularly rich coming from Holloway, who during the lacrosse case had issued the bizarre demand that Duke administrators had to publicly support her, as a Duke professor, from criticism.) In what could qualify as a textbook case of the politics of grievance in action, Holloway leveled the inflammatory allegation that the paper--a paper, again, whose data she does not appear to have publicly challenged--"re-opens old racial wounds."

The message here was clear: professors willing to provide data--even if that data is accurate--that challenges Holloway's worldview will face ill-concealed accusations of racism.

Holloway also tweeted a link to the blog run by Mark Anthony ("Thugniggaintellectual") Neal, who ran a post by David Leonard criticizing the paper. Imitating Holloway's race-baiting tactics, Leonard asserted that the paper (whose data he, too, did not challenge) "has dangerous implications."

Meanwhile the Black Student Association has upped its pressure, delivering what the Chronicle terms a "list of demands" to the administration. The list includes--of course--hiring more black professors. The almost laughable inference here is that Duke's arts and sciences faculty--a faculty where many departments are dominated by Group of 88 members, and others have strong Group influence--somehow are insufficiently attentive to hiring African-American faculty. Anyone who believes such a claim would have to reside in some sort of fantasy-land.]

Watching the returns from Saturday night’s South Carolina primary, I was struck by a focus group of Florida GOP voters, who had response dials as they listened to Newt Gingrich’s victory speech. Their dials skyrocketed into positive territory when Gingrich spoke of his willingness to stand up to ill-defined anti-Christian bigotry—this in a majority-Christian country where more than six in ten voters say they’d be less likely to support a presidential candidate who was an atheist.

But Gingrich did not need data or factual evidence to bolster his claims. Rather, as the (basically sympathetic) Sheldon Alberts correctly analyzed, the speech was part of a “broader ‘politics of grievance’ strategy that Gingrich is executing — at the moment — better than his rivals.”

As expert as Gingrich might be at practicing the politics of grievance—and he’s a master—the former Speaker can’t hold a candle to campus “diversity” advocates, who all but originated the tactic. An excellent example came last week at Duke.

The affair started with an unpublished paper penned by Peter Arcidiacono, Kenneth Spenner, and Esteban Aucejo. (Arcidiacono and Spenner are professors at Duke.) The paper used Duke’s own data to show that groups of students who receive preferential treatment in the admissions process (African-Americans and “legacy” admittees) disproportionately migrate from more difficult (science and engineering) to easier (liberal arts) majors.

The paper was cited in an amicus brief in the Fisher case. In briefs filed with the Supreme Court, a key, and persuasive, argument of opponents of on-campus preferences—including, as I wrote about at MTC, my UPI co-author Stuart Taylor—is that not only do these preferences violate the 14th amendment’s promise of all people receiving equal treatment under the law regardless of their race, but preferences don’t even benefit the people (minorities, in this instance) they allegedly were designed to serve. In this instance, the paper’s authors concluded that “attempts to increase representation [of minorities] at elite universities through the use of affirmative action may come at a cost of perpetuating underrepresentation of blacks in the natural sciences and engineering.”

As far as I can tell, no one has presented evidence that challenges the accuracy of the data that the trio presented. To reiterate: as far as I can tell, no one has presented evidence that challenges the accuracy of the data that the trio presented.

The paper first generated outrage from Duke’s Black Student Alliance. The H-S revealed that the organization e-mailed the state NAACP to complain that “the implications and intentions of this research at the hands of our very own prestigious faculty, seemingly without a genuine concern for proactively furthering the well-being of the black community is hurtful and alienating.” Newt couldn’t have handled the faux grievance angle better!

The e-mail further noted that the BSA had demanded “a dialogue” with the paper’s authors “that addresses our concerns about research’s intent, methodology, analysis and conclusion, in addition to its validity.” Yet as far as I could tell, the BSA did not challenge the accuracy of the data that the paper presented. I e-mailed BSA president Nana Asante to ask her if, in fact, she had any complaints about the accuracy of the paper’s data. She did not reply.

Even more boldly, the BSA suggested that some type of “acknowledgement or intervention took place, in the best interests of black students” by the Duke administration. I also asked Asante what type of administration “intervention” she and her colleagues envisioned. She did not reply.

To reiterate: as far as I can tell, the BSA did not challenge the accuracy of the data that the paper presented.

According to the H-S, the grievance crusade then moved on from the BSA to a group of black Duke alums. Seventeen alums wrote to the H-S to say that “we are deeply troubled and offended by the recent study emanating from faculty members at our alma mater.” The letter accused Arcidiacono, Spenner, and Aucejo of “slander” and having produced “both flawed and incorrect” research.

Yet, at least according to what was revealed in the H-S article, the letter didn’t actually identify any specific areas in which the paper was “both flawed and incorrect,” much less slanderous. It’s not even clear to me who the paper could have slandered.

To reiterate: as far as I can tell, despite their overheated rhetoric, the alums did not challenge the accuracy of the data that the paper presented.

The grievance demands triggered a joint letter from Duke provost Peter Lange and other Duke administrators (including Group of 88’er Lee Baker, now a Duke dean). The letter gave a generic defense of academic freedom. But it also included this extraordinary sentence: “We understand how the conclusions of the research paper can be interpreted in ways that reinforce negative stereotypes.”

The administrators did not identify which “negative stereotypes” they had detected, nor did they explain how “the conclusions of the research paper” could be “interpreted in ways that reinforce” these unidentified “negative stereotypes.” The administrators’ letter did not challenge, in any way, the accuracy of the data that the paper presented.

Apart from instances of academic fraud or outright racist/sexist/anti-semitic “research” claims by professors (the “work” of Northwestern’s Arthur Butz comes to mind), I can’t recall a single instance of a university’s administrators—much less a leading research university’s administrators—accusing professors at their school of producing scholarship that could “be interpreted in ways that reinforce negative stereotypes."

This administrative outrage, of course, is highly selective. Imagine the following counter-example. A couple of Duke professors pen a research paper noting (correctly) that opposition to marriage equality skews toward under-educated segments of the population. Duke’s Christian student organization, whose members oppose marriage equality but who see an association with poorly educated people as personally offensive to their religious beliefs, pen a letter wailing that “the implications and intentions of this research at the hands of our very own prestigious faculty, seemingly without a genuine concern for proactively furthering the well-being of the Christian community is hurtful and alienating.” The Christian students demand “a dialogue” with the paper’s authors “that addresses our concerns about research’s intent, methodology, analysis and conclusion, in addition to its validity.”

Does anyone believe that Duke administrators would respond to the Christian students with an open letter seeming to validate their complaints about the (accurate) scholarship, or that “we understand how the conclusions of the research paper can be interpreted in ways that reinforce negative stereotypes”? And if such a public letter were penned, does anyone believe that Duke administrators would not be facing a revolt from the Group of 88 and their allies?

To reiterate: as far as I can tell, no no one has presented evidence that challenges the accuracy of the data that Aucejo, Arcidiacono, and Spenner presented. But in the contemporary academy, which worships before the altar of “diversity,” accurate scholarship can be insufficient—and can even, as in this case, generate an implicit rebuke from a university leadership.

Hat tip--O.S.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson, I think you can take your example a step further. The only reason The Newt's grievance played at all was because it was playing in front of a South Carolina Republican debate audience. MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

The Christian students would be lucky if they were permitted to graduate.

Anonymous said...

It is incredibly unfair of you to compare Duke’s “diversity” advocates with Newt Gingrich’s politics of grievance.

For those who are in agreement with me I believe to the very root of my being that you are unfair. For those who disagree please consider it ironic humor.

Ken Marks said...

I'm curious: what is "the politics of grievance"? For instance, if I note in a speech that the group of 88 wrongly accused the lacrosse players of rape and in doing so caused them great harm and advocated forming a campus group to bring them to justice, would that be promoting the politics of grievance?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Sidney Harr will declare that research invalid. Sidney seems to have convinced himself that his word outweighs any other opinion. He thinks his frivolous lawsuit against Duke has merit just because he said so:-).

Jim In San Diego said...

Once again, the interjection of partisan politics into an apolitical issue has created heat, not light.

I write a blog on the financial crises (plural) facing America, at aworriedcitizen@wordpress.com.

A fundamental premise of my blog is that the financial and political problems facing this country are bipartisan creations.

I repeatedly make the following offer to readers: If you think the problems were created by just one party, then take your pick. I will explain why they were created by the party you did not pick.

We can then switch sides, and I will argue why they were created by the other party.

Both of us would have a lot of ammunition. There is lots of blame to go around.

On the other hand, there is nothing political about seeking due process, and rational thought and behavior from those educating our children.

I wish we could stick to that theme.

aworriedcitizen

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, The Bell Curve.. revisited.

Newt might not have a study, but standardizing "Happy Holidays" commercially, the Obama's lighting the "Holiday Tree" and the new forbidden use of "Merry Christmas" in congressional mailings is certainly a hint of something.

Even your own hypothetical presupposes your readers would be aware of and you acknowledge the existence of an anti-Christian bigotry within the Duke-Durham race/class/gender cabal.

DM

Anonymous said...

KC,
Your political commentaries will cause this blog to be distracted from its original intent and it will degenerate into 'just another venting' blog.

Big Al

Anonymous said...

Is Newt Gingrich a communist?

Anonymous said...

WRAL reports that a small group of Duke students presented complaints to President Brodhead about how black students are being treated on campus. http://www.wral.com/news/state/story/10637101/

The prez was not in his office.

KC Johnson said...

To the 3.55:

If you see DIW as "just another venting" blog, I'd urge you to take your readership elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you have specific critiques of the post (which I note your comment did not offer), I hope you'll remain at DIW & provide them.

To the 1.40:

My sense of the "politics of grievance" as it's practiced on both the campaign trail & the academy is that it focuses on instances of "faux" grievance--to take the examples from this post: the claim that anti-Christian bigotry is a central (or in any way common) element of public policy, the suggestion that Duke as a campus is hostile to "diversity" students--so as to cover up the fundamental weakness of the argument being offered.

As to a critique of the Group of 88 & their influence on campus--my sense is that it would be very easy to provide a substantive, evidence-rich critique :)

Anonymous said...

Well what about the treatment of UCLA law Professor Richard Sander for studying effects of affirmative action on graduation and bar passage rates?
What about how Larry Summers was treated for even asking the question of differences in ability/aptitude of women in science at Harvard? What utterly amazes me is the ivory tower has morphed from the place where every question is welcomed to a place Where You Cannot Ask That Question. Medical schools won't even release graduation/board passage data on their underrepresented populations.

Anonymous said...

Comments of this article show what a lot of non-academic people think about this BSA stunt. Looks like just as bad PR for the university to let the BSA spout off unchecked as it would be to be viewed as racist by the BSA supporters.

http://charlotte.cbslocal.com/2012/01/24/black-duke-students-lash-out-at-university-over-race-gpa-study/#comment-33998

Anonymous said...

Check the admission in the last line of this article KC. The BSA EVP is essentially admitting that the study is accurate in its facts. Of course that doesn't slow them down from airing their grievances du jour.

http://dukechronicle.com/article/bsa-delivers-list-demands-administrators

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Mr Gingrich's audience has been made aware by their children who are Christians attending elite universities that diversity and tolerance very often does not extend to "people like them."

I am a homosexual in a committed relationship and also a practicing Russian Orthodox Christian. My partner and I both graduated in 2006 from a university on a par with Duke, both social sciences majors (me - psychology; my partner - political science, pre-law). We were both fairly open about our orientation. Several professors in social sciences and humanities went out of their way to say positive things about my being gay and about my openness about my relationship. However, several professors, including some in that first group, were openly scornful of my religious faith. One even asked several time in seminars if I didn't realize I was a hypocrite for being gay and Christian since, "those guys just want to burn people like you at the stake." There were also comments that I would have a more rewarding career if I gave up medieval superstitions and developed a more "progressive and contemporary outlook." Some (professors and a very few fellow students) simply expressed puzzlement that someone as intelligent as I am could possibly believe "that shit."

I admit I do feel tensions between my faith and my orientation. But these are matters I take up with my spiritual father, a wise old priest I've known for years. He has shown much more enlightened sensitivity that many of my professors. During my college years I got a lot more hurtful comments about my religion from the diversity crowd than I ever got from Christians regarding my sexuality.

So perhaps it's not so much the politics of grievance as a response to the very real experiences of Christian college students in many areas of academia.

My partner is finishing law school and admires your blog tremendously. He's the one who got me reading you. However, he does note that "The American left has a lot of metanarratives beside gender/class/race. KC isn't immune to all of them."

Kevin M - R

Locomotive Breath said...

KC-

I agree with the 3:55. You know me and you once told me that your father considered me his favorite commenter.

Maybe I've missed the point, but I thought this blog was about the false accusations levied by Crystal Mangum against members of the Duke lacrosse team and the response of Durham and Duke University to those false accusations.

I've stopped reading your blog mostly because every post somehow contains an irrelevant and unnecessary snarky aside at the Republican du jour.

In particular, there is the most insubstantial connection imaginable between a Presidential candidate you obviously don't like and the grievance faculty at Duke.

Anonymous said...

I haven't examined the study, so the authors could account for this, but aren't some "liberal arts" majors rather difficult? E.g., Russian, classical languages, Arabic, even philosophy? I would guess that there aren't a preponderance of black Duke students in these particular majors (as opposed to, say, African-American studies and sociology), but it seems dangerous to assume that "liberal arts" is code for "easy."

Stu Daddy said...

Duke University reports that Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans has died at the age of 91. Requiescat in pace.

KC Johnson said...

To L.B.:

I regret you feel that way.

To test your claim that "every post somehow contains an irrelevant and unnecessary snarky aside at the Republican du jour," I took a look through the last 65 posts. I do not believe your statement is accurate. Indeed, I do not believe your statement is even close to being accurate.

Other than the Gingrich post--coming after a victory in which his grievance-based politics received wide discussion, including by many Republicans--a total of 5 posts mentioned national political matters, with the political issue the focus of none of them. Those were:

(1) a post mentioning on Bill Clinton's "many, many affairs"; (2) a post on Wahneema Lubiano, in which she discussed national political affairs; (3) a post on the indictment of John Edwards; (4) a post, which was then continued, hypothesizing that Tracey Cline--who had just filed a brief that I considered, among other things, not very intelligent, might be Durham's Rick Perry, a politician very much in the news at the time for not being intelligent, a perception that observers of both parties shared--and, indeed, which an overwhelming majority of Republican voters appeared to share, based on Perry's performance; and (5) a post that used Rumsfeld's "known unknown" approach to analyze the pending legal filings.

Far from an anti-Republican comment in every post, then, less than 5 percent of the last 65 posts featured negative comments in any way about Republicans. In each instance, these comments were hardly gratuitous: they involved themes (intelligence, politics of grievance) that, at the time the posts were written, were generating widespread, bipartisan comment; and that directly related to the topic of the post.

KC Johnson said...

To the 8.37:

Your point is absolutely correct, of course. That said, in general, I don't think there's much doubt that on most college campuses, science/math/engineering majors have the reputations among students as being the hardest majors. And quite often, beyond the difficulty of the courses, the majors themselves have much more robust requirements (number of courses, hours classes meet, etc.).

To the 9.16:

Is it conceivable that some undecided Republicans in FL were thinking as you speculate? Yes. Is it at all likely? No. Gingrich didn't talk about college campuses in his speech, and as far as I can tell, on the campaign trail, he's never made this claim. (I don't claim to have listened to every Gingrich speech, but follow politics very closely.) His comments on the issue, at least that I've seen, always have focused either on amorphous attacks on "elite" attitudes or assertions about how anti-discrimination laws have harmed Christian organizations that accept public funds.

I quite agree with your point that the general attitude toward religious Christians and Jews from most faculty (at non-religious schools) is not at all sympathetic--even as, I would also note, Christian students have sometimes made outrageous claims of anti-Christian bigotry (http://bit.ly/w8tpFE). But there was no evidence at all that Gingrich was referring to this situation in his remarks, nor was there any reason to believe that the focus group received his remarks through such a prism.

Anonymous said...

How come you don't reference Obama's class warfare as an prime example of (what I consider) blatant politics of grievance? ...but I am willing to wait for a convincing rationalization that excuses all the democrats :-)

Anonymous said...

Well, Locomotive Breath, you've made a baseless, obviously hyperbolic and emotional charge with no facts to back it up and some apparent prejudice against Professor Johnson's politics. Where's your apology?

_____________________

What I find amusing when Professor Johnson does his political thing is that he makes his one point, a dozen or so people jump on him and get to write a lot of irrelevant (and some relevant) things to support their politics. Good! You both made your points. Me? I trust the Gang of 88 about as much as I trust "Fox & Friends."

____________________

Imagine the indignation, outrage and protestations aimed at this AA study if the Gang of 88 hadn't been so recently cowed by the outcome in the Crystal Mangum Hoax? Sacred cows are only sacrificed at the cost of much blood. It is my opinion that there would have been more blood -- a lot more blood -- if the Gang of 88 was at full throat. I gain some solace and even more satisfaction from that belief. Evidence-based worldviews are starting to become cool again! MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

At the root of Holloway/Group of 88 actions are not really anything we might construe as good and decent. It is naked totalitarianism that seeks to suppress any speech they see as dissent from their views. This is also called by the wishy-washy name of "political correctness."

Outrageous as it is, it is actually good that these people do and say these things. It gives us clarity on what they are about. And they are cloistered at places like Duke. So perhaps this may be the main positive here-- Duke keeps them contained from directly harming the greater society (mostly) and provides a constant reminder how bad it could be if these folks get in charge of anything important.

Greg Toombs said...

Blue on Blue. Heh.

Reality-based community. Apparently not everywhere on the left. Double heh.

Lois Turner said...

Well, you don't know me (and I don't suppose your Dad does either) but I'd like to see a lot more irrelevant and unnecessary snarky asides in this blog about the participants in the ongoing Republican comedy show. The snarkier the better, actually. Otherwise I might stop reading it too.

Lois Turner said...

By the way, Neal and Holloway aren't the only 88ers to have leapt into action. Tim Tyson (what a surprise, eh?) has a guest column about the controversy in today's Chronicle too.

One Spook said...

This is interesting. I've always enjoyed L. B. 's comments and MOO Gregory's comments, while the former disagrees with KC's politics and the latter agrees with KC's politics. And so it goes.

It would seem to me that since one of KC's original foundations for this blog and his concern about the actions of the Group of 88 and Duke administration was that their behavior toward the Duke lacrosse players violated what KC termed as "the academy's tradition fealty to the dispassionate examination of facts."

I believe that injecting political examples, analogies, and the like strays from a "dispassionate examination of facts." Most all of us are quite passionate about our politics. So to me, such references in this forum are not useful, relevant or beneficial and do not make a positive contribution to a factual discussion of the issues.

I also believe such commentary is needlessly divisive as MOO Gregory observed,"... when Professor Johnson does his political thing is that he makes his one point, a dozen or so people jump on him and get to write a lot of irrelevant (and some relevant) things to support their politics."

I think that the best analogy for the actions of the Black Students Association is that they appear to have learned their lesson in "the politics of grievance" quite well.

Their actions mirror the Group of 88's "Listening Statement" perfectly --- completely ignoring and lying about the facts of an issue in order to further grievance goals.

One Spook

Anonymous said...

I'd rather go down in flames with Gingrich than go down wimpering with Romney (like we did in 2008).
Big Al

Anonymous said...

For Kevin M - R

1/24/12 9:16 PM:

I wonder what your scornful professors would have thought of Father Mychal Judge.

Father Judge died on 9/11/2001 ministering to a fallen New York Firefighter. Father Judge was gay.

mikelau said...

Looking for evidence of the politics of grievance- just watch MSNBC. This is the network that has just given one Melissa Harris-Perry her very own show.

One of her first acts was to compare the photo of Arizona Governor Brewer talking to President Obama on the tarmac to an iconic photo of a young African American girl entering a school in Arkansas for the first time in 1959.

While Newt Gingrich is certainly well versed in the politics of grievance he's got nothing on the race, class, gender obsessed folks over at MSNBC and on the left in general.

Jim In San Diego said...

Lois Turner:

So, you might stop reading this blog if KC stops making "quarky" comments about "the Republican Comedy show"?

good grief. Do you know what this blog is about?

If you have an endless appetite for partisan politics, you have an infinite number of blogs; most media; and virtually any public speech by virtually any politician to titillate.

Should we, in addition, attempt to politicize the desire of parents to have their children given due process at school, and taught by adults who respect them as individuals?

KC, you have written of the great error the black community of Durham made adopting identity politics, instead of joining with the Lacrosse players to attempt to improve justice for all in Durham.

Politicizing your blog drags it into identity politics, and away from justice.

It is your blog, but it is too bad.

Jim Peterson

mikelau said...

Need more examples of the politics of grievance- read this recent article about "Colorblind Racism" by MSNBC contributor Edward Wyckoff Williams-

http://www.theroot.com/views/colorblind-racism?page=0,2

Williams whole heartedly embraces the philosophies espoused by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (Duke Sociology Professor and Group of 88 member) who KC has written about on this blog in the past. In fact Williams gets his talking points directly from Bonilla-Silva's book which KC dug into in his profile in July 2007.

Based on the writings of Williams and Bonilla-Silva, every Republican candidate is racist. In fact, anyone who does not support the DREAM Act or opposes extending voting rights to felons (as Romney does) is racist.

As I said previously, Gingrich is well versed in the politics of grievance, but he's got nothing on the left.

The fact is that the theories put forth by the Group of 88 (especially those regarding racism) are mainstream in today's Democratic Party.

KC Johnson said...

To mikelau:

I completely agree, and have criticized Harris-Perry, noting her MSNBC connection, here: http://durhamwonderland.blogspot.com/2011/10/msnbc-analyst-respect-group-of-88s.html.

That she would be given a program is outrageous.

To O.S.:

I completely agree that we should be devoted to a "dispassionate examination of facts." Facts, however, are key. I feel passionately that the Group of 88 betrayed some of the basic ideals of the academy. That I feel passionately about the matter, hasn't (I would submit) prevented me from analyzing the Group's handiwork in a factual and dispassionate manner.

The two "political" frames that appeared to generate criticism were about Gingrich using the politics of (faux) grievance in SC and Perry being not too bright--in posts about a case-related event of "faux" grievance and a DA who's not too bright. None of the people who have commented on the matter have challenged the accuracy of these descriptions--which (and not to reiterate the point) were heavily in the news at the time I wrote the posts, and reflected what amounted to a bipartisan consensus.

Using such events as hooks isn't at all uncommon--provided, of course, there's an intellectually justified connection. I blogged at Cliopatria for eight years and employed the tactic on many occasions, and do so from time to time at MTC as well. Frequently in the classroom I'll use an event in the political arena as a hook to invite student interest in the past (and also as a subtle encouragement to students that they should keep up on national politics). It's an extremely effective teaching tactic.

One difference between DIW & my experience in the classroom is that I never discuss my personal political beliefs in the classroom. I did so, originally, at DIW only in the interests of disclosure: in a series of posts strongly criticizing the John Edwards campaign (on what I considered appropriate, and ultimately vindicated, grounds), I considered it an ethical requirement to reveal that I was an Obama supporter & donor, since at the time Edwards & Obama were both serious candidates for the nomination. If I had not made that revelation, however, I strongly doubt that, based on the 1500-or-so other DIW posts, readers here would have had any idea of my partisan affiliation.

Anonymous said...

Get a life, KC...

Locomotive Breath said...

As expert as Obama might be at practicing the politics of grievance—and he’s a master.

There, fixed it for you.

Anonymous said...

If I had not made that revelation, however, I strongly doubt that, based on the 1500-or-so other DIW posts, readers here would have had any idea of my partisan affiliation.

Yeah, after all the negative references you've made to Rumsfield, Bush, Gingrich, etc. we're so dumb, we would have never figured out you were an Obot.

DM

KC Johnson said...

To the 2.21:

Thanks for the kind words!