May 5, 2008

Top 50 pundits

Audacious Epigone figures out the demographic breakdown of the London Daily Telegraph's list of top 50 most influential American political pundits.

This is not to say that the Telegraph's list is accurate or inaccurate, just that it's a list somebody made up for a different purpose than demographic analysis, which makes it useful for demographic analysis. These kind of "found subjective lists" have more prima facie plausibility for demographic analysis than when the demographic analyst makes up his own subjective list, since his interest in demographics is likely to bias his list in one way or another.

The most interesting finding, to my mind, was in the Religious/Ethnic background category, where Roman Catholics held a plurality (40% of the top 50 pundits). At least eight of them are more or less Irish (Russert, Matthews, O'Reilly, Hannity, Noonan, Sullivan, Bennett, Shields). (And that's leaving out Pat Buchanan, who is 3/4ths Irish and 3/4ths Catholic, but not quite the same 3/4ths.)

As usual in lists of achievers, Jews (27%) are represented about an order of magnitude more than their share of the population, but it's such a small share of the population that they come in behind Catholics and Protestants (29%).

Men make up 86%. Whites account for 90%, blacks 10%, with nobody else on it (Michelle Malkin didn't make the list, but people I've never heard of, like Rachel Maddow, did). Average age is 52.4.

It's all about what you'd expect from other lists or just from looking at the First Class cabins on airliners -- America is run by middle-aged white men.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

24 comments:

TH said...

I had never heard of Rachel Maddow, either. I looked her up, and without any malice I must say that she is the most lesbian-looking woman I've ever seen.

vanya said...

As an Italian-American, I'm struck by the relative lack of Italian-Americans. Joe Trippi and Michael Barone seem to be it, and I question whether they belong on that list in the first place. I don't think Italian-Americans have really done as well in the US as we like to tell ourselves. For the most part we pulled ourselves up to middle class, but then got stuck there. In 50 years we'll see a lot more Asian Americans on this sort of list I'm sure, but probably not more Italian Americans or Hispanics.

I don't know about this list though - it looks like they did make some concessions to demographics - JC Watts? Really? Isn't that just an excuse to get a black man on?

Anonymous said...

It's all about what you'd expect from other lists or just from looking at the First Class cabins on airliners -- America is run by middle-aged white men.

What makes this generational cohort unique is that they are the first to deny that what made America America was being run by middle-aged white men.

Doug

Audacious Epigone said...

Tim Russert is also among the Catholics who are Irish.

Josh said...

Cant believe I am about to correct Steve Sailer,but Tim Russert is Irish,too. :) I didnt peruse the entire list,but I dont know if its good that a John Stewart is so high. He makes fun of people very well,but it doesnt seem to "inform" as much as just let his "hip" "cool" and "with it" audience laugh at,er,middle-aged white men!

Rob Schrader said...

Your list of seven is incomplete. Colbert is Irish and Maher's father was Irish Catholic. I'm also pretty sure that Barone's mother is Irish.

Svigor said...

I say we start with diversity right there, Steve. Let's replace ALL the whites with black lesbians.

Not kidding.

Let's do the same for Hollywood (and Madison Avenue) writers, producers, directors, CEOs, etc.

Still not kidding.

(and the most liberal and "tolerant" should be the first to be replaced - they'll be most enthusiastically in favor, after all)

Then we can move on to the lawyers and politicians.

Ron Guhname said...

I'm very familiar with Maddow. She's smart--a PhD from Oxford I believe--but she's too new to be on any list except Top Young Lesbian Pundits.

Reg Caesar said...

I like to hypothesize a "Green Shadow". There's an Irish train in almost every field where Jews are overrepresented-- or "dominate", to some.

Remember the old Homer Price story "Ever So Much More So", about the charlatan who sold bottles of air? Well, Irish-Americans are much like American Jews, only "Not Quite As Much So"-- present in punditry, literature, political theory, sportswriting, etc.,though not as much. They can be Communist or radical or trade-unionist or neoconservative, though not quite as much.

They do beat Jews in sports, performing music, and Anglophobia-- Jews are good at the last, but no one will ever beat the Irish at that game.

SFG said...

Caesar: yeah, Irish have good verbal and musical ability, though not as much math ability as Jews. It's interesting that the Irish lead in performing music and the Jews lead in writing music. It's not too hard to beat the Jews at sports; ever see 'The Hebrew Hammer'? The guy addresses the Jewish Conspiracy, and there are seats for 'Jewish Bankers', 'Jewish Scientists', etc, but the seat for 'Jewish Athletes' is absent. I wonder how much of the nerd stereotype is really a Jewish stereotype that got de-Judified? Dark hair and glasses...

I think the Irish just suffered because they were too close to England, but once they got the English boot off their back, they cleaned up pretty well, and pretty quickly, too; Ireland's got one of the highest GNP per capitas around.
It's fun to talk about master races being successful but a lot of it's just luck.

As for Italian Americans, you guys are all from South Italy. I hate to be mean but I think all the great Italian artists and scientists were from North Italy. It's kind of like the way Sephardim aren't really that accomplished.

Anonymous said...

"Colbert is Irish"

I don't know whether he still is, but he has been a catechist to children in his Catholic church.

It is really odd that it is the Irish and not the Italians that dominate Catholic punditry.
Somewhat related: all five conservative Supreme Court Justices are Catholic:
John Roberts: half Czech/ half Irish?
Clarence Thomas: African-American
Anthony Kennedy: Irish
Samuel Alito: Italian
Antonin Scalia: Italian

Anonymous said...

sfg - Ireland's high GDP is least partly due to billions being pumped in by the EU. Ironically during the period that England was the biggest single contributor to the EU.

Many businesses have located in Ireland. Why there and not the UK right next door? Because corporate taxes are much lower in Ireland, why are they lower? Because Ireland can afford to dispense with corporate taxes given its subsidies from the EU. But why are those businesses there even so? Because they are located in an english speaking country right next door to an english speaking country with a much larger economy and higher taxes.

The classic example was Gateway computers. They set up a large operation in Ireland, the sole purpose of which was to supply and support its activities in the UK. That would have been the logical place to base itself but in effect corporate welfare from the Irish govt financed by the EU (courtesy of British taxpayers) was what counted in the end.

Anonymous said...

Rachel Maddow; not really that smart. All leftist cant. Her 2001 Ph.D. thesis is entitled "HIV/Aids and Health Care Reform in British and American Prisons" -- isn't that really just a Ph.D. in P.C.

Her supervisor was old P.C. hag Lucia Zedner of the all-crime-is-racist-unless-the-victim-is-white-school of ciminology.

So let's agree Rachel is clever but ... has chosen the easy conformist path to a useless Ph.D. You also know she's full of it 'cause she mentions her Doctorate / Rhodes scholarship (first openly lesbian) / oxford crap every chance she gets.

William said...

[E]ver see 'The Hebrew Hammer'? The guy addresses the Jewish Conspiracy, and there are seats for 'Jewish Bankers', 'Jewish Scientists', etc, but the seat for 'Jewish Athletes' is absent.

I remember a scene in the ZAZ movie Airplane II, where one of the stewardesses offers our intrepid hero a "leaflet - Famous Jewish Sports Legends."

Irish are known for their wits. Italians talk with their hands. Doesn't come across well on a page.

In my world, Peggy Noonan is the most thoughtful, insightful pundit out there. It's too bad she doesn't get more attention than she does, considering she's a big part of the reason Reagan gave so many memorable speeches.

William said...

Many businesses have located in Ireland. Why there and not the UK right next door? Because corporate taxes are much lower in Ireland, why are they lower? Because Ireland can afford to dispense with corporate taxes given its subsidies from the EU. But why are those businesses there even so? Because they are located in an english speaking country right next door to an english speaking country with a much larger economy and higher taxes.

That explanation works equally well for the smaller states next to or near California - Nevada, Arizona, Utah. California is an old, overpopulated state with a large market. The smaller states are near enough to it to take advantage of access but don't bear the high costs of actually locating there. California already has the rot. The other states are rapidly importing it - and Ireland is, too.

Audacious Epigone said...

William,

Great take on Cali/UK and Ireland/surrounding states. Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

The Irish have indeed done very well when they have left their beloved Emerald Isle (this includes a good few of my ancestors) but this is because they have followed the Limeys and the Scots to the USA/Canada/Australia/New Zealand.

Btw, I have never met an American who was not part this part that. An old friend of mine was part French part Italian part Irish and she was and still is, despite living in London 25 years, an American gal through and through.

Henry Canaday said...

Does it strike anyone as a bit paradoxical that so much of advice on how Americans should govern themselves comes from two groups, Irish Catholics and Jewish people, whose native or ethnic homelands are each about 40 miles wide because these two groups are much better at arguing about politics than they are at actually governing anything larger than a county in Texas?

Anonymous said...

whose native or ethnic homelands are each about 40 miles wide

Hmmm. Why are Nippo-Americans such political slackers?

Anonymous said...

Is Steve's frequent point about the lack of leadership and cultural salience among America's Hispanics sustained by their presence or lack of it on this roll call?

Anonymous said...

Ireland and Israel are two well-governed, prosperous, free countries. That the two countries aren't wider than they are has nothing to do with any deficiencies of Irishmen or Jews.

Anonymous said...

Steve runs a good website with many quality threads. This is not one of those threads.

"Ireland and Israel are two well-governed, prosperous, free countries."

Bullsh#t. What a ludicrous comment.

There is a certain amount of "prosperity" skipping across the world in the form of debt. Let's see how properous Ireland is in 2010. And hello? Israel is a dependency.

"Well-governed?" Ireland is a small cog in the dysfunctional EU machinery. And Israel is corrupt to the bone.

"Free countries?" Ireland and Israel are hardly free in the American sense of the word. There is no "liberty" as we understand it. Perhaps you have a slightly different left-wing-friendly definition of "freedom".

There are no "free countries" in the EU - or free citizens because there is no freedom of speech in the EU.

And freedom in Israel is one giant bag of qualifications.

Anonymous said...

"Bullsh#t. What a ludicrous comment."

According to the non-partisan watchdog Freedom House, Ireland gets a 1 (best on a scale from 1-7) ranking for Political Freedoms, a 1 for Civil Liberties, and is categorized as "Free"; Israel gets a 1 for Political Freedoms, a 2 for Civil Liberties, and categorized as "Free".

Ireland's per-capita GDP is about $45k, higher than America's, and Israel's per-capita GDP is about $31k, which is similar to that of the average EU country.

ADP said...

I just want to say that the Irish are grossly "overrepresented" through faulty/mistaken self-identification. No one really wants to be Welsh or Scottish or English or German or Dutch anymore, and most people don't know what their ancestors' actual ancestry was, so they just say "Irish" because the Irish have been "oppressed" and everyone wants to be the underdog. It just isn't cool to be German or English. So, people use Irish as a sort of space filler. Americans of actual Irish ancestry are far less in truth than it would appear to be, if you asked people what their background was.