July 1, 2009

Ricci: When even the NYT Letters-to-the-Editor make sense

Traditionally, the New York Times has the world's worst Letters-to-the-Editor page, filled with credentialed but clueless poohbahs writing in to say how much they agree with the NYT's soporific editorials, but they were disappointed that the editorial didn't include some additional argument so dumb that not even the NYT Editorial board would fall for it.

It indicates just how badly the diversitarians got smoked intellectually on Ricci that even the NYT's Letters-to-the-Editor section (The Firefighters' Test: Flawed or Fair?) responding to the paper's editorial denouncing the New Haven test is pretty good.

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

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

My favorite foolish line of reasoning from the letters to the editor is that circuit court judges get overturned all the time, no big deal. Bull. Robert Bork served a long time and none of his decisions were overturned.

Anonymous said...

I have noticed that many left wing blogs simply glossed over the Ricci decision. If they covered it at all, it was one article and then they quickly burried it. This is not something the left is proud of.

dearieme said...

If you hire dim bulbs to be firemen in the first place, aren't they going to have particular difficulty with promotion exams?

RWF said...

The letter by 'Hank Spencer' is particularly good, because as he says, the usual rationale for dismissing tests with differing outcomes by race is that they are culturally biased as whites will be more familiar with the context, but obviously that can't possibly apply to a test about firefighting administered to fire fighters.

OneSTDV said...

This is my favorite quote:

"When my house is on fire I want the best firefighter, and I don’t care what color he or she is."

Apparently, Justice Ginsburg want their firefighters lazy and ignorant of fire terminology and strategy.

Oh and hopefully, it should be "color HE is". Enough with this absurd contention that high numbers of women can be firefighters.

JoeShipman said...

Actually the NYT Letters-to-the-Editor page is even worse than you say. They have a policy of printing the silliest and least convincing letters advocating positions they oppose, and choosing the most cogent and impressive letters supporting their own positions. (This is a strong statement, but I am personally familiar with many excellent letters written by eminent people which were never printed while far inferior letters of the same length advocating the same position were printed.)

Anonymous said...

Of course a large number of the people who write letters to the NYT are in favor of tests being used for promotions, that is because taking tests are how they got their positions in life. They took tests to get to the top of the class in high school, they took tests to get into university, they took tests to graduate university and that university degree then got them into the door on their career path.

I would think that the editorial writers of the NYT would appreciate that but maybe they went another route, maybe they got their position by who they know, not on passing tests.

DJF

Anonymous said...

While I didn't read it, the subject editorial must have been extraordinarily stupid. One would typically expect a fair sample of Time readers to get most issues wrong most of the time.

Anonymous said...

You're being a little unfair to the NYT letters people. They aren't the same as the editorial board, and they do publish critical letters. I've managed to get 17 letters published over the last 13 years, all on immigration or affirmative action, and all sharply critical of the paper's positions.

That said however, there does seem to have been a change over the last two years. I haven't been able to get anything published, and I've seen far fewer critical letters from other people on those topics.

The on-line comments are also interesting. For some topics -- gay marriage in particular -- the commenters overwhelmingly support the editorial board's positions, so there is reason to believe the commenters are genuine NYT readers. However on immigration and affirmitive action the comments are always overwhelmingly negative. That's certainly true of this editorial ("Firefighters and Race"), even though they seem to have truncated the comments section (mine never got in, and 150 comments seems low for this topic). And on immigration it's just as bad: check out Immigration Reform and Hard Times (be sure to click on READER'S RECOMENDATIONS). In fact they haven't even allowed comments on their (regular like clockwork) immigration editorials since then!

David said...

To the Editor, NYT:

I am ashamed that Emmett Till was lynched once again by the current almost all-white Supreme Court. Shame on them, and on us, for betraying the legacy of Atticus Finch.

Sorrowfully,
Caspar Sanchez Greenberg, Ph.d, LL.d

- fixed that for you -

Anonymous said...

My limited experience blogging around is that the more idological the website the less likely they are to have an open blog. Political groups want to control their own spin. The problem is that anyone can read the comments which can often run directly counter to the position that organization is espousing. Alot of sites pull comments quickly if they mention anything that smacks of a hate fact.

A lot of left wing blogs simply did not cover Ricci. Sensing a no-win situation they either put out an article on some obscure angle or not at all hoping that it would go away. I see the same thing regarding illegal immigration. With 80% of the population against illegal immigration there is not many new angles that can be added so they usually just go for censorship.

Bob said...

"credentialed but clueless poohbahs writing in to say how much they agree with the NYT's soporific editorials, but they were disappointed that the editorial didn't include some additional argument"

That is a perfect description!

Anonymous said...

JOE SHIPMAN WROTE:


" JoeShipman said...
Actually the NYT Letters-to-the-Editor page is even worse than you say. They have a policy of printing the silliest and least convincing letters advocating positions they oppose, and choosing the most cogent and impressive letters supporting their own positions. (This is a strong statement, but I am personally familiar with many excellent letters written by eminent people which were never printed while far inferior letters of the same length advocating the same position were printed.)"



Joe my friend, Gannett syndicate newspapers, like the detested-TENNESSEAN in my part of the world, have been doing that for years.

The Right-wing letters to the editor were so bad that Ive wondered for years if they weren't fakes written by the editorial staff, while the left wing letters went right down the list of usual talking points. The "letters may be edited for content and length" clause means that your strongest points in argument will be "edited out" of your letter if it gets printed. Trust me, the alterna weekly "Nasvhille Scene" (our tinny little version of the Village Voice) did that to me once, and gutted the meat of my argument-itself a dishonest act and they knew it.


Miles

A Nonce Lily said...

My limited experience blogging around is that the more idological the website the less likely they are to have an open blog [ . . . ] Alot of sites pull comments quickly if they mention anything that smacks of a hate fact.

I just want to say, anonymous, that it's very tacky of you to criticize that other magazine Steve writes for, especially in such an underhanded and sneaky way. I doubt one in ten readers here know what publication you are referring to.

Figgy said...

I think the NYT was surprised by the negative reaction to that opinion piece. Usually they can print any manner of liberal tripe and receive a decided majority of positive reponses (although I admit I don't know how the screening works in regard to the balance of replies). This one generated responses in the neighborhood of 80-90% critical. I signed on right after the piece appeared and in no time the comments started flying in. It seemed they pulled the plug pretty early on, stopping at a nice round 150 with plenty of letters (including mine, full of "cogent points") in the hopper I'm sure. After that, it was conspicuously absent from their "favorite 10" list and was not the easiest of links to find.

Maybe I'm reading too much into it but I have to think they weren't too happy about the beating they took on this one.

And I dont' agree with a previous comment here that it was about test takers defending their preferred standard. I'd like to think it was a victory for common sense, something we don't see too often these days.

Anonymous said...

I have noticed that many left wing blogs simply glossed over the Ricci decision.

My impression is that most "conservative" blogs and media didn't make a big deal out of it either. I listen to a fair amount of talk radio and the only radio host I heard giving extended time to Ricci was Michael Medved. He was defending the Supreme Court decision but soft-pedaling it as much as possible to avoid any hbd implications, while also allowing a black female activist to spew anti-rational tripe at length. Otherwise, nothing. Did I miss something?

Anonymous said...

Nonce Lily,

Enlighten me / us. I do not know which one you are referring to.

My comment was a general one, not aimed at Steve or you for that matter.

Melykin said...

Well I've always considered myself to be liberal. However that doesn't necessarily mean I check my brain at the door. There are stupid liberals ideas and there are stupid conservative ideas.

Lots of people prefer to think for themselves about each issue rather than always follow a preconceived liberal or conservative position.

I am liberal, but I am opposed to AA. I think it is dangerous and unfair.

Almost certainly it was because of AA that Dr. Jonah Odim was able to graduate from Yale and University of Chicago Medical school, and train at the renowned Boston's Children's Hospital. Then he came to Winnipeg, and his incompetence was responsible for the deaths of a number of babies before the program he was the head of was closed down. There was a huge inquiry about it that lasted 5 years. After that he moved back to the States. He is currently working in LA, but I think they only let him do research.

I wonder what happened to the (more capable) white or Asian student that didn't get into medical school and wasn't able train to be a pediatric heart surgeon because the place was given to Jonah Odim because of AA.

Read about what happened in Winnipeg here:
http://books.google.ca/books?id=1pdpOx4QZ8MC&pg=PA98&lpg=PA98&dq=jonah+odim++NURSING+AGAINST+THE+ODDS&source=bl&ots=r2cNR1LhAA&sig=oAPaEfWslcEg5YQDtXtieg-i5Hw&hl=en&ei=t-5OSse7GYX0sgP3p4WrDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1

Anonymous said...

Hmmm.... I'm the guy that defended the NYT letters-to-the-editor people above, noting that I'd been able to get 17 critical letters published over the years, but also noting that things seemed to have changed over the past two years, and that the Times seemed to be publishing a lot fewer critical letters on immigration and affirmative action.

The thing is, I just realized that it was about two years ago that Andrew Rosenthal, son of the notorious A. M. Rosenthal (who defended illegal immigration on the grounds that his father had been an illegal immigrant), took over as editorial page editor. I can easily imagine this not being a coincidence!