Sunday, October 24, 2004

Meet Your Liberal Media: Ho Pioneers! Edition

In what passes for journalism these days, the New York Times' John Tierney recycles tripe from a far rightwing website without displaying any skepticism whatsoever:

To Bush-bashers, it may be the most infuriating revelation yet from the military records of the two presidential candidates: the young George W. Bush probably had a higher I.Q. than did the young John Kerry.

That, at least, is the conclusion of Steve Sailer, a conservative columnist at the Web magazine and a veteran student of presidential I.Q.'s....

Mr. Kerry's SAT score is not known, but now Mr. Sailer has done a comparison of the intelligence tests in the candidates' military records. They are not formal I.Q. tests, but Mr. Sailer says they are similar enough to make reasonable extrapolations.

Mr. Bush's score on the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test at age 22 again suggests that his I.Q was the mid-120's, putting Mr. Bush in about the 95th percentile of the population, according to Mr. Sailer. Mr. Kerry's I.Q. was about 120, in the 91st percentile, according to Mr. Sailer's extrapolation of his score at age 22 on the Navy Officer Qualification Test.

Linda Gottfredson, an I.Q. expert at the University of Delaware, called it a creditable analysis said she was not surprised at the results or that so many people had assumed that Mr. Kerry was smarter. "People will often be misled into thinking someone is brighter if he says something complicated they can't understand," Professor Gottfredson said.

People also will often be misled into thinking someone's a disinterested expert if a journalist doesn't disclose all the pertinent facts.

How did Tierney locate the authoritative and unbiased "I.Q. Expert," Linda Gottfredson? From Sailer's web column, of course. And it's not the first time Sailer has quoted Gottfredson on the question of Bush's I.Q. I'm sure Tierney meant to mention those facts in his article, but just forgot.

He also forgot to note that Sailer's an apologist for the Pioneer Fund*, and that Gottfredson has been a recipient of Pioneer Fund largesse. I won't bother going into the Pioneer Fund or its purposes in more detail, since the only purporse of this post is criticize the Times for publishing a dubious wingnut claim as fact, without seriously challenging the premise of the claim through the opinion of a disinterested expert. But Mr. Tierney (or his editors) might want to consider his sources.

The liberal New York Times has sunk to the level of Kausfiles.

* No link provided; Google: Sailer Gottfredson Pioneer Fund to confirm.

No comments: