Sunday, August 15, 2004

Flagrantly Biased Interviewing

I was sorely tempted to imitate Brad DeLong here and groan "Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better NYT?", but thought the better of it. This NYT interview displays a level of open bias on the part of the reporter that is simply irreconcilable with good journalism as far as I'm concerned. To give a flavor of the interview, I present the following:

SOLOMON: In your book “Predicting Presidential Elections and Other Things,” you claim that economic growth and inflation are the only variables that matter in a presidential race. Are you saying that the war in Iraq will have no influence on the election?

FAIR: Historically, issues like war haven’t swamped the economics. If the equation is correctly specified, then the chances that Bush loses are very small.

SOLOMON: But the country hasn’t been this polarized since the 60’s, and voters seem genuinely engaged by social issues like gay marriage and the overall question of a more just society.

FAIR: We throw all those into what we call the error term. In the past, all that stuff that you think should count averages about 2.5 percent, and that is pretty small.

SOLOMON: It saddens me that you teach this to students at Yale, who could be thinking about society in complex and meaningful ways.


SOLOMON: Are you a Republican?

FAIR: I can't credibly answer that question. Using game theory in economics, you are not going to believe me when I tell you my political affiliation because I know that you know that I could be behaving strategically. If I tell you I am a Kerry supporter, how do you know that I am not lying or behaving strategically to try to put more weight on the predictions and help the Republicans?

SOLOMON: I don't want to do game theory. I just want to know if you are a Kerry supporter.

FAIR: Backing away from game theory, which is kind of cute, I am a Kerry supporter.

SOLOMON: I believe you entirely, although I'm a little surprised, because your predictions implicitly lend support to Bush.

FAIR: I am not attempting to be an advocate for one party or another. I am attempting to be a social scientist trying to explain voting behavior.
So because the results aren't supporting the outcome she'd prefer, the guy must probably entertain Republican sympathies? Has she ever made the acquaintance of a quaint notion called "objectivity?" Deborah Solomon is sorely in need of a brain, so stupid does she come across as being in this pathetic excuse for an interview.