The Democrat Propaganda Machine

The Off-Topic forum for anything non-LDS related. No insults or personal attacks allowed. Rated G.
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Re: The Democrat Propaganda Machine

Post by malkie »

That's an interesting result, Dr S.

I've long been of the opinion that when almost any scandal hits the news to do with someone in public life, it's generally superfluous to add "GOP" or "Republican" to the headline.
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Re: The Democrat Propaganda Machine

Post by Physics Guy »

This website may well have a point, but I have two worries about interpreting what it says.

One is that its data is drawn from news media. The site acknowledges that many crimes do not attract news coverage, but it doesn't analyse what kind of biases this might introduce in its data. Stories about pastors or conservative politicians committing the very crimes that they most condemn have an element of exposing hypocrisy—and that makes them catchier stories for media to run. On the other hand, of course, there are right-wing media sources that could be expected to trumpet all the leftist crimes that they can. So it's not clear how big this effect is, or in which direction it weighs. I'm concerned that it could be a big effect, though, which might well lean quite far to one side.

The other concern is that, even if we do accept that conservatives and religious leaders include especially large proportions of criminals, the causal relationship could potentially be opposite to what one might think. It might not be that conservatism tends to cause criminality, but rather that criminals are especially likely to adopt public conservatism, and seek careers as religious leaders, as an effective cover for their criminal activities.

As an analogy: one of the best ways to pull off a big bank heist is to do it as an inside job, by investing the time to become a bank security guard. This may mean that bank security guards end up being much more likely than average citizens to be bank robbers. It won't be because all bank guards are one homogeneous group that collectively suffers from criminal tendencies, though. Instead it will be because the group of bank guards is really two groups that look the same in some superficial ways—badges and uniforms—but that differ in one crucial way: the smaller group are elite criminals. The criminal group are people that were criminals first, long before they became bank guards, and in fact they only became bank guards at all as part of a criminal scheme. The larger group of honest bank guards may have nothing in common at all with the criminal group, except for the uniforms, which the criminal group acquired by deliberate dishonest posing.

You can certainly fault the entire guard community if it is naïve about trusting all of its members, and generally does less than it could to prevent inside bank jobs. You can't blame the majority of honest bank guards, though, for the fact that criminals are going to keep trying to infiltrate them. They could make such infiltration less attractive to criminals by tightening safeguards against inside bank jobs, but it's going to be hard to prevent the job of guard from offering some advantages in robbing a bank. It might be possible, but it might take a while to figure out how to do it, even with the best will in the world, or it might remain an ongoing arms race between guards and crooks, with perennial setbacks. So at some point a higher incidence of crime among bank guards might not be a scandal of hypocrisy but just a problem that is hard to eliminate totally.

I am not trying to argue that the group of conservative American pastors is already at that stage. I suppose it could be, conceivably, but my suspicion is that it's probably still far back in the thin-blue-line culture that trusts everyone with a badge and thus enables the crimes. I just mean that you have to think carefully about data like this. You can't just use hastily defined group labels to tar a lot of folks with one brush.
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