Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Going the full Krugman

The Economist says Larry Bartels’ recent effort to claim Democrats are better for the economy than Republicans is “a political case masquerading as economic analysis.”

Update: Meanwhile, “Michael Walzer would be happier with foreign policy if Obama were president, which is fine, but the article is not as objective as he wants to make it out to be.” Fellow political scientists: there’s only 13 shopping days left to prostitute your reputation forever in the service of a guy who’s going to be elected anyway!


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[Permalink] 1. Jennifer wrote @ Wed, 22 Oct 2008, 9:23 am CDT:

Ugh, I agree about these guys prostituting themselves…disgusting!


I have a small bit of experience with being consulted by the media (and, for the record, NO experience with prostitution). It is pretty darn easy to stick to one’s area of interest and give insight without slipping over the line into advocacy.

Once you start cheering for one rat to get the cheese over the other, your analysis won’t seem credible (and neither will the analysis of other political scientists).

“X or Y will win because….” “X or Y needs to do this to win and Y or X needs to do that to prevent upset….” is analysis. “A victory by X or Y would be better than a victory by Y or X because [insert allegedly scientific reason]” is advocacy.

I get asked all the time what my opinion is, I usually respond with some derivation of, “you don’t want my opinion….would you like my analysis?”

Then again, maybe I am deluding myself into thinking that my analysis is (more or less) unbiased. Although….. my favorite story on that aspect is when a staffer for our Republican governor contacted me and said that my comments about the governor showed I was biased against him and a high ranking member of the state Democratic party contacted me to say that my comments about the governor showed that I was biased FOR him….and they were talking about comments that appeared in the SAME STORY.

I took that as I sign that I was either doing something very right….or VERY wrong.

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