Friday, March 11, 2011

One Possible Take on the NPR Hoo-Hah

One take is that this is the gotcha moment where the right finally proved the liberal bias of NPR. Maybe.

But, as conservative Heather MacDonald points out:
I fail to see the relevance of an NPR employee’s off-air criticism of
the Tea Party to the question of NPR’s federal funding or its liberal
bias. Conservatives can easily prove liberal bias by analyzing the
content of the programming.
I have no doubt that there is a significant over-representation of
democrats and "liberals" among the employees  who work and report for
NPR, but that in and of itself does not imply that they are anything other than
professional and fair in their coverage of the news. In fact, on average, although there is liberal bias in the media overall, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting seems to be among the most scrupulously centrist news organizations out there, according to a study by Tim Groseclose and Jeffrey Milyo (2005, Quarterly Journal of Economics):
Our results show a strong liberal bias: all of the news outlets we
examine, except Fox News’ Special Report and the Washington Times,
received scores to the left of the average member of Congress.
Consistent with claims made by conservative critics, CBS Evening News
and the New York Times received scores far to the left of center. The
most centrist media outlets were PBS NewsHour
, CNN’s Newsnight, and
ABC’s Good Morning America; among print outlets, USA Today was closest
to the center. [Emphasis added.]
Furthermore,
Conservatives frequently list NPR as an egregious example of a liberal news outlet. However, by our estimate the outlet hardly differs from the average mainstream news outlet.
PBS NewsHour is a CPB production. So, (1) according to Ms. MacDonald personal political views of the executives shouldn't matter; (2) also according to Ms. MacDonald bias should be proven through an analysis of the content; (3) statistical analysis of the content shows little or no bias by several major public broadcasting programs. What does this mean of Mr. O'Keefe's video? One conclusion might be that it only weakens the case against NPR and CPB as "left-wing liberal media."  In fact, given the widespread (and probably correct) notion that public broadcasting mostly employs bleeding-heart liberal hippies, the fact that NPR's and PBS's content is demonstrably unbiased relative to other media (not to mention lack of influence by corporate advertisers) only strengthens the case for its continued public support.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Some Links on International Econ, and other stuff.

Trade, integration, and political reform in MENA (VOX)
Really? Do we have to block everything? How bout you pass the pro-market stuff, Republicans? (NYTimes)
More people latching onto Uwe Reinhardt's flawed characterization of international economists (World Trade Law)
JLR for now, Tata for later? (Economist)
Second-generation immigrants - problem? (Economist)
Finally, some music. A few seconds from every chart-topper since 1956 (ECC)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Crock Pot Pork Butt

Excellent crock pot pulled pork tonight:

15 oz can tomato sauce
15 oz can pineapple, crushed
3 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp dried minced onion
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste
4-5 pound boneless Boston Butt pork shoulder, halved
15 oz can mandarin oranges
Combine 1st 8 ingredients. Add meat. Cook 10 hours on low. Add oranges in last hour. Pull apart with fork.

The liquid makes a nice carolina-esque vinegar-based barbecue sauce (if it weren't for the tomato sauce). The meat falls apart. This is a variation on a recipe intended for chicken, but the combination of flavors seemed perfect for pork shoulder. Plus, cooking chicken breasts all day in a crock pot usually means dried out chicken, so I went with a bigger hunk of meat.

Some Links, Including the Benefits of Holding "it" In

We make better long-run decisions on a full bladder. I can't wait to share this with my 75-minute classes. (APS)
Wage gaps and education. Some of this seems contrary to the recent evidence of stagnating education wage premia. (Krugman and Cowen - separately, of course!)
Given these structural changes, structural change is not welfare-neutral, even in the long run. (Rodrik)
Even (especially?) informed voters just really don't have beliefs about politics and policy that are consistent with reality. (Caplan)
Is controlled immigration better for welfare programs? This seems to assume a lot about the effectiveness of the controls.  (VOX)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wage Struggles of Men (and a Link on Helping the Homeless)

Wage struggles of men? (Economix) Forgive me for being cynical, but looking at earnings per capita instead of earnings per worker and concluding that there is some sort of tide against men in the labor market seems hypocritical and sexist. A paper on the gender gap scarcely gets published unless it looks at female earnings on a per worker and per hour basis. This, of course is because many say there is "voluntary" selection into (and more importantly out of) the work force. How concerned should we be if more men are beginning to voluntarily select out of the work force (or begin working fewer hours), as more of their wives work full time? For thirty years women were told that their hours-worked choices were "voluntary" and the bar for showing evidence of a culture of discrimination was set almost impossibly high. Now that things are changing, why are we so quick to feel sorry for the men?

Direct transfers are often better than paternalistic in-kind ones (Jason Kottke)