When the news media knows that it is lying

The mainstream news media, including the NYT, WSJ, WaPo, etc., frequently print stories that are highly critical of particular corporations, often accusing them of things like misleading advertising. (Think about tobacco companies, or drug companies that produce opioids.)

Yes, they could be sued for libel, but they continue to print these stories because they believe the stories are true.

Other news organizations like Fox News put out stories that they know are a pack of lies. They do so because that’s what their viewers want to see. They want to see their nutty conspiracy theories confirmed by their favorite news pundits.

Yes, they can be sued for libel. But Fox News knows that it has the option of having its news people do a groveling apology, where they admit that they were lying, if the company objects to the story.

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs aired a segment on Friday that amounted to a fact-checking refutation of claims that he and guests have made about an election tech company Smartmatic and its role in the 2020 presidential election, after the company threatened legal action.

Other similar segments will be shown on Justice with Judge Jeanine on Saturday and Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo, a Fox News spokesperson said. Lisa Boothe will host Judge Jeanine, as Jeanine Pirro is off for the holidays

Earlier this week, Smartmatic announced that it had threatened legal action against Fox News, Newsmax and One America News Network “for publishing false and defamatory statements,” after talking heads on the outlets have pushed claims of election fraud, including unfounded conspiracy theories of rigged voting machine companies.

Love it!!

This reminds me of the Trump legal team. Trump’s associates make wild voter fraud charges when speaking to the public. (“Baseless” in media-speak.) But when speaking to a judge, his legal team claims to have no such evidence. They are afraid of the consequences of lying in court.

PS. I hate to say “I told you so”, but haven’t I been warning that Russia is the biggest foreign policy threat? Despite Trump’s pathetic attempt to implicate China, it was probably Russia that launched the recent cyberattack on the US government.

PPS. Actually, I love to say “I told you so.”



41 Responses to “When the news media knows that it is lying”

  1. Gravatar of Dan Dan
    20. December 2020 at 11:38

    “PPS. Actually, I love to say ‘I told you so.'”

    At least you never lie to us!

  2. Gravatar of xu xu
    20. December 2020 at 12:19

    Sumner took the putin pill again. Another brainwashed babyboomer holding onto the big bad russia narrative. Just say the name Putin, and Sumners heart races, palms sweat and knees shake. Do you have a bunker? Better build one for that big bad Russian man.

    Russia isnt exterminating uighers.
    Russia is not at the doorstep of India.
    Russia is not flying fighter jets over taiwan.
    Russia is not detaining foreigners, denying them legal counsel, visits from their embassy, and refusing to try them in court – a court with a 97% conviction rate.
    Russia is not imprisoning priests and monks.
    Russia doesnt track every citizen and give them social
    credit scores based on how “compliant” they are.
    Russia doesnt steal islands that have been historically filipino. And no, your moronic idea that Russia stole Crimea ( it was an election idiot) is predicated upon your twisted fantasy that MSM tells you the truth. And yes, fox news is part of MSM. How you try to separate fox from the other msm channels just shows how brainwashed you are.

    Yes, Putin is the prototypical machavellian leader. He tried to kill nevalny recently, and has killed others. Xinping likes to do that too. Both could surely be place into that category of “bad men”. But im curious, which category do we place hunter & joe? Did you enjoy seeing hunter in his bathrobe getting a blowjob from an underage chinese prostitute? Is that the character of a noble guy? Or perhaps you preferred the video of him with two ukrainian whores and a crack pipe on the bed? Which one got you off Sumner? Was it the crack pipe? Did you rub a good one off at the thought of it?

    The fact is, and it should be obvious, that the CIA hacks into databases worldwide. As does Russia. As does the CCP. As does mossad. As do the lovely Japanese. Its called intelligence gathering. Germany wasnt particularly thrilled when the CIA was caught tapping into angela merkels phone, but they didnt call for war. Why? Because they do the same thing.

    China is the biggest threat to humanity since Nazi Germany. In fact, they are Nazi germany 2.0. Hacks are childs play. Exterminating people is not.

    Scott “CCP” Sumner is wrong again.

  3. Gravatar of David S David S
    20. December 2020 at 12:20


    It will be interesting to see how the landscape of right wing news changes over the next 2-4 years. My sense is that Murdoch is calculating that as the excitement over the election dissipates they can’t rely on Trump and his close circle to provide all the programming. Consequently, they have to be a little bit more disciplined, but will this sell? Can Newsmax and OAN build themselves up to compete with Fox the same way Fox competes with CNN, etc.?

  4. Gravatar of sarah sarah
    20. December 2020 at 13:42


    Lin Wood is not recanting, nor backing down.
    His response to Smartmatic: “file suit”.

    Two questions to ask:

    1. Is the nations most prominent attorney lying?
    2. Is Smartmatic lying?

    Liars always deny, deny, deny.
    When pushed, they issue threats (bluffing).
    But eventually, the lie is revealed

    It is much more likely that #2 is true. Especially when you consider smartmatic has been under investigation in other countries.

    They have, up until now, been hiding under two big beautiful words: “plausible deniability”.

    My money is on Lin Wood!

  5. Gravatar of bob bob
    20. December 2020 at 13:54

    My money is on the American people. Lin Wood will probably be killed.
    They will call it a “suicide”.

    The dumbest thing about the smartmatic demand letter (8 pages of horribly written nonsense) is that they state “accurate information is readily available on our website”.


    That is laughable. It’s like the idiots who say “but the secretary of state says the election was carried out with Zero fraud, therefore it must be true”.

    Only two people say such things. 1. CCP owned people like Sumner. 2. People who don’t have a healthy level of skepticism. If you believe everything the government tells you, then you are in BIG trouble.

  6. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    20. December 2020 at 14:12

    David, If the public wants Trumpism, then the media will deliver. And right now 30% to 40% of the electorate wants Trumpism.

    The percentage is even higher among commenters at this blog.

    In addition, GOP politicians are following Trump into conspiracy-land. So I don’t see anything changing.

    Maybe after a few years. McCarthyism eventually faded away.

  7. Gravatar of harry harry
    20. December 2020 at 14:39

    Public Relations lesson 101!

    NEVER admit guilt! Ever!

    Do you really think Smartmatic would say “yeah you caught me”.

    Their response was predictable.

  8. Gravatar of jayne jayne
    20. December 2020 at 14:55

    Sumner is a probably a pedophile too, which is why he likes Biden.

    Trump has always been a playboy. But his interactions have been consensual. Nothing illegal about being a playboy.

    Biden, on the other hand, is on tape with an underage woman whose in tears. While listening to the woman cry he smokes crack in a bathrobe.

    After the creepy illegal blowjob, he then sells out his daddy’s office to the highest bidder.

    His brother, who has no construction skills whatsoever, makes millions in the Middle East after VP Biden helped him land a “public contract bid”. I wonder if creepy Joe threatened them in the same way he threatened the Ukrainian prosecutor for investigating his son?

    His niece was just arrested for DUI.

    His wife is a creep who wants the nation to bow before her because she has a PhD in the intellectual discipline of gym.

    These people are sick.

  9. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    20. December 2020 at 17:07

    I hate to say “I told you so”, but haven’t I been warning that Russia is the biggest foreign policy threat? Despite Trump’s pathetic attempt to implicate China, it was probably Russia that launched the recent cyberattack on the US government.–Scott Sumner

    This is a rather feeble proposition, to put it politely.

    Actually, I am not sure either nation poses much off a threat to the US, if the US undertook a much less interventionist posture in the world.

    But the US military is the global guard service for US globalists and multinationals, so there you have it. They want to access and control markets globally.

    In this context, China is about 100 times as influential as Russia. There is the threat (to multinationals) that China-based companies, backed with CCP money extracted from the population, will eventually eclipse Western multinationals.

    China is also militarizing large swaths of the South China Sea and border regions in Asia.

    Beyond that, ask anyone in India, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Australia, Hong Kong, or Taiwan if Putin or Xi is the larger threat.

    Who knows what direction history will take? My guess is once Putin dies, Russians will want to be more like Europeans. That is when the Muscovites aren’t drunk.

    The CCP, in contrast, is strengthening its institutionalized grip on China, led by Xi “Mao II” Jinping. China has centuries of centralized, administered control in its history.

    I have conversed with, oh, a few thousand people in the last eight years in the the Asian Pacific and South Asia. I never met anyone who regarded Putin-Russia as a threat, and many who are warily eying Xi-CCP-China.

    Sumner is sometimes loony on the topic of China and Russia.

  10. Gravatar of Bob OBrien Bob OBrien
    20. December 2020 at 19:22

    “..Trump’s associates make wild voter fraud charges when speaking to the public. (“Baseless” in media-speak.)..”

    It should be easy to determine the truth. Why not do real audits of the swing states? If truth is on your side then why resist real audits?

  11. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    20. December 2020 at 19:27


    spot on about Russia vs China. Russia has always been the bigger threat by a mile, and has proven it over and over again with aggressive external action, spying, provocations, hacking, the never ending stream of murders of the opposition, the cowardly poisonings, what have you. And Russia is using China now in its media strategy. Russia used to just sow doubt, destroy trust in media and democracy. Seems they long shifted to putting their bots and trolls onto hyping up China as a threat, and once again it seems it’s working.

    I have to give it to Russia, it’s been extremely effective in brainwashing about half the Western electorate, splitting Europe, getting Trump elected, and making China the boogeyman. If they ever used their elite for something constructive, they could do really well, maybe even, one day, be liked and respected internationally. But no – it’s all used for destruction only. Russia is a pure negative in international relations. It produces oil, arms, and discord, nothing else. Russian foreign policy doesn’t help third parties, never extends a helping hand, never built anything useful internationally. Military pacts don’t count. Russia doesn’t help others, it stalls them. And, when have you ever bought anything from Russia? And what others have, Russia destroys.

    Now compare China. We all have tons of China made stuff at home starting with our computers. And, as it is emerging from poverty and centuries of bad internal politics, first thing they do is reach out globally. And help people. Yes, in service of their own power, and I don’t like their societal model much either. But, what they do is done by constructive initiatives and successful economics. China builds – and sells.

  12. Gravatar of Cartesian Theatics Cartesian Theatics
    20. December 2020 at 20:36

    Eh, Tucker Carlson represents perhaps the most meaningful opposition to power centers today in mainstream news. I don’t watch him regularly and I know he’s made some dumb comments but overall he’s more watchable right now than just about anyone on MSNBC or CNN. He was willing to alienate his followers by stepping away form the election conspiracies. He’ll give powerful voice to pardoning Snowden and Assange, not to mention US war crimes.

    Heck, I’ll even say Curtis Yarvin has proven faaar wiser than Matt Yglesias this year. He nailed covid in January, not to mention the entire framework of western power. Many on the left are too scared to even say his name. The right is starting to dominate the intellectual landscape.

  13. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    20. December 2020 at 21:52

    OT, but this is a monetary policy blog:

    “Yellen Pressed to Back Strong Dollar in Reversing Trump-Era Tone”
    Saleha Mohsin and Liz Capo McCormick
    Mon, December 21, 2020, 4:00 AM GMT+7·6 min read


    OK, so now let’s give medals to (non-US) countries that devalue or “debase” their currencies. Not currency manipulators, but Currency Heroes!

    Let us rhapsodize about a “strong” US dollar.


    OK seriously, can the Fed hit an NGDPLT while strengthening the dollar? Seems unlikely.

    This raises an interesting perspective: Due to institutional rigidities, political pressures and the mechanism through which the Fed largely works—private fractional-reserve banks, with fiduciary obligations to shareholders—can central banks hit NGPLT targets? Probably not. Recent history says not.

    Should there be another agency created, “The NGDPLT Hitter”?

    The business of the NGDPT Hitter would be to print and spend money whenever NGDPLT fell below target. It would send out checks to personal income-tax payers, equal to 10% of taxes paid in previous year. If you want to skip the top 10% of taxpayers, OK.

    Otherwise it seems clear the Fed will not hit an NGDPLT except by luck. The Bank of Japan cannot even hit an inflation target, nor the ECB, nor the PBoC.

    What does this tell you about central banks?

  14. Gravatar of Postkey Postkey
    21. December 2020 at 01:24

    “The Bank of Japan cannot even hit an inflation target, . . . ”

    There is going to be 2% ‘inflation’, but not yet?

    “An upturn in money growth has occurred, with the three-month annualised rate of increase to May reaching 15.7%, which is an extraordinary figure by Japanese standards. If Japan in the next few quarters hits and exceeds its 2% inflation target, this might persuade sceptics that inflation is indeed a monetary phenomenon and not a by-product of “national psychology” or some such nonsense. It might also persuade the far too numerous monetary economists who focus on the base and narrow money that an all-inclusive, broadly-defined aggregate is the one to watch. “

    “The higher level of money growth of recent months has made little impact on consumer price inflation, which is hardly surprising, as this is not the sort of relationship between money and the price level to be expected anywhere. “

    The wrong type of money?

  15. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    21. December 2020 at 02:17


    Japan runs huge national budget deficits, and print lots of money, and the Bank of Japan owns 45% of the nation’s debt.

    Until C19, there were 150 job opening for every job hunter, and even today the ratios are about even.

    The markets say inflation is dead in Japan, and for years to come. 10-year JGBs offer no interest.

    Nothing that conventional or orthodox economists have ever predicted has come true in Japan. Various rules of macroeconomics, treated as universal and axiomatic in the West, seem to drown in the Pacific.

    And maybe on the way to China too.

    Michael Pettis has interesting insights into China.

    The nice thing about macroeconomics is that you can let your biases pre-determine your beliefs, and there will always be some prestigious economists or published papers to confirm your biases. Choose a degree on the compass, and you will be have allies.

    This ongoing shambles only seems to embolden the profession.

    Postkey, whatever you believe, you are correct!

    It is a woke profession!

  16. Gravatar of Postkey Postkey
    21. December 2020 at 02:54

    From an enemy of global industrial civilization?

    ” No Need To Fear Russia. The Bear Is Broke
    For all Vladimir Putin’s military adventures, the Russian economy is now shrinking — far too small to pose a real threat to the West”


  17. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    21. December 2020 at 03:31

    speaking of lies, remember when Hillary told us about coming under sniper fire when she landed in Bosnia or when Blumenthal told us about his service in Vietnam as a US Marine? clowns….

  18. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    21. December 2020 at 03:40

    Hey, Kansas City Fed Says Money Is Not Neutral!

    Ray Lopez read this!

    “Money, Growth, and Welfare in a Schumpeterian Model with the Spirit of Capitalism
    November 9, 2020
    By Qinchun He, Yulei Luo, Jun Nie and Heng-fu Zou


    A new model incorporating the spirit of capitalism shows higher nominal interest rates could promote economic growth in the long run.

    Money, Growth, and Welfare in a Schumpeterian Model with the Spirit of Capitalism

    According to Schumpeter (1934), entrepreneurs are driven to innovate not only for the fruits of success but for success itself. This description of entrepreneurship echoes Weber’s (1958) description of the “spirit of capitalism,” which states that people enjoy the accumulation of wealth irrespective of its effect on smoothing consumption. This paper explores the implications of the spirit of capitalism on monetary policy, growth, and welfare in a Schumpeterian growth model. Different from the existing literature, we show that money is not superneutral in the long run and could promote economic growth when the spirit of capitalism is strong. Furthermore, we show that the optimal nominal interest rate decreases with the strength of the spirit of capitalism, potentially supporting a negative interest rate. Finally, our calibrated model suggests that the spirit of capitalism explains an important share (about one-third) of long-run growth in the United States.”


    The abstract seems to contradict the headline, but who cares?

    Higher and lower interest rates are good and are not superneutral!

  19. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    21. December 2020 at 05:09

    Scott feels vindicated because he thinks it has been proven that Russia is more —evil?—problematic—? than China. I know the feeling of having to write something—anything—-frequently—-so writing irrelevant opinions such as this are tolerated by me. I wish he would start focusing on our current problems more—-not monetary—-he does that here and on Econlib.

    But political. Is his glee over the loss by Trump blinding him to what we now are facing? I think the answer is yes. Now the Fed is being limited by Congress—-and Trump—-assuming he signs this bill. Bipartisan no less. Big picture, Trump had 2 things right directionally. We should remain the strongest power and not be limited by the actions of nations whose objective is to either weaken us or take monetary advantage of us. Second—-it matters that we see ourselves as a country in a positive light—-even as we also know the things we needed to correct. Tradition matters.

    He is a utilitarian by his admission. Utilitarianism is one of the weakest intellectual constructs imaginable. Anything can be squeezed into it. Although it tends to default to,that which is measurable. How many “utils” are there in a kiss?

    This election was a fraud. Mail-ins alone let us know that. And it’s hard for me to get cheerful to know that Scott was “right” about Russia.

  20. Gravatar of steve steve
    21. December 2020 at 06:56

    Albert Camus – “The need to be right is the sign of a vulgar mind.”

  21. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    21. December 2020 at 10:11

    mbka, Yes, China is a highly repressive regime, but it’s not a rogue state. Russia is a rogue state.

    Cartesian, Tucker Carlson?? Is this a joke?

    Michael, You said:

    “But political. Is his glee over the loss by Trump”

    I have no glee over the loss of Trump. It doesn’t really solve the problem—we are still a banana republic.

    I don’t think you understand my views on politics, so it might be best if you stopped commenting on them.

    You said:

    “Second—-it matters that we see ourselves as a country in a positive light—-even as we also know the things we needed to correct. Tradition matters.”

    Yes, it’s very important that we keep naming our military bases after Confederate generals.

    What you really want to do is make your country deserving of respect, and you don’t do that by encouraging Xi Jinping to put a million Muslims into concentration camps. Or by praising US war criminals. Or by advocating torture. Or by trying to overturn democratic elections.

    Steve, No, it’s the need to be seen as being right. Everyone should want to be right.

    You said:

    “speaking of lies, remember when Hillary told us about coming under sniper fire when she landed in Bosnia or when Blumenthal told us about his service in Vietnam as a US Marine? clowns….”

    The sign of a truly vulgar mind is a pathetic attempt to deflect attention from Trump’s daily lies by pointing to one or two occasional lies from Clinton, Obama, etc.

  22. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    21. December 2020 at 10:25


    It’s hard to say what you are trying to achieve with this artificial dichotomy presented over and over again here.

    Ultimately, it amounts to a trivialization of the Chinese threat, mirroring what Trump is doing with Russia, only the other way round. What is the point of that? It’s hard to say.

    The regimes in China and Russia both pose a significant threat to the liberal lifestyle of the “Western” world, and both regimes have their strengths and weaknesses.

    To belittle one regime and pretend that only one of the two regimes is a significant threat is downright childish, and dangerous, and it also pays no respect to the millions of people who suffer under these regimes.

  23. Gravatar of steve steve
    21. December 2020 at 11:10

    Scott I am not attempting to deflect anything. Lying is always morally wrong.

  24. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    21. December 2020 at 11:23

    I did not want to get into this—-but what the hell—I will. As Scott chortels about knowing Russia did the hack (versus China) even though it is really hard to know if you were hacked—-he ignores the implication. While all these systems were “compromised” one thing we absolutely know with certainty –is the election was NOT “compromised” —because ……..umm—–Trump!

  25. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    21. December 2020 at 12:00

    “The percentage is even higher among commenters at this blog.”

    True, even when you don’t count the pathetic sock puppet accounts stopped fooling anyway a long LONG time ago.

    So now “they” are accusing you of pedophilia eh Scott? Lol, we knew that was coming. Probably brain-dead QAnon fans. I wonder what the Venn diagram of Gold Bugs and QAnon fans looks like? Both groups are susceptible to brain worms. I wonder if it’s genetic? Is their a chump gene that heightens gullibility?

  26. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    21. December 2020 at 16:38

    Christian, Given you paid no attention to my previous answers, there’s no point in me even responding.

    Steve, And isn’t being right almost always the correct position to take?

    Michael, Stop making a fool of yourself. You don’t know my views, so don’t pretend you do.

  27. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    21. December 2020 at 18:07


    “China is a highly repressive regime, but it’s not a rogue state. Russia is a rogue state.” You said in one sentence what I needed a whole page for.


    see above. And my comment above (longer). China and Russia both pursue international power. China almost exclusively uses soft power and coalition building, and superior economic performance. Russia just uses war and destructive interference. It destroys and stalls. So yes, Russia is a worse threat than China. Oh and not to forget, nuclear warheads: US and Russia: ca. 6000 each. China: ca. 300.

    In all fairness, the US uses outright acts of war far more than Russia or any other country. China hasn’t used war at all in recent memory. Building bases doesn’t count. And the US pursues supremacy, not just power. But the US does so much good internationally in every other area, that I’m usually keeping my mouth shut.

  28. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    21. December 2020 at 18:13

    Sideline – don’t you just love how Russia is ultimately quite incompetent even here? Yes, they hacked. But they got caught. Some years back the Dutch exposed FSB agents who had materials unsecured on laptops and even receipts for spying activities in their pockets. Now Navalny got the FSB to tell him the whole attempted assassination story over the phone. Quite the stooges.

  29. Gravatar of Cartesian Theatics Cartesian Theatics
    21. December 2020 at 22:02

    “Lol, we knew that was coming. Probably brain-dead QAnon fans.”

    I was in that religion but now I realize how awful I was spending nights laughing along with the gutless comedy central propaganda.

    I’m ready for New Sincerity.

  30. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    22. December 2020 at 11:45

    “I’m ready for New Sincerity.” About what? Accusing Scott of pedophilia? People who spread that crap really are brain dead. They deserve nothing but mockery.

    Damn Scott. What draws ’em here? Is there an 8kun board dedicated to hate following you or something? Maybe it’s ZeroHedge. Have you checked?

  31. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    22. December 2020 at 20:10

    Is there lower than blindly calling someone a pedophile? Hillary Clinton was right, except that much more than half of Trump supporters are deplorables.

  32. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    22. December 2020 at 22:18

    mbka, And just to be clear, I’m not ruling out the possibility that China might become a rogue state. It’s not inconceivable that they might invade Taiwan, which would be a horrific mistake on their part. But as of today, Russia’s behavior in the international arena is more lawless than China’s.

  33. Gravatar of Cartesian Theatics Cartesian Theatics
    23. December 2020 at 00:15


    Oh absolutely mock those idiots. I block them with a little custom browser extension:

    But the “right wingers are QAnon retards” is mostly a psyop. You can’t call half the country retarded.

  34. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    23. December 2020 at 03:28

    Cartesian Theatrics,

    Trump supporters do have lower IQs and education levels, on average. They are those below median and average intelligence, for the most part. Lowest common denominator politics appeals to them. It’s completely fair to consider them rubes.

  35. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    23. December 2020 at 08:00

    Scott—-I,may not know your views, but I know what you write . Okay, you were not gleeful about Trump losing. But you were absolutely sure he needed to lose. So we are still a banana republic. We are certainly leaning toward that I agree.

    But your 95% focus on Trump versus the bsurd Biden/Harris/Pelosi group is obvious. As I wrote many times, I never understood how you could not get heated by what the left did—-only what Trump,did. He is sui generis uniquely bad to you.

    That is crazy. I don’t think you ever called China a Banana Republic. Once every couple of months you criticize China’s authoritarianism.

    I know more about American politics than you could ever know. We have great ideals—-but we are also imperfect humans——and when people like you obsess over one idea—Trump—-I know you know little. Yes, I hope I don’t know your politics —-because what you write is off the wall

  36. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    23. December 2020 at 08:23

    You rarely wrote about Obama. You, like Krugman, said “‘Markets clearly favored Hillary”. Nothing to criticize there. You know one topic—a good one—-and you seem pretty good at it. But you’re emotional confidence in your political opinions is unwarranted. If you knew this and admitted uncertainty, I would take your view 10 times more seriously.

    Don’t worry—I will stop commenting on your politics. Because it is pointless. Who cares what you think? I admit to being sucked in——but now that it is obvious you are a propagandist who never gets beyond cliches ——although perhaps you could but you don’t . It’s a shame

  37. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    23. December 2020 at 09:41

    Michael Rulle,

    You wrote:

    “I know more about American politics than you could ever know. We have great ideals—-but we are also imperfect humans——and when people like you obsess over one idea—Trump—-I know you know little. Yes, I hope I don’t know your politics —-because what you write is off the wall”

    You seem to know much closer to nothing about American politics, and politics in general. Your comments are laughably absurd. Not understanding why Trump is completely different than other politicians just illustrates the point.

    While Scott isn’t a political scientist, his instincts are usually very good, and his commentary is almost always very reasonable.

  38. Gravatar of Cartesian Theatrics Cartesian Theatrics
    23. December 2020 at 10:27

    Eh, I’m not sure the instincts of less educated people are worse on average. And both sides fall for bs & propaganda, it’s just human nature.

  39. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    23. December 2020 at 13:43

    Michael Rulle, Yes, I spend more time talking about presidents that try to abolish democracy and install themselves as dictator, than I do normal politicians.

    Newspapers don’t usually report on dogs that don’t bite people.

    You said:

    “You, like Krugman, said “‘Markets clearly favored Hillary”.”

    Before the election and for a few minutes after they did clearly favor Clinton, but not after that. I just report the news; I don’t make the news.

    Michael Sandifer, I don’t agree that Trump voters are significantly dumber than Biden voters.

  40. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    23. December 2020 at 15:27


    The use of the term “rubes” does suggest that I consider Trump voters significantly dumber than Biden voters. And, at least when it comes to politics, I think that’s true.

    There is some evidence that Trump voters have at least somewhat less general intelligence on average, just given average education levels. This piece dives a bit further into that:


    Then, there are correlations between common characteristics of Trump voters versus the rest. For example, religiosity seems negatively correlated with intelligence:


    I don’t think it was always true that Republicans were dumber than Democrats, but the sorting we’ve seen over the past 40 years, which has accelerated in recent years, has truly left the Republican Party the dumb party. That doesn’t mean Republicans are wrong on every issue, but there’s no denying they are relatively ignorant and stupid.

    To be sure, there are stupid Democrats too, like those calling for defunding the police and mean it in the absolute sense. Also, more leftwing Democrats tend to be stupid on foreign policy.

  41. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    24. December 2020 at 11:40


    First of all, the existence of that browser extension is hilarious. Thanks for showing me that. I’ve thought of such a thing myself. So glad to see someone with the requisite skills followed through! Lol.

    As for calling right wingers retards, I don’t think I’ve ever done that. There’s a difference between RWers and Trumpers. Not much difference between hard core Trumpers and QAnoners though. I’m certainly not accusing everyone who voted for Trump of being a QAnoner, but I think it’s clear who Trump favors. He favors the loyal: that’s not Pence, Pompeo, McConnell, etc. That’s QAnoners.

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