Earlier this week MSNBC set a new low when it used a cute Cheerios commercial to attack conservatives. The religious broadcast channel deleted the offending tweet and says it sacked the person responsible, but the damage was done. Well, a little more damage was done. The fact is, MSNBC has been damaging itself for years and is now the least trusted name in news. Given the profession we’re talking about, that’s quite an accomplishment. It’s like being the fastest ambulance-chasing lawyer or the most despicable drug dealer.
MSNBC’s tweet claimed that right-wingers would be offended by the Cheerios commercial because it depicted a mixed-race family. As a right-wing guttersnipe and part of a mixed-race family myself, I wondered why MSNBC never bothered to ask me about it. I’m not hard to find. Shoot me an email. Hit me up on Twitter.
Well, Jim Lindgren got to wondering what the stats on mixed-race families and politics are. MSNBC should have asked him. What he found parallels with MSNBC’s own recent hiring standards, back when the network featured an all-white on-air lineup.
The General Social Survey, which is the best-run of the omnibus surveys (getting about a 70 percent response rate as opposed to a 1-25 percent response for more typical opinion polls) has data on family makeup. I was able to analyze their 2000 through 2012 data on 723 households in which any family members were adopted children or step-children of the head of the household or of the spouse of the respondent. For almost all of these households, the GSS reports both political views and whether the household is mixed race, as opposed to a white household, an African-American household, or whatever.
Not surprisingly, there is no statistically significant left-right political differences in the proportion of adopted or step-families that are in mixed race households. Indeed, among families with step-children or adopted children, 11 percent of conservatives were living in mixed race households compared to 10 percent of liberals living in mixed-race households.
Similarly, 9.4 percent of Republicans living in step- or adopted families were in mixed-race households, compared to only 8.8 percent of Democrats in such families. (Again, this small advantage for Republicans is not large enough to be statistically significant).
Read more over at the Volokh Conspiracy. Minds must be exploding in the comments section. Lindgren found that however he looked at the issue, there was no statistically significant difference, but to the extent that the difference was measurable, it tilted to the right.
Lindgren’s closing is worth reprinting here.
As Matt Welch suggests at Reason, when some in the press think they are attacking bigotry, they are instead spreading it themselves.
Spreading bigotry seems to be MSNBC’s reason to exist.
They’ll pop off again soon enough, apologize, and fire somebody. Rinse. Repeat.