Ed Driscoll

You Went Full Butterfield, Man. Never Go Full Butterfield


“MSNBC’s resident genius Chris Hayes: Why are we putting more people in jail when the crime rate keeps dropping?”, as spotted by Jim Treacher:

“Why isn’t my head wet, even though there’s a roof over it?”
“Why isn’t my car stopping, even though I have my foot on the gas pedal?”
“Why do people keep laughing at me, even though I’m really smart?”

Presumably, these are just a few of the questions that bedevil Chris Hayes every day. His life must be a series of unfathomable conundrums, if the following clip is any indication:

“What I find most frustrating is that what we have seen is incarceration go up at the same that crime is going down. And yet the fear level is still stoked, even though what we have is, objectively, less [sic] murders every year, we have less crime, we are living in a safer society, and we are putting more people in prison.”

Note that this is the exact issue that vexed Fox Butterfield, the now-legendary bard of the New York Times, a decade and a half ago, causing Michael Graham to dub the symptoms “The Butterfield Effect:”

It’s what happens when someone on the Left makes a statement that is laughably ludicrous on its face, yet it reveals what the speaker truly believes — no matter how dumb.

“The Butterfield Effect” is named in honor of ace New York Times crime reporter Fox Butterfield, the intrepid analyst responsible for such brilliantly headlined stories as “More Inmates, Despite Drop In Crime,” and “Number in Prison Grows Despite Crime Reduction,” not to mention the poetic 1997 header, “Crime Keeps on Falling, but Prisons Keep on Filling.”

Mr. Butterfield is truly perplexed at what he calls the “paradox” of more criminals in prison coinciding with less crime in neighborhoods. An observation that might appear obvious to an 8th grader (crooks + jail = fewer crimes) is simply beyond his grasp. Butterfield of the Times is the poster boy for the greatest conundrum facing the American Left today: How do you explain to people who just don’t get it that the problem is they just don’t get it?

To paraphrase P.J. O’Rourke on the American Senate, you give them a little-watched TV network where they can do the least amount of actual harm, but can always be counted on to generate insane quotes that help maintain the Conservative Blogosphere Full Employment Act.