Links and Comments: 19 Nov 2022

About FTX and effective altruism; political examples in the spirit of the recent Borowitz book; examples of how the media covers events; and a perspective on the American economy under Republicans and Democrats.

Image here: today’s sunset.


Items here noted to read later. I’m not sure how the collapse of the crypto firm FTX reflects on the concept of “effective altruism” except by character association. MacAskill’s book is still in my TBR list; I’m up to page 75.

Ross Douthat, NYT, 18 Nov 2022 (Subscriber only): The Case for a Less-Effective Altruism

Vox, 16 Nov 2022: Effective altruism gave rise to Sam Bankman-Fried. Now it’s facing a moral reckoning., subtitled “Here are 6 questions the intellectual movement needs to grapple with after the crypto billionaire’s fall.”


Some thematic follow-ups to the Borowitz book I just read:

CNN: 16 Nov 2022: Fact check: 20 false and misleading claims Trump made in his announcement speech

He just makes stuff up. And last night he was back to ranting about immigrants. Citing no actual evidence, of course.


An aside:

Media Matters, 16 Nov 2022: How news outlets handled Trump’s 2020 coup attempt in their reports on his 2024 run

I’m always impressed by how journalists summarize a news story in their first paragraph, and how they can if they like shade the news one way or another by placing the current story in a larger context. (The headlines themselves are written by editors, I understand, and should not be blamed on the bylined writers of the story.)

The issue here is how reports of Trump’s announcement the other day (to run again for president in 2024) did or did not lead with mentions of his involvement with Jan 6th 2021 insurrection on the Capitol. Example, from WaPo:

Donald Trump, the twice-impeached former president who refused to concede defeat and inspired a failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election culminating in a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, officially declared on Tuesday night that he is running to retake the White House in 2024.

This Media Matters piece serves as a handy compilation of major news sources, each one examined on this point. Washington Post, NPR, NBC News, Associated Press, New York Times, Politico, Los Angeles Times, ABC News, CNN, CBS News, Wall Street Journal…. and even Fox News (which buries its reference to the 2020 election to its 20th paragraph, and a photo caption).


Salon, Amanda Marcotte, 15 Nov 2022: Why did single women vote for Democrats? Republicans have an asinine theory, subtitled “Republicans believe Democrats have brainwashed unmarried ladies — who are clearly unable to think for themselves”

Citing no actual evidence, of course. The usual conservative misogyny.


Washington Post, Dana Milbank, 18 Nov 2022: Opinion | As Republicans take the House, the crazies take the wheel

Wednesday evening, Republicans formally won control of the House.

Thursday morning, in the first public act of the new majority, senior House Republicans revealed their most urgent priority: They would investigate Hunter Biden.

Because, of all the problems in the world, this is what they think is the worst.


Media Matters, 17 Nov 2022: Fox’s coverage of violent crime dropped after the midterms, subtitled “Weekday violent crime segments decreased by 50% in the week of the election compared to the weekly average since Labor Day”

It’s about controlling the narrative, and scaring impressionable voters into voting Republican. Never mind actual crime statistics; isolated anecdotes are always available.


The Week: Nov 18 2022 issue (probably a subscribe-only link)

Page 16, under “Noted,” quoting The Daily Beast:

Ten of the last 11 recessions started during Republican presidential administrations. Six of the seven administrations with the highest job-creation rates since World War II were Democratic, and six of the seven administrations with the lowest were Republican. Every Republican president since Ronald Reagan has presided over a 65 percent or greater expansion of the federal deficit, including Donald Trump, who added $8 trillion to the national debt.

I’ve seen similar statistics cited many times.

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