Yale study: Newspaper op-eds change minds

Opinion pieces are often treated as performances of no real consuequence, as entertainments and political groundskeeping. But in a study at Yale University, researchers found that op-eds have "large and long-lasting effects on people's views both among the general public and policy experts."

Moreover, the study also found that "Democrats and Republicans altered their views in the direction of the op-ed piece in roughly equal measure."

"The time and energy it takes to produce an op-ed pieces raises a question: Are people persuaded by op-eds?" said Alexander Coppock, assistant professor of political science at Yale and the study's lead author. "We found that op-ed pieces have a lasting effect on people's views regardless of their political affiliation or their initial stance on an issue. People read an argument and were persuaded by it. It's that simple."

The researchers enrolled 3,567 people into the study through an online tool. In an initial survey, participants shared background information, such as their gender and party affiliation. They were randomly assigned into a control group or one of five "treatment" groups. Participants in the treatment groups were shown one of five op-eds that had been published in a major news outlet by a writer affiliated with the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, or U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Participants in the control group were not given an op-ed to read.

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Anyone who continues to work with Trump is complicit in his support of white supremacists

CNN's Chris Cizilla: Donald Trump's presidency is headed to a very dark place

The President of the United States has spent the last 24 hours creating some sort of moral equivalency between hate-mongers and those there to protest hate. In doing so, he has handed these white supremacists and neo-Nazis exactly what they want: Cover for their hate-filled rhetoric. Make no mistake: For the bigots and supremacists who gathered in Charlottesville, what Trump said on Saturday and again yesterday marks a major win, a success in their efforts to push their venomous views into the mainstream.

But this is not a surprise. He's been like this as long as he's been a public figure: Donald Trump Has Been a Racist All His Life — And He Isn’t Going to Change After Charlottesville

Consider the first time the president’s name appeared on the front page of the New York Times, more than 40 years ago. “Major Landlord Accused of Antiblack Bias in City,” read the headline of the A1 piece on Oct. 16, 1973, which pointed out how Richard Nixon’s Department of Justice had sued the Trump family’s real estate company in federal court over alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act. ...

Over the next four decades, Trump burnished his reputation as a bigot: he was accused of ordering “all the black [employees] off the floor” of his Atlantic City casinos during his visits; claimed “laziness is a trait in blacks” and “not anything they can control”; requested Jews “in yarmulkes” replace his black accountants; told Bryan Gumbel that “a well-educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well-educated white in terms of the job market”; demanded the death penalty for a group of black and Latino teenagers accused of raping a jogger in Central Park (and, despite their later exoneration with the use of DNA evidence, has continued to insist they are guilty); suggested a Native American tribe “don’t look like Indians to me”; mocked Chinese and Japanese trade negotiators by doing an impression of them in broken English; described undocumented Mexican immigrants as “rapists”; compared Syrian refugees to “snakes”; defended two supporters who assaulted a homeless Latino man as “very passionate” people “who love this country”; pledged to ban a quarter of humanity from entering the United States; proposed a database to track American Muslims that he himself refused to distinguish from the Nazi registration of German Jews; implied Jewish donors “want to control” politicians and are all sly negotiators; heaped praise on the “amazing reputation” of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has blamed America’s problems on a “Jewish mafia”; referred to a black supporter at a campaign rally as “my African-American”; suggested the grieving Muslim mother of a slain U.S.

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Broflake defined

Perhaps you are tired of the terminology of online trashtalk, where words (such as snowflake and bro) form billowing epicycles of sincerity, appropriation and reclamation. Me too! Yet there is such a pure beauty to this morning's surprisingly viral portmanteau, Broflake.

From the Urban Dictionary:

Broflake: Straight white male offended by any feminist or ethnic activity which is not directly designed for him.

Kyle: "How come there's no Straight Pride parade"?

Me: OMG you're such a delicate little broflake.

If anything, this definition is too precise, as the word perfectly captures the broader dynamic wherein a person adopts a posture of devil-may-care principled insensitivity to offense, only to collapse in a puddle of outrage and/or legal threats when they are offended.

(For example, the NRA's Dana Loesch is an excellent candidate for Broflake of the Day for Friday, June 30, 2017. After pitching an insanely totalitarian NRA recruitment ad whose anti-violence fig leaf only drew attention to its naked thirst for bloodshed, she was apparently up all night shrieking legal threats on Twitter at random anonymous interlocutors, insisting that their mockery is not free speech.)

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Reasons to switch to Firefox

I keep saying I'm going to de-Google my digital life, quitting services such as Gmail and software such as Chrome. So Joel Lee's recent article, 9 Reasons to Switch From Chrome to Firefox, lights a bit of a fire under my feet. In précis: everything bad about Firefox from a few years back is fixed, and now it is Chrome that is bad.

1. Firefox Is Better for Battery Life 2. Firefox Is Better for Tab-Heavy Users 3. Firefox Knows It’s Just a Browser 4. Firefox Embraces the Open Source Mindset 5. Firefox Actually Cares About Privacy 6. Firefox Allows More Customization 7. Firefox Supports Chrome Extensions 8. Firefox Boasts Unique Extensions 9. Firefox Can Do What Chrome Can (Mostly)

To which I add 10: Fuck AMP.

The guide also points out where Chrome remains superior: the web inspector's better, it's more polished, complex web apps tend to work better in it because they're targeted at it, and of course it integrates well with Google's other services. Read the rest