Media Watch: The Sharyl Attkisson approach
Rather than 95 kids from Berkeley over the course of 20 years. This is hilarious:
Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.
At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals.
The study from the Journal of Research Into Personality isn’t going to make the UC Berkeley professor who published it any friends on the right. Similar conclusions a few years ago from another academic saw him excoriated on right-wing blogs, and even led to a Congressional investigation into his research funding.
But the new results are worth a look. In the 1960s Jack Block and his wife and fellow professor Jeanne Block (now deceased) began tracking more than 100 nursery school kids as part of a general study of personality. The kids’ personalities were rated at the time by teachers and assistants who had known them for months. There’s no reason to think political bias skewed the ratings — the investigators were not looking at political orientation back then. Even if they had been, it’s unlikely that 3- and 4-year-olds would have had much idea about their political leanings.
A few decades later, Block followed up with more surveys, looking again at personality, and this time at politics, too. The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity.
The confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests. The girls were still outgoing, but the young men tended to turn a little introspective.
Kerfuffles asks: “Does that mean that White House reporter Helen Thomas is a conservative?”
Block ought to, for starters, check out the liberal reaction (noted by Stephen Spruiell here, Bob Owens here, and Danny Carlton aka “Jack Lewis” here) to the announcement of the Washington Post’s new “Red America” blog to see classic cases of liberal whining at it’s – er, most dramatic – all of which shows that conservatives don’t have a lock on “whining” – not by a long shot.
There are so many more cases of liberal whining out there, but the liberal reaction to the Red America blog controversy is a good place to start
PM Update: Michelle Malkin has a .pdf link to the actual study itself, as well as links to blogger/pundit reax to this study.