OK, here’s the story. A couple days ago, regarding the now-notorious PPNAS article, “Physical and situational inequality on airplanes predicts air rage,” I wrote:
NPR will love this paper. It directly targets their demographic of people who are rich enough to fly a lot but not rich enough to fly first class, and who think that inequality is the cause of the world’s ills.
The next day I did a media roundup and found no NPR mentions of air rage, hence I had to write:
I was unfair to NPR.
Commenter Sepp slammed me on it:
Why the dig at NPR? And why the implication that NPR listeners cannot distinguish good scientific articles from bad ones that agree with listeners’ values? On that note, why the implicit indictment of said values (i.e. the desire to reduce inequality, etc.)? I find these statements saddening and confusing.
I replied that I meant no condemnation, implicit or otherwise, of the desire to reduce inequality. But, sure, I shouldn’t blame NPR for a news story they didn’t even run!
Vindication! NPR Finally bit!
The (usually) esteemed Planet Money podcast uncritically retweeted the generally uncritical qz.com article today: https://twitter.com/planetmoney/status/728292705193824257
Feel free to direct criticism to planetmoney (at) npr.com
OK, just a tweet. But still.
The Wait Wait thing is no big deal—they could well have mentioned this study only for the purpose of mocking it.
But the other one . . . it’s so frustrating. I post and post and post and only a few thousand people read. Planet Money tweets and reaches 300,000 people. And NPR is so . . . official. Being on NPR, it’s like being on Gladwell or Ted, it’s the ultimate badge of seriousness.
As to qz.com . . . I’d not heard of them before (or, at least, not that I remember). Based on this linked article, I’m not impressed. But, who knows, they could have lots of good stuff too. I won’t judge an entire media channel based on N=1.
In all seriousness . . .
I have no problem with NPR. NPR is great. That’s why I’m bummed when it falls for junk science.