Nicholas Kristof, music man!
That's the way Kristof started yesterday's column. Before he was done, he offered two similar examples of Johnny's astonishing dumbness.
For simplicity sake, let's stick to this one example. In it, Kristof's reflexive dishonesty reached an astounding new level.
Reading that example, a reader may get the impression that American students perform more poorly in math than their counterparts from Iran, Indonesia and Ghana, which are clearly meant to be seen as deeply embarrassing countries.
As Kristof surely knows, that impression would be grossly inaccurate. The test in question is the 2011 TIMSS, one of the two major international test programs in which most developed nations take part.
Along with a few other Asian tigers, Singapore tends to outscore the world on these international tests. But American kids scored fairly well on the 2011 TIMSS as compared with everyone else. Here are the relevant scores, with endlessly-ballyhooed Finland included as a point of comparison:
For all average scores, click here.
Eighth-graders in Iran, Indonesia and Ghana didn't perform nearly as well as their counterparts in the United States. How did Kristof manage to tie that false impression to his ugly, stupid remark about the way pitiful Johnny can't read or even count?
Simple! Kristof links to this site, where the TIMSS has posted 88 questions from the 2011 math test which wonÃ¢€™t be used again.
In a remarkably deceptive way, Kristof cherry-picked through that long list of questions. The question about the three consecutive numbers is, quite literally, the question on which American kids did least well out of all 88 as compared to the rest of the world.
Let's make sure you understand that! Quite deliberately, Kristof chose the least representative example out of 88 possible items.
He led his column with that unrepresentative example. He then pretended it shows that stupid-ass Johnny "can't count."
Assuming the TIMSS data are accurate, why did American kids perform so poorly on that one question? We have no idea. We also can't explain why American kids outscored every nation, including Singapore, on the question called "Median number of staff members." But, by God, they did!
In fact, they outperformed all nations, including Singapore, by a wide margin on that one question. An equally dishonest person could cherry-pick that one example to advance the false impression that U.S. eighth-graders lead the world in math.
Why in the world would a life-form like Kristof deceive his readers this way? Beyond that, what makes him so eager to denigrate American kids?
We can't answer that question, but several commenters thought they could. They said Kristof had once again cast himself in the role of tool to his corporate masters, who want to destroy teachers unions and privatize public schools:
Other comments drifted along that line. Meanwhile, quite a few comments show the things people end up believing when they're subjected to a steady stream of disinformation from Kristof and his merry band of gong-show propagandists:
The readers shown below agreedÃ¢€”it's done much better Over There! In a slightly rational world, these would be seen as embarrassing comments:
Please. On the test to which Kristof referred, American kids basically matched their counterparts in Finland. They outscored glorious Sweden by 25 points, with its average score of 484.
Germany didn't take part on the eighth grade level in 2011. It did participate at the fourth grade level, where its kids were outscored by kids from the U.S.
(Other scores in Grade 8 math: Great Britain 507, Australia 505, Italy 498, Norway 475.)
"We know Johnny canÃ¢€™t read; it appears that Johnny is even worse at counting!" It's hard to imagine why someone like Kristof would want to write such a thing. But such deceptions are completely routine within our upper-end press corps. This has been the reliable norm for a very long time.
We know of no topic on which Americans are so persistently disinformed by American pseudo-journalists. Yesterday, Kristof took the dissembling and the deception to a remarkable low.
Kristof seems to get stranger by the month. As Shakespeare thoughtfully asked, "On what meat doth this our Times pseudo-journalist feed?"
Just for the record: The other examples Kristof presents are also cherry-picked. He had to sift through 88 examples to mislead his readers so.
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