These days, you kind of get the sense that the Tea Party propaganda machine is running on continuous autopilot; going nowhere and doing nothing, but circling the tarmac forever anyway. Case in point this segment from FOX “News,” which features Juliet Huddy interviewing both Zerlina Maxwell (contributing writer Ebony magazine, and token liberal black) and the Tea Party “News” Network’s Scottie Nell Hughes on the subject of women’s happiness. Presumably because Todd Akin was busy.
The interview centers around a story published by occasional NY Times op-ed writer and president of the American Enterprise think tank Arthur Brooks. Brooks “A Formula for Happiness” centers on the notion that conservative values (primarily supply side economics and legitimate rape) make for happier women. Brooks even goes so far as to say that “None, it seems, are happier than Tea Partiers.”
In the video, Juliet cheerily chirps that 40% of conservative women say they are happy, compared to about 28% of extremely liberal women. The trio go on to discuss the reasons why this might be, and the video is worth watching if for no other reason than to get your daily chuckles at Hughes and Maxwell’s smiles — both of which appear as carefully coiffed as their peroxided hair and “ignorance and heartless bitchiness is bliss” perspectives. But before that…a bit of perspective on the source for this claim.
After the report came out, the Washington Post published an analysis of Brooks’ claims by sociologist Jay Livingston. Having evidently smelled something afoul in the teabag, Livingston deduced that Brooks’ figures came from a cumulative study of happiness taken over the course of 30 years, beginning in 1972. The graph Brooks used looks like this:
Now, that does seem pretty legit, given the fact that cumulative surveys from the General Survey society have been used in sociological studies for quite some time. Unfortunately, though, this cumulative survey isn’t exactly the end of the story; some might even say it’s deliberately misleading, given this, more recent survey taken from 2008 to 2012:
Obviously, this new graph tells a somewhat different story from the one tabulating results from 1972, through the Reagan and Bush eras. Nowadays, it seems as though those Tea Party Cheerleaders’ plastered-on smiles are hiding just a wee bit of antipathy toward life in general. Or, they’re genuine displays of manic excitement. Imagine that…the Tea Party has bipolar disorder. Nobody saw that one coming. Least of all, evidently, our “think tank” president , Arthur Brooks.
But why would Brooks, clearly a professional analyst with integrity to spare, fail to mention this in his column? Could it be that he has some kind of conservative agenda? We don’t know; we’re just asking questions.
No…it’s probably just a coincidence that the American Enterprise Institute is a Koch-funded propaganda machine, working as a redundant entity for the equally Koch-locked CATO Institute. And it’s not as though AEI’s credibility had ever been called into question before: As the Kochs’ go-to climate-change-denial branch, nobody batted an eye when it used Michael Crichton’s fictional and professionally debunked novel “State of Fear” as a scientific basis for said denial. Did they ever take $1.6 million to bribe scientists to publicly question other scientists’ climate change findings, and have they ever been called a “deliberately misleading propaganda machine for big oil?” Yes. Yes they have. But, nevermind…there’s always the guy who wrote Jurassic Park.
So, there we have it: A FOX interview among three women discussing women’s happiness based on information from 1972, published by a guy who once used a novel to save the Koch brothers money on emissions equipment so they could continue to fund the TEApublicans that FOX endorses.
And the Autopilot circles once again.
Watch the report here: