Think Political News Is Biased?

Depends Who You Ask

Are the news media politically biased against people with “your” beliefs? If you’re a Republican, your answer depends on who you talk to, and how often.

That’s the finding of a new Ohio State University study: Republicans who frequently talk politics with other Republicans are more likely to believe that the so-called “liberal media” are biased against them than are Republicans who talk with like-minded people less often.

An Evolutionary Theory of Unipolar Depression:

an Adaptation for Overcoming Constraints of the Social Niche:

We outline a new theoretical model of the evolutionary adaptiveness of minor and major unipolar depression. According to our social navigation / social niche change model, the evolved function of depression is the analysis and eradication of a severe socially imposed mismatch between the depressive’s capacities and opportunities for fitness-enhancing activity, where the constraints responsible for the mismatch have a broad or even pervasive basis in the individual’s social network. Minor depression, which we operationally define as a level of depression that can be intentionally hidden from social partners (and often is), optimizes the mind in several ways for (1) identifying possible mismatch-reducing revisions of the individual’s socioeconomic niche and (2) planning active negotiating tactics to achieve their implementation. Major depression may ensue in cases where active tactics of negotiation or coercion consistently fail to yield the investments and concessions from social partners required for substantive niche revision. Watson, PJ & Andrews, PW. 2002.

Toward a revised evolutionary adaptationist analysis of depression:

The social navigation hypothesis
. JAD 72, 1-14

The ‘gambler’s fallacy’ results in more crime: ‘They shouldn’t bet on it, but convicted crooks do

as they commit more crimes under the gambler’s delusion that if they were caught once, they won’t get nabbed again, a new University of Florida study finds.

Like gamblers, repeat lawbreakers expect the odds are in their favor and that they won’t be apprehended again unless they were extremely unlucky,” said Alex Piquero, a UF criminologist who conducted the study.

“It’s the idea that lightning never strikes twice (in the same place) – that if I do a lot of crime, get caught and get punished, it can’t happen to me again tomorrow,” he said. “Speeding is the perfect example. People may drive the speed limit for a few days after getting a speeding ticket, but they soon resume their old driving habits because they think there is no way they can get stopped again so soon.” ‘

The Strategist and the Philosopher:

Who are these Neoconservatives who play an essential role in the United States President’s choices alongside the Christian Fundamentalists? …The Neoconservatives shouldn’t be confused with the Christian Fundamentalists who are also found in George Bush’s entourage. They have nothing to do with the renaissance of Protestant fundamentalism in the Southern, “Bible Belt” States which is one of the rising forces in today’s Republican Party. Neo-conservatism is East Coast and a little Californian also. Its sources of inspiration have an “intellectual” profile, often New Yorkers, often Jewish, who started out “on the left”. Some still call themselves Democrats. They have a political or literary magazine in hand, not the Bible; they wear tweed jackets, not the double-breasted blue green suits of the Southern televangelists. Usually they profess liberal ideas regarding social and moral issues. Their goal is neither to prohibit abortion nor to impose prayer in the schools. Their ambition is other.

However, explains Pierre Hassner, the singularity of the Bush administration is to have assured a conjunction of these two currents. George W. Bush has made Neoconservatives and Christian fundamentalists live together. The latter are represented in the government by a man like John Ashcroft, the Attorney General. The former have one of their stars as Deputy Defense Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz. George W. Bush, who campaigned from the center right without any very precise political anchorage, has realized a surprising and explosive ideological cocktail, marrying Wolfowitz and Ashcroft, Neoconservatives and Christian fundamentalists, two opposite planets. Le Monde [via truthout]

Venezuela has proof Washington was behind failed coup:

A senior Venezuelan army general said the government of the South American country has proof the United States was involved in a short-lived coup against President Hugo Chavez last year.

Army Gen. Melvin Lopez, secretary of Venezuela’s National Defence Council, said Tuesday “proof exists” the U.S. administration was involved in the mid-April putsch. He declined to give further details. “We have the evidence,” Lopez said during an interview broadcast by Venezuela’s state-run television channel.

Lopez said three U.S. military helicopters were on Venezuelan territory during the coup.

A spokesmen from the Pentagon declined comment on the allegation Tuesday night. CBC

Ex-spies slam US over failure to find WMDs:

The US government should be “embarrassed” over the apparent failure to uncover weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the main justification for going to war, retired intelligence officials said Thursday.

“It’s going to be very embarrassing when it turns out they have nothing to declare,” said former defense intelligence analyst Eugene Betit.

Another, former CIA station chief Ray Close, said: “I’m hoping they will be embarrassed into acknowledging a role for some independent body. And who could it be but the UN?”

As the “smoking gun” continued to elude US sleuths in Iraq, chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix called for experts to return to the country to determine whether the weapons allegations had any foundation. Agence France-Presse