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Confirmation Bias

Ed Driscoll at Instapundit [1]:

I gotta be honest: as a writer, when I first heard about this, my first thought was, There but for the grace of God go I. That was Alan Jacobs’s too. [2] He writes:

Wouldn’t you — wouldn’t anyone — assume that the phrase “death recorded” [3]means “death sentence carried out”? I know that’s what I would assume. Now, someone might say, “Well, she should have looked it up.” But we only look words or phrases up when we have reason to think that we have misunderstood them.

But Jacobs backtracked a bit when he learned that Wolf had faulted professional historians for missing this “fact” [4] — when actually, they were right and she was wrong. Jacobs:

As I say above, it’s reasonable that the term “death recorded” would raise no alarms; but it’s far less reasonable to blithely assume that all previous professional historians simply missed information that was there to be read.

Sounds like confirmation bias got the best of Naomi Wolf (and, one assumes, her editor). I’m just now starting my next book, and you’d better believe that I’m taking this self- immolation as a sign to be even more careful.

As Rod Dreher writes, it’s terrifying to think of being dunked on by an interviewer with a fact that destroys much of your book’s thesis. And if Wolf was a conventional historian or even a mainstream partisan pundit on either side of the aisle, most authors and journalists would feel much more sympathetic. But Wolf has a long history of crankery and conspiracy theory pedaling [5], and it finally caught up with her in a very public way.

Yeah.

Now, about the leftist media, and the conspiracy pedaling that we’ve been subject to the last couple of years….

Rather like Naomi Wolf in this case, the media has been offering up nothing but crackpot theories for the last 2 years as news, and in all that time never bothered checking their facts, in an attempt to make their own reality. Or as Ed describes it here, confirmation bias.

Go ahead. Roast Wolf if you want.
I’ll even bring the matches and the gasoline.

But let’s not pretend that she is at all unique, in these transgressions, and please for the love of God, let’s find somebody who can roast the leftist press the same way Wolf was here.