"Science" Report from The Washington Post: Conservative Voters Are Racists

On the Monday "Science" page of the Washington Post, reporter Shankar Vedantam offers the liberal Post readership some comforting news: studies show conservative voters are motivated by racism. That's not in the first paragraph. It sneaks in about halfway through the article, and explains the headline "Study Ties Political Leanings to Hidden Biases."

[T]hat study found that supporters of President Bush and other conservatives had stronger self-admitted and implicit biases against blacks than liberals did.

"What automatic biases reveal is that while we have the feeling we are living up to our values, that feeling may not be right," said University of Virginia psychologist Brian Nosek, who helped conduct the race analysis. "We are not aware of everything that causes our behavior, even things in our own lives."

The Post can claim, hey, we at least let a spokesman for the RNC, Brian Jones, point out the scientists are Democrats.

He also questioned whether the researchers themselves had implicit biases -- against Republicans -- noting that Nosek and Harvard psychologist Mahzarin Banaji had given campaign contributions to Democrats.

"There are a lot of factors that go into political affiliation, and snap determinations may be interesting for an academic study, but the real-world application seems somewhat murky," Jones said.

But they end by quoting an apparently nonpartisan expert, Jon Krosnick of Stanford, who concludes that many studies prove the conservatives-are-racist thesis:

"If anyone in Washington is skeptical about these findings, they are in denial," he said. "We have 50 years of evidence that racial prejudice predicts voting. Republicans are supported by whites with prejudice against blacks. If people say, 'This takes me aback,' they are ignoring a huge volume of research."

Vedantam also publicized the same scientists -- and the same RNC spokesman -- in a Washington Post Magazine cover story a year ago. He did an online chat on that here.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin adds to the story, detailing the "scientist" political donations.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis