October 08, 2003

Rush Redux, II

Posted by shonk at 11:44 AM in Sports | TrackBack

A quick update to my previous post. Courtesy of Off Wing Opinion, I learned that John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime and The Bias Against Guns actually did some research to determine whether Limbaugh's comments had merit. From the National Review article:

The evidence suggests that Rush is right, though the simplest measures indicate that the difference is not huge. Looking at just the averages, without trying to account for anything else, reveals a ten-percent difference in coverage (with 67 percent of stories on blacks being positive, 61 percent for whites).

We also collected data by week for each of the first four weeks of the season on a host of other factors that help explain the rate at which a player is praised: the quarterback's rating for each game; whether his team won; the points scored for and against the team; ESPN's weekly rank for the quarterback's team and the opponent; and whether it was a Monday night game. In addition, I accounted for average differences in media coverage both in the quarterback's city and the opponent's city as well as differences across weeks of the season.

Accounting for these other factors shows a much stronger pattern. Black quarterbacks' news coverage is 27 percentage points more positive than whites. And that difference was quite statistically significant the chance of this result simply being random is the same odds as flipping a coin five times and getting heads each time.

Though I often tend to agree with the old saw about how "statistics lie, and liars use statistics", I have to say that I respect Lott as researcher, so it appears that I may have to eat my words.