…my little mini-expose of Tom Friedman’s use of a demonstrably false anecdote (still waiting for that correction!), you’ll really, really enjoy this exercise in factchecking David Brooks (via Atrios):
There’s just one problem: Many of his generalizations are false. According to Amazon.com sales data, one of Goodwin’s strongest markets has been deep-Red McAllen, Texas. That’s probably not, however, QVC country. “I would guess our audience would skew toward Blue areas of the country,” says Doug Rose, the network’s vice president of merchandising and brand development. “Generally our audience is female suburban baby boomers, and our business skews towards affluent areas.” Rose’s standard PowerPoint presentation of the QVC brand includes a map of one zip code Beverly Hills, 90210 covered in little red dots that each represent one QVC customer address, to debunk “the myth that they’re all little old ladies in trailer parks eating bonbons all day.”
“Everything that people in my neighborhood do without motors, the people in Red America do with motors,” Brooks wrote. “When it comes to yard work, they have rider mowers; we have illegal aliens.” Actually, six of the top 10 states in terms of illegal-alien population are Red.
“We in the coastal metro Blue areas read more books,” Brooks asserted. A 2003 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater study of America’s most literate cities doesn’t necessarily agree. Among the study’s criteria was the presence of bookstores and libraries; 20 of the 30 most literate cities were in Red states.
“Very few of us,” Brooks wrote of his fellow Blue Americans, “could name even five nascar drivers, although stock-car races are the best-attended sporting events in the country.” He might want to take his name-recognition test to the streets of the 2002 nascar Winston Cup Series’s highest-rated television markets three of the top five were in Blue states. (Philadelphia was fifth nationally.)
(By the way, the David Brooks piece from the Atlantic Monthly which the author dissects also serves as a launching point for a scathing essay by Thomas Frank in the new Harpers.)