"Red-blue divisions start with newborns’ names; parents show partisan tendencies", Washington Times 6/5/2013:
Names with the soft consonant “l” or that end in a long “a” — for example, President Obama’s daughter Malia — are more likely to be found in Democratic neighborhoods, while names with hard vowel sounds such as K, G or B — think former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s sons Track and Trig — are more popular in Republican communities.
I've pretty much given up on the idea that literate people can be expected to know the difference between voice and tense, or passive and active, or even nouns and verbs. But I thought that consonants and vowels were pretty safe, at least as a taxonomy of orthographic categories. I mean, "AEIOU and sometimes Y", right?
Anyhow, what's even more striking about this article is the fact that it manages never to cite or link to the paper it discusses, which is J. Eric Oliver, Thomas Wood, and Alexandra Bass, "Liberellas versus Konservatives: Social Status, Ideology, and Birth Names in the United States", 2013.
In fact, information about the source is dribbled out bit by grudging bit. In the second paragraph, we're told about "A research paper by a team of University of Chicago political scientists". In the fourth paragraph, the paper's title is given. In the eleventh paragraph, we get the authors' names. We never get a link.
Can you imagine an article about a politician's new proposal or a company's new product that begins with a general description in the second paragraph, gets around to telling us what the proposal or product is called in the fourth paragraph, and withholds the name of the politician or the company until the eleventh paragraph?
In fact, I believe that Journalists often deal with scientific and technical papers in a similar way: The tip of the informational pyramid is just the fact that a "study" or "paper" exists; then maybe the institution and perhaps the field; the people, the journal, the title, etc., are backgrounded if indeed they're mentioned at all. It might be an interesting term project for a journalism course to determine whether my impression is valid, and how this treatment compares with stories about new products, new novels, new movies, and so on.
[via fev at headsup: the blog]