Cooking the Books: The Conservative College Survey

Last night I received a “Message From Sean Hannity” in the mail. This is not a usual occurrence so I decided to see what Sean had to tell me. It turns out he wanted me to help out with a survey about the state of college education in America. Someday soon, you will probably see the results of this poll touted on Fox News, so I wanted to let you know that the poll is tied to contributing to a conservative cause. In other words the surveys have a self-selection bias because the responses will come almost exclusively from individuals interested in contributing to conservatives.

In particular, the contribution is for the benefit of Hillsdale College, a conservative bastion in Michigan. Hillsdale is more than just a college, but an example of the sort of calculated organizing that George Lakoff describes in his book “Don’t Think Of An Elephant!” — Hillsdale uses the contributions it receives to build an intern program to place students in government jobs and expand online courses to disseminate conservative talking points to as many as possible under the guise of education. Lakoff describes this as a conservative strategy predicated upon the willingness of conservatives to give money to concentrated groups to build leadership to “win” while liberals spend money on diverse charities to “help people,” guaranteeing that conservatives have a consistent edge when it comes to government.

The survey itself is a shrill diatribe about how every college in America is just slightly to the Left of Berkeley in the 1960s. The questions are disingenuously slanted to reinforce this image of a Leftist slide. For example:

Based on what you know now, would you say America’s “elite” colleges and universities would be more likely to produce leaders who hold views closer to Barack Obama or Ronald Reagan?

Obama did go to Columbia and Reagan went to Eureka College, but this question begins from the premise that the Yale educations of the Bush family and William F. Buckley, Jr. and the influence of Hoover Institution faculty such as Condi Rice and Thomas Sowell at Stanford render Yale and Stanford below the “elite” line.

I guess Mr. Burns needs to step up his contributions to Yale to get them back on top. Yale could use an international airport.

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