I grumbled a bit to myself when I saw the Mint infographic on the “Economic Impact of Immigration”, but didn’t bother to take it any further. I’m happy to read that Aaron Patzer, the founder of Mint, saw the problem and has taken steps to correct it. Fortune Tech reprinted his email in their coverage:
I’ve been traveling and found out about the “Economic Impact of Immigration” article this morning. As soon as I read it, I had it pulled. While my editor ensures the article was fact checked, I personally question two sources of such facts. More, even if the facts or statistics to check out, they were presented in a biased, editorialized, and non-objective way.
I personally don’t think Mint, who’s dedicated to personal finance, should even be covering this particular topic. If that were in our domain, and one were covering “illegal immigration”, I should hope that we’d cover both sides of the topic. In no instance should the ethnicity or nationality matter in such a discussion. That’s simply wrong.
The post is down, I’ve put my editor on warning, and issued the following apology:
At MintLife, our mission is to give users and visitors the financial information they need to save and do more with their money. Topics range from personal finance advice, to analysis of macroeconomic trends and the fiscal impacts of news of the day. We publish content from a variety of contributors and sources, and the opinions expressed don’t necessarily reflect those of Mint.com or of Intuit. It’s true that the tone is often provocative, seeking to engage readers in dialogue around important topics, but the recent blog post “The Economic Impact of Immigration” went too far, cited polarized sources and did not receive the editorial judgment and oversight it deserved. We regret it. Our intention was not to further the agenda of any of the sources from which data was pulled, and the post has been removed.
A filter is a screen that keeps things out. My information problem isn’t solved by keeping things out. What I need is to bring the right things to me, and that’s different.
What I want is not a filter, but good editors that bring me the news that I need to see. These editors could be a staff of professionals, but there’s also a role for technology in bringing my news to me.
There are already several services that try to do this, but none of them is really as easy, ubiquitous, and natural as I would like them to be. WIll someone solve it?
Stereotyping is easy for all of us. Our brains are categorizing machines, shoving every thing we see and do into tidy little boxes within boxes. A stereotype that conjures fear is even more powerful, because nothing gets our attention faster than danger – this also is built-in our wiring.
So it’s great to see more diverse presentation of Muslims in the media.
For an excellent point-of-view on this, check out Time’s Mona Eltahawy on video,
Free trade is a game rigged so that global corporations can arbitrage over all sorts of cost factors, based on a patchwork quilt of labor and environmental laws, and nearly always choosing what makes the most money.
Shouldn’t our core principle be doing what causes the least harm?
Barack Obama spoke a few weeks ago in West Virginia, and this is an excerpt of the speech where he addresses Veteran issues:
Personally, I lost an uncle to suicide largely stemming from his tour in Vietnam. I also watched the effects of PTSD on another uncle, of the WWII generation, grow worse as he slipped into dementia in the years before he passed in his 80’s. I feel very strongly that our service men and women are heroes, whether or not I agree with the policies of our civilian leadership who put them in the fight.
Obama’s speech in this podcast is worth listening to. For that matter, subscribe to the podcast series and listen to what he says on a variety of issues.
Everyone has been making much of the Obama speech on race and racism in america. David S. Broder of the Washington Post has written well on the subject and why it will continue to be a controversy. But he suggests that Obama’s immediate objective was to “douse the controversy” surrounding his relationship with Reverend Wright.
I don’t believe that this was Obama’s objective. Most politicians seek to push away from controversy, but Obama seems to want to use it rather than to simple make the controversy go away.
This is one of the things I find impressive about Obama. I hope he continues to push us all to confront these difficult issues of race and class, so we can make America the place we all believe it can be.