June 18, 2011

Ha!!!! They said WHAT about Palin?

There’s something in one of Seth’s email inboxes that I’ve been delegated to monitoring when I have time, called The Robbins Report, that has an interesting piece within that I’d like to share.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have been posted to the web outside mailings to subscribers and I can’t get a link yet, so:

I’ll copy and paste it into this post and hope a link becomes available quickly.

Enjoy :-)

Sarah Palin’s critics routinely mock her intellect, so when the state of Alaska released 24,000 emails she wrote while serving as governor, “AOL Weird News,” an offbeat component of AOL.com, had a representative sample analyzed to see how well she wrote. They expected the results to confirm their anti-Palin bias, but they were in for a surprise.

Far from being an illiterate bumpkin, the standard Flesch-Kincaid readability test showed that Ms. Palin’s emails were written at an 8.5 grade level. This was “an excellent score for a chief executive,” AOLWN reported. To put some perspective on this number, Martin Luther King’s August 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech — much more heavily edited than Ms. Palin’s emails — ranked at 8.8 on the same scale, while Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address came in at 9.1.

A study by Smart Politics on the readability ratings of recent State of the Union addresses also showed Ms. Palin in good company. President George H.W. Bush’s average SOTU score was 8.6. Bill Clinton came in at 9.5. Ronald Reagan, who like Ms. Palin was heavily criticized by liberals and regarded as a doddering old fool, logged an impressive 10.3 rating. And George W. Bush, who earned even more left-wing contempt than Mr. Reagan, if that’s possible, edged the Great Communicator with a10.4 ranking.

Then there is President Obama, heralded as the smartest president and the most gifted orator in living memory, but whose 2008 “Yes we can!” victory speech came in at a comparatively anemic Flesch-Kincaid rating of 7.4. Some numbers just speak for themselves.

Well, well.

And speaking of President Obama

As President Obama shifts increasingly into reelection mode, he is feeling persistent anger and discontent from the left as well as the right.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer was heckled and booed Friday at the annual Netroots Nation conference in Minnesota, a gathering of liberal activists from the online political community. When Mr. Pfeiffer reminded the audience that the president championed an equal-pay law, the moderator replied, “Frankly we’re a little sick of hearing about that one.”

Less than 24 hours earlier, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley heard heated complaints from business leaders about burdensome government regulations at a meeting of the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington. As Mr. Daley listened to tales of the administration’s unnecessary interference in industry, he replied, “Sometimes you can’t defend the indefensible.”

Indeed you can’t.

by @ 10:12 am. Filed under The Fact Of The Matter...
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4 Responses to “Ha!!!! They said WHAT about Palin?”

  1. BB-Idaho Says:

    I’m sure Seth would like a further analysis of this ‘Flesch-Kincaid readability test’. It purports to measure simplicity; eg. understandablity. So, a 7 rating could be read and understood by
    a nominal 7th grader. How does it work? They devised a formula which
    states 39% of the ratio of total words to total sentences plus
    11.8 x the ratio of total syllables to total words less 15.5. So
    essentially lots of big words give a high rating. For example, if I write:
    “The difficulties of accurate and significant measurement of written language are mathematically challenging. Consequently, the Flesch
    -Kincaid algorythm minimally addresses linguistic syntax while ignoring the significance of its context”
    …and calculate, we find a grade level of 18.2 (which apparently
    is only intelligible to someone in the second year of post-graduate
    college). I’m sure a lawyer (or insurance policy) could produce much higher ratings yet! So, the F-K test is simply one of clarity.
    For example Dr. Suess’s Green Eggs and Ham rates about a 5 (why lil
    kids love it). Palin’s e-mails, in fact all our e-mails should be
    clear and straight forward. :)

  2. Mrs. Wolf Says:


    Awww, c’mon, now. :-)

    I’ve read transcripts of Palin emails and listened to Obama’s speeches and have to say that while Obama’s utterances are more “sophisticated” sounding, they tend to obfuscate the significance of their content, ie the professional politician’s expertise at saying absolutely nothing in a long-winded way that somehow conveys a concise message that simply isn’t there, whereas Palin, while essentially simpler in her own communications, comes across (and rightly so!) as saying what she means.

    Given the above, could it be that the Flesch-Kincaid readability test applies accurately in the case in point (the posted article)?

    BTW, I have to agree that a lawyer (or insurance policy, LOL) could score much higher, but that’s because they, like professional politicians, depend almost entirely upon baffling readers/clients/etc with B.S. in order to earn their “daily bread”.

  3. NH Meri Wido Says:

    FYI - Back in the 80’s one of the so-called assessment tests evaluated the Gettysburg Address and pronounced that it was unreadable, gramatically incorrect, and totally forgetable….and we all know how wrong that expert? evaluation was/is.

  4. Mrs Wolf Says:

    NH Meri Wido

    I recall reading about that someplace. One can only hope that Flesh-Kincaid is a very large cut above that one. :-)