When Justice Scalia raised the issue of “mismatch” during oral argument in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the mainstream media acted as if a stink bomb had exploded in the courtroom. Can it really be that serious reporters on legal affairs were unfamiliar with this carefully researched phenomenon?
Maybe so. Gerard Alexander, who teaches politics at the University of Virginia, offers a plausible explanation for the MSM’s apparent ignorance. He tells me that the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times all declined to review Mismatch by Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, the best known popular exposition of the phenomenon. They did so despite the fact that (1) Taylor is a leading journalist on legal matters, (2) the book dealt with one of the most discussed and debated topics in America, and (3) it was published by Basic Books, among the most high profile and mainstream publishers around.
You would almost think that the arbiters of opinion wanted a blackout on the argument and the data Sander and Taylor presented.
When Gerard checked with Professor Sander to confirm what he (Gerard) told me, Sander said that in addition to the three newspapers cited above, the following MSM mainstays did not review Mismatch: Time, Newsweek, New Yorker, and New York Review of Books.
The leading publications that did review the book were: New Republic, Wall Street Journal, Claremont Review of Books, National Review, Washington Times, Washington Examiner, and American Spectator. You can see, then, how members of the MSM might be in the dark about “mismatch.”
Justice Scalia, it would appear, did more than discuss an issue that was briefed in the Fisher case. He broke an MSM taboo. No wonder wrath is raining down on him.