Holy Roman Empire

I noticed that one of the advocacy groups in Tim Groseclose’s study of media bias is the Family Research Council. I know nothing about the Family Research Council, but based on its name I can guess that they don’t actually do any research.

I’m reminded of the Barnard Center for Research on Women. Back when I lived on Claremont Avenue, I would often walk through Barnard on the way home from work, and I’d go right by the office of this Center. One day I stopped by and said that I was starting a new program on Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences and we were looking for speakers for our seminar. I asked the person in the office of the Barnard Center for Research on Women what sort of research they did and whether someone there would like to speak in our seminar. I was told that they don’t do any research. No research, I asked. But what about the name of the center? No, I was told, that’s just our name, we don’t do any research.

I guess “Barnard Center for Advocacy for Women” (or the “Family Advocacy Council”) just doesn’t sound so good.

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

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Andrew Gelman

Andrew Gelman is a professor of statistics and political science and director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University.