Thursday Edition

The NYT and WH are in a pillow fight, and Americans have strong thoughts on immigrants today versus in yesteryears.


1. Unlikable Corporations

McKinsey, a prestigious global consulting firm, has had a hellish month on the PR front.

  • As the U.S. grapples with a drug overdose epidemic, the DOJ is investigating McKinsey for advising drug companies on how to boost opioid sales.

  • Four McKinsey studies claiming diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives make companies more profitable have basically been debunked.

  • Bloomberg reported this week that a managing partner at the firm tried to boost flagging morale among senior leadership by playing Bob Marley, Eminem and Chumbawamba hits at a company event.

What London Business School professor Alex Edmans told the American Conservative about McKinsey’s DEI studies: “McKinsey is a premier consulting firm, not a research institute. The goal of its studies is marketing, not scientific inquiry, and so it sometimes writes whatever the public wants to hear and skews the data to do so. This is a particular problem for DEI because the strong entrenched ideologies mean there’s only one acceptable answer.”

Why should I care about McKinsey? Aside from being highly prestigious and doing work for a lot of the biggest companies in the world, McKinsey is a sort of finishing school for global leaders in business, government and academia. Their alumni list is chock full of CEOs, politicians and other notable figures.

  • Google’s current CEO worked for McKinsey.

  • So did Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark and Chelsea Clinton.

  • A 2008 USA Today study found that working as a McKinsey consultant gives you the best odds in the world at eventually becoming CEO of a public company.

McKinsey’s even had an impact on public policy. The Pentagon cited McKinsey’s studies to justify DEI initiatives and recruiting efforts.

Bubba’s Two Cents: McKinsey shapes a lot of the country’s top leaders, and that’s scary because the company's values are questionable. It’s one thing to be a corporation that’s all about making money, but it’s another thing to pretend to be some sort of social advocate while you’re doing it. Americans understandably get riled up when the people in charge, people with the snazziest jobs and from the best schools, act hypocritically.

2. America Goes Anti-Immigrant

Neglecting the border crisis has pushed Americans into a far more hardline stance on immigration. (Axios)

The latest: According to a new Axios Vibes/Harris Poll survey, 62% of U.S. adults surveyed believe today's immigrants have worse character than those from 50 years ago.

  • 76% of Republicans, 53% of Democrats and 60% of independents agree.

Recent polling indicates a growing anti-immigrant trend:

  • An Axios Vibes/Harris Poll survey from last week found 51% of U.S. adults (including 42% of Dems) support mass deportations of undocumented immigrants.

  • The share of Americans who think legal immigrants benefit the economy has fallen, while the percentage concerned about immigrants committing crimes is up, according to an AP-NORC poll released last month.

  • Per Gallup, voters have named immigration the top problem facing the country for three straight months.

Pirate Wires editor in chief Mike Solana:Turns out when you shut your border to talented, freedom-loving legal immigrants while waiving the law for 10 million low-skilled border hoppers from the third world, there are major cultural consequences, and actual tax-paying citizens begin to seek decisive action.”

Bubba’s Two Cents: So there’s two ways to look at this —

1) Anti-immigrant sentiment is surging because people are frustrated by the current border situation, but Americans don’t really mind immigration and these feelings will fade once the problem dies down.

2) This is related to the questions of national identity raised in recent years by Donald Trump and other right-wing populists — basically, how much does where you’re born define how American you are?

3. A Liberal Pillow Fight

The New York Times is way too pro-Trump for President Biden. (Ink Stained Wretches)

A new report from Politico suggests the White House isn’t happy that The Times is trying to cover Biden and Donald Trump neutrally.

  • Team Biden’s argument is that Trump is such a unique threat to the country, he shouldn’t be compared to the president.

  • It’s led to Times reporters losing access to sources after publishing stories that ticked off the White House.

  • According to Politico White House correspondent Eli Stokols, the end result is a “remarkably tense relationship, beset by misunderstandings, grudges and a general lack of trust.”

Ink Stained Wretches co-host Chris Stirewalt: “The idea that it would be better for Joe Biden somehow if The New York Times was a total lapdog and wrote every piece in the context of, ‘but Donald Trump is much, much worse’ … You just wouldn't do much coverage at all because anything other than press releases might help Donald Trump win the White House. But that's not The New York Times’ job.”

What Times Washington bureau chief Elisabeth Bumiller told Politico: “[The White House is] not being realistic about what we do for a living. … You can be a force for democracy, liberal democracy. You don’t have to be a force for the Biden White House.”

Bubba’s Two Cents: Good on The Times for sticking to basic journalistic standards. But let’s not act like Biden’s team is crazy to expect the mainstream media to carry water for Democrats.

4. Where Our Priorities Lie

Gauging whether Americans or Europeans live better boils down to what we value more — time or money. (Financial Times)

Americans work a lot more: In 2022, Americans worked an average of 1,811 hours annually.

  • The average in Northern Europe is about 1,500 hours.

  • Germans clocked in at just 1,341 hours a year.

We’re more productive and that leads to higher average incomes in the U.S. compared to all European countries except Luxembourg, Ireland, Norway, and Switzerland.

Europeans tend to live longer: Spaniards, despite being much less wealthy, have an average lifespan of 83 years compared to 77.5 years for Americans.

Financial Times columnist Simon Kuper: “[Most] Americans would probably prefer European working hours. It is just that their employers, and the cost of health insurance, get in the way. The US offers big prizes for finishing top, and big punishments for finishing bottom. That is partly why Europe exports its most ambitious strivers there.”

Bubba’s Two Cents: Loving work has always been a big part of the American identity (think about how closely intertwined the U.S. is with the “Protestant work ethic” idea). But it’s possible we’re seeing that change a bit thanks to the pandemic, more flexible work arrangements and disillusionment with the “grindset” life. Last year, the share of Americans who are disengaged with their work hit a 9-year-high, per Gallup.

5. One For the Road:

Here’s a take on Gaza War protesters that we felt was worthy of bringing to your attention from Elica Le Bon, an Iranian American activist and attorney:

“Elite students of Ivy League schools have glamorized oppression so much that they have now reached role play status to satisfy their fantasies.

Here, the students have appropriated the suffering of Gazans and are cosplaying as living through humanitarian crisis. In their American make-believe story where Ivy League infrastructure sets the scene, the students play Gazans and the school administration plays Israel.

Israel (the school) is blocking their “basic humanitarian aid” in this play, and if they don’t receive it soon, they will “die of thirst and starvation” (appropriating exact experiences of Gazans). They also destroy upper class buildings and claim them as “liberated” while the students repeat chants in zombie-like chorus, playing the roll of “freedom fighters” destroying Israeli infrastructure and claiming them freed.

If I’m alive in a world where people don’t see the levels of perversion in this, I give up. You don’t see this in lower tier schools from kids of lower socio-economic standing because they aren’t plagued with the guilt of privilege that they’re seeking to launder through Middle East role plays of feigned suffering. This is as first world dystopia as it gets.

Meanwhile, these Ivy League students who can have much more than a glass of water and as much food as their stomachs can take are commanding the attention of the media and the entire American audience, while actual Gazans who need humanitarian aid are ignored. I still have to pinch myself that people don’t see this.”

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