Sorry, folks, it’s the New York Times again that is the source of our amusement. Today they have a story in the news pages with the following lead: “A bake sale sponsored by a Republican student group at the University of California, Berkeley, has incited anger and renewed the debate over affirmative action by asking students to pay different prices for pastry, depending on their race and sex.” The College Republicans announced that they planned to charge $2 per pastry to white customers, with declining prices for Asians, Latinos, African Americans, and Native Americans, and a 25 cent discount for women of all races. The rest of the story is predictable, making it painfully obvious that the ensuing furor on the Berkeley campus is just what the College Republicans wanted to prompt, as leftist administrators and students engaged in ritual denunciation, but were quite unable to speak intelligibly about just what was wrong with the CRs’ plans, if they themselves are devoted to preferences in the name of diversity. In the event, the CRs relented, permitting customers to pay what they pleased, but they had amply made their point.
So what headline did the Times put on the story? “A ‘Diversity Bake Sale’ Backfires on Campus.” Um, backfires? Au contraire. It was a smashing success for the planners of the sale, whose object–quite obviously realized–was to embarrass the supporters of “diversity.” How does a headline writer actually read the story he’s titling, and then get it that wrong?