The False Metric Strikes Again

1 comment August 7th, 2008at 07:40am Posted by Eli

If your movement’s credibility depended on your ability to come up with a yeah-but that makes you sound somehow morally superior to your opposition despite the dishonesty and near-omnidirectional hate that drips from your every word, what would you choose?

What may be surprising, however, is to what degree profanity seems to be a feature more common to left-leaning blogs than to right-leaning ones.

Which side of the online aisle is more likely to use profanity, though? For answers, I turned to the search engine Google to see how common swearing is in the right and left blog universes by looking up the late stand-up comic George Carlin‘s “seven dirty words” in the most popular blog communities.

The results showed that online liberals tend to use profanity a lot more than online conservatives.


Dividing the number of instances of profanity by the number of pages of the sites on which they appear, then multiplying the result by 100 yields what might be called a “profanity quotient.”

The top 10 liberal sites (Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Democratic Underground, Talking Points Memo, Crooks and Liars, Think Progress, Atrios, Greenwald, MyDD and Firedoglake) have a profanity quotient of 14.6.

The top 10 conservative sites (Free Republic, Hot Air, Little Green Footballs, Townhall, News Busters,, Wizbang, Ace of Spades, Red State and Volokh Conspiracy) have a quotient of 1.17.

This means that 14.6 percent of all pages on the most popular liberal sites have profanity on them, compared to 1.17 percent of all pages on the conservative sites.

That’s quite a disparity.


Notable also in these stats are the liberal blogs Eschaton, Crooks and Liars, and Firedoglake, where profanity is so common you basically cannot take part in the discussion without running into it.

On the flip side, the popular conservative community, run by literary agent Lucianne Goldberg, seems to have no profanity at all.

Why such a disparity between the right and left online?

Some on the right may take this as a sign of their superior intelligence. [HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!] Others may theorize that it’s simply because liberals are angry at President Bush.

More than likely, it is a reflection of how things are offline. Conservatives, especially those who are more religious, are less likely to use profanity in their daily conversation.

All well and good, I suppose.  But tell me: Have you calculated an eliminationism quotient?  Or a racism/sexism/homophobia quotient?  Or a dishonesty quotient?  Or a harassing-12-year-old-kids quotient?

I would much rather read the occasional swear word than wade through a sewer of hate and lies – not to mention personal viciousness (outing liberal bloggers, publishing people’s addresses and phone numbers to encourage harassment and threats).  Oh well, different strokes for different folks, as they say.  But please, do not mistake the right’s lack of profanity for civility or decency.  It’s quite easy to be hateful without swearing, and vice versa.

(h/t Jane)

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Democrats,Media,Politics,Racism,Republicans,Sexism,Teh Gay,Wankers

1 Comment

  • 1. Cujo359  |  August 7th, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    I think it was also George Carlin who observed that “kill” seemed like a more obscene word than “fuck”. If you look for synonyms for killing and hurting people, who comes out ahead then?

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