Thursday, May 21, 2015

When Mainstream Media is the Bully

Apparently, Al Roker, Natalie Morales, and Stefanie Wilder-Taylor think it's great fun to laugh at gifted children. Yeah, same old trope, all children are gifted, blah. But then, Ms Wilder-Taylor quotes out the oft-accepted 2%-5% of the population is gifted stat, followed by the mockery that parents then have to one-up each other claiming their child is "highly" gifted. Wow. Because "highly gifted" is completely different from "left handed." My question, though, is this: Would they all be so quick to point and laugh at the other side of the curve?

The highest recorded IQ I could find in a simple search was 225. This is nine - count 'em, NINE - standard deviations from the norm, assuming the usual 15 point standard deviation. We're all familiar with a bell curve. For the sake of comparison, let's use a measured IQ of 190.

Here's how that breaks down:

Five SD Left: 10
Four SD Left: 25
Three SD Left: 40
Two SD Left: 55
One SD Left: 70

"Normal" : 85-115

One SD Right: 130
Two SD Right: 145
Three SD Right: 160
Four SD Right: 175
Five SD Right: 190


Those SDs on either side break down to Mild, Moderate, Severe, and Profound on the left side of the curve, and Mild, Moderate, High, Extreme, and Profound on the right. Tell me, if Ms Wilder-Taylor had gone out of her way to quote that 1-5% of the population was intellectually disabled, but then 'It's not enough for them to be intellectually disabled, they have to be severely intellectually disabled..." Would Al Roker and Natalie Morales been laughing then? Would the segment have continued as a lighthearted chat about a new book?  What do you think?

I think that had she made that statement, Roker and Morales would have been aghast. There would have been some nervous tittering, and a quick end to the interview. They might have mentioned the author, but probably not her book, in the rush to get her the blazes off their stage before the PR Nightmare hit. There would have been some measure of "the opinions of guests are not those of NBC..." tacked to the bottom of the video, if it was posted on the Today website at all. But because these children - equally far from the norm as their disabled counterparts - are to the right of the curve, they're fair game. It's okay to mock them. And, it's perfectly fine to insult their parents. Nobody really cares anyway. And that, my friends, is a tragedy.