Reblogitation (pronounced with a “j” sound for the “g”, of course): the blogospheric phenomenon of reposting, and re-reposting, and re-re-reposting the information from the “apparent first” or “most snarky” report (or blog post) about a news item.
Mother-post: the “apparent first” or “most snarky” report of an item, that then provides “the facts” for most of the other stories about that item online (even those that don’t reference or link to the mother-post).
The flurry of recent news about the question “Should evolution be taught in public schools?” that was asked of the recent crop of MIss USA contestants is fascinating for a number of different reasons. It is a wonderful attention getter for the contest, taking away the usual annual spotlight on the structural misogyny and objectification of the contest. (She says “misogyny”, he says “philogyny”…let’s call the whole thing off). And it is double-bonus fantastic that the winner is a self-proclaimed “huge science geek” — hooray for Miss USA!
Interestingly, the reported number of contestants who believe evolution should be taught in schools has been bizarrely scattershot. The numbers are all over the place, even though everyone seems to be looking at the same video — but one set of numbers seems to “dominate the web”.
1) The ever influential Huffington Post’s headline states that “only 2 contestants believe in evolution” (no need to post a link to Huffington, IMHO). This seems to be the most reblogitated number. The “2 of 51″ actually appears to actually originate from a Think Progress post, which seems to be the real mother-post, but Huffington, seems to dominate in search results.) Although it appears the most online, this is clearly the most incorrect number.
2) Salon counts 24 in favor, 3 against, and 24 “equivocating to some degree”.
3) A USA Today blogger says they “lost count of the correct number”, then a couple of paragraphs later says 5 of 51 were “clearly for teaching evolution”.
(I guess that shows that essay questions are harder to grade than true-false questions.)
So what is the correct number? It will depend on your own interpretation of some of the more rambling answers in the video. But the “truth” is certainly not “2 of 51″.
Perhaps next year the Miss USA contest will ask: “Do you believe global warming should be taught in public schools?”