Has the practice of hedging a sensational headline by phrasing it as a question always been around? This example suggests it has, and it upsets Jon Stewart.
But what if it’s true? From the article:
[A eugenics professor states that] “we find the neurotic, the insane, the tuberculous, and the albinotic the more frequent among the elder-born… The result of this law is rather remarkable. It means that if you reduce the size of the family you will tend to decrease the relative proportion of the mentally and physically sound in the community.”
In England, the eldest son inherits the throne. So it’s understandable that this would upset them, because it suggests a flaw in that system. But more recent research should make them happy. In 2007, the New York Times reported on a study which indicates first born children have higher IQs than their siblings. More information on recent birth order studies can be found in this Time Magazine article called The Power of Birth Order.
IS THE FIRST BORN CHILD INFERIOR TO ITS BROTHERS? Sir Francis Galton Says It Is and Upsets English Society (PDF)
From April 17, 1910