Revisiting Edmund Andrews

Last October, I noted with sadness that I could no longer trust The New York Times business section for Mr. Andrews' failure to substantiate claims regarding the "majority" of economists' and forecasters' views on the economy. I argued that factual assertions made in news articles require source statements; only when social facts are established within reason can we move forward in public debate.

Now, Russell Roberts is all over Mr. Andrews for a whole shopping cart full of intelectual crimes: drawing conclusions from inconclusive data , stating opinions as facts, using political sources without disinterested affirmation, and simply getting the numbers wrong. He concludes:

I suspect the New York Times reporter misread it to mean that the number of jobs in the high-paying industries is unchanged, ergo, zero job growth in the high-paying industries.

I have a call into Mr. Andrews. I'll re-post if anything changes.

But here's what's amazing and a little bit frightening. This claim that no new jobs are being created in the highest-paying industries will become what Joel Best calls a "mutant statistic." Whether it's true or not, because it was in the Times, it will get quoted and cited as fact. I don't think it is. If I'm wrong, I'll let you know.



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This page contains a single entry by Kevin published on August 11, 2004 3:02 PM.

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