Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Economist Edition)

If the Economist is this... peculiar... on events about which I know a great deal, what should I conclude about its reliability on events about which I know nothing? Journalistic credibility is very fragile indeed.

Brendan Nyhan has the goods, as his shrill screeches rend the Massachusetts night:

Brendan Nyhan: What is John Micklethwait talking about? : In the special Economist issue "The World in 2006," US editor John Micklethwait notes the setbacks suffered by President Bush during 2005 -- the failure of Social Security privatization, our struggles in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and the DeLay scandals -- before offering this ridiculous analysis (sub. required):

As a result, a president who stormed back to power in 2004 with more votes than any previous candidate will spend a good deal of 2006 on the defensive.

Using the number of votes as a metric of electoral success is ridiculous. (Ever heard of population growth?) By more standard metrics such as presidents' popular vote and Electoral College margins, Bush's re-election victory was one of the closest in history, as Ron Brownstein pointed out... "Bush beat Kerry by just 2.9 percentage points: 51% to 48.1%. That's the smallest margin of victory for a reelected president since 1828."... Not exactly storming back to power...


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