Tag Archives: jack shafer

We know nothing because we read newspapers

Here are some articles to remember when reading the mainstream media’s frequent self-congratulations, their mourning as they lose influence, and disparagement of new media reporting.

  1. The Vitality of Mythical Numbers“, Max Singer, Public Interest, Spring, 1971
  2. The (Continued) Vitality of Mythical Numbers“, Peter Reuter,Public Interest, Spring 1984
  3. The (Ongoing) Vitality of Mythical Numbers – Does ID theft really cost $48 billion a year?“, Jack Shafer, Slate, 26 June 2006
  4. More Mythical Numbers – The GAO debunks the official human-trafficking estimates“, Jack Shafer, Slate, 16 August 2006
  5. Other articles about these things
  6. For more information and Afterword

Contents

While mythical numbers will always circulate at warp speed, on the Internet the corrections often circulate almost as fast — unlike the mainstream media who often ignore their errors (unless forced to acknowledge them by the growing new media).

(1)  The Vitality of Mythical Numbers“, Max Singer, Public Interest, Spring, 1971 — Excerpt:

Along the same lines, this exercise is another reminder that even responsible officials, responsible newspapers, and responsible research groups pick up and pass on as gospel numbers that have no real basis in fact. We are reminded by this experience that because an estimate has been used widely by a variety of people who should know what they are talking about, one cannot assume that the estimate is even approximately correct.

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Reading Recommendations – about our infrastructure

Important and interesting articles and reports published recently about America’s infrastructure.

  1. High Speed Rail Proposals Map“, Matthew Yglesias, ThinkProgress, 21 April 2009 — Cost be dammed thinking from a young leftist journalist.
  2. Infrastructure Madness“, Jack Shafer, Slate, 21 April 2009 — “Don’t believe everything you read about the failing bridges and antiquated waterworks.”
  3. The 2009 Report Card for American Infrastrstructure”, published by the the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

Excerpts

(1)   High Speed Rail Proposals Map“, Matthew Yglesias, ThinkProgress, 21 April 2009 — There is no point reading the “cost be dammed” thinking from a young leftist journalist, the graphic is nifty — and this comment provides the perfect response.  By Rich in PA:

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Confirmation in the news of things you already read on the FM site

Usually these weekend posts examine unexpected ways in which the world is changing.  Here we do the opposite, matching current news with past posts from this site.

  1. Stimulus Thinking, and Nuance“, New York Times, 1 April 2009 — About Hitler’s economic policies, one of the keys to his success.
  2. The Water-War Myth“, Jack Shafer, Slate, 2 April 2009 — “Spike those stories about water disputes leading to armed combat.”
  3. Causes and Consequences of the Oil Shock of 2007-08“, James Hamilton, Brookings Institute, 23 March 2009 (70 pages)
  4. Pentagon preps for economic warfare“, Politico, 9 April 2009
  5. The Clock Ticks for Europe“, Desmond Lachman, American Enterprise Institute, 8 April 2009

The following is an addition to the FM reference page An Army near the Breaking Point – studies & reports.  No excerpt provided.  

Excerpts

(1)  Strong economic growth, esp vs. France and Poland, was a key to Hitler’s success

Stimulus Thinking, and Nuance“, New York Times, 1 April 2009 — A frequently mentioned point on the FM site about the Great Depression.  Excerpt (emphasis added):

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