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Friday, March 6, 2009
Correlation-Equals-Causation Fallacy Watch

A March 5 article by Matt Cover is based around the implication that Barack Obama is responsible for the tanking economy: "In fact, Obama’s rise has seemed to accompany the economy’s fall." But Cover never offers any direct evidence that the two are related, nor does he acknowledge events outside of Obama's control that are much more likely factors.

For instance, Cover wrote:

On Feb. 9, the president made two campaign-style stops in South Bend and Elkhart, Ind. Obama made the case for government stimulus in his first national news conference, saying that only government could save the economy.


The following day, the NYSE lost 210 and the NASDAQ lost 51 points, with the NYSE shedding $400 billion the next day.

In fact, stock analysts did not tie those market declines to Obama's comments. A Feb. 10 New York Times article stated: "Investors had been expecting the Obama administration to unveil a shock and awe solution on Tuesday for the nation’s hobbled banking system. But the main reaction was disappointment as the new plan raised more questions than it answered, sending stock markets and the shares of banks assumed to be holding toxic assets sharply lower."

Cover has written several problematic CNS articles lately. He has taken Obama's words out of context, peddled false claims about the stimulus bill, and issued vaguely written attacks on Obama's economic plan.

Meanwhile, Newsmax follows in these same footsteps with a March 5 article by Greg Brown on its MoneyNews website suggesting a similar correlation: "Since Barack Obama was sworn in as president on Jan. 20, stocks have tumbled to record lows — with investors losing an estimated $2.5 trillion in market value." But like Cover, Brown offers little evidence to back up his suggestion.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 AM EST

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