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Saturday, May 21, 2011
NewsBusters Complains That Media Ignored Discredited Study
Topic: NewsBusters

Must the media promote a discredited study? NewsBusters thinks so.

A May 20 post by Tim Graham touts a study by economists Timothy Conley of the University of Western Ontario and Bill Dupor of Ohio State University showed the stimulus bill saved 443,000 government jobs, but caused a net loss of more than a million jobs, complaining that "This is one of those studies only Fox News noticed." 

Graham didn't mention that the study has been discredited. Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote that the study "makes no effort to control for the differential effects of bubble and bust" and "uses odd variables on both the left and the right side of its equations," adding that it appears "the authors tried something that happened to give the results they wanted, then stopped looking."

Economist Dean Baker wrote of the study: "Their results depend on pulling out four private sector industry groups (lumped together) and measuring the stimulus against trend job growth in these industries. Even for these four industry groups , most of the results are only marginally significant. It is clear from their tables that if they took all private sector jobs, their results would be insignificant." Baker concluded, "In short, there are many unusual aspects to this analysis and very little effort to determine whether these quirks are driving the results."

Further, the study's results run counter to findings by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the White House Council of Economic Advisors, which found that the stimulus bill created as many as 3.6 million jobs.

Graham also claimed that "Our media only cites studies which estimate the number of jobs Team Obama 'saved or created,'" but it's clear that "his media" -- Fox News -- apparently only cites studies that claim the stimulus was a failure, regardless of the veracity of that claim.

Nevertheless, Tom Blumer piled on in another May 20 post, echoing Graham's complaint that "the establishment press has given the silent treatment" to the study. He also bizarrely claimed that a search of the New York Times website for the study turned up "Nothing relevant," completely ignoring Krugman's analysis. (Blumer did a search for the study authors' names, which Krugman didn't use in his analysis.) Like Graham, he avoided mentioning any criticism of the study.

Blumer adds, "Ignorance of published results can have consequences." So does ignorance of how published results have been discredited.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:59 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, May 21, 2011 11:00 AM EDT

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