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June 02, 2005

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Paul Krugman Has Another Word Department)

He writes:

The New York Times: Public Editor's Web Journal (Forum/Message Board): Just one last word. Mr. Okrent has so far offered only one example that, if true, would have justified his all-out attack on my ethics. Everything else is picking nits: I could explain why 77 percent, not 64 percent, is the right number, but does it really matter? The only significant example was his claim that I blended household and establishment survey data on jobs, in an attempt to score political points. But as I showed in the previous note, I didn't and in the column itself I pointed readers to the correct data. Now Mr. Okrent claims that he was only referring to my assertion that the economy needs to add 140,000 payroll jobs per month, which for some reason he thinks comes from the household survey. (It doesn't.) Sorry, that's an unconvincing evasive maneuver. Mr. Okrent clearly accused me of playing mix and match with the job numbers themselves. In fact, in our correspondence, when I said that it was all payroll data, he declared that 'your insistence that you relied only on one set of numbers is very puzzling. I don't see how the math works any other way; maybe you could further enlighten me.' In other words, the only accusation that could have justified Mr. Okrent's attack was completely unfounded. And now he's not enough of a mensch to admit his error.

Posted by DeLong at June 2, 2005 11:25 AM