Patterico's Pontifications


My Letter to The New York Times Ombudsman and Paul Krugman

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 6:31 am

Here is my letter to the New York Times about Paul Krugman’s recent column. I copied Krugman himself.

In his August 22 column, Paul Krugman misrepresented the results of a 2001 study conducted by the Miami Herald and other news organizations. He owes his readers a correction and apology.

Krugman claimed that 2 of 3 scenarios gave a win to Gore, and the third scenario involved an unrealistic standard. But the study actually concluded that 3 of 4 scenarios gave a win to Bush, and the fourth was unreliable.

Here is Krugman’s misrepresentation:

About the evidence regarding a manual recount: in April 2001 a media consortium led by The Miami Herald assessed how various recounts of “undervotes,” which did not register at all, would have affected the outcome. Two out of three hypothetical statewide counts would have given the election to Mr. Gore. The third involved a standard that would have discarded some ballots on which the intended vote was clear. Since Florida law seemed to require counting such ballots, this standard almost certainly wouldn’t have been used in a statewide recount.

Here’s what the study actually said:

The newspapers then applied the accounting firm’s findings to four standards used in Florida and elsewhere to determine when an undervote ballot becomes a legal vote. By three of the standards, Bush holds the lead. The fourth standard gives Gore a razor-thin win.

. . . .

The USA TODAY[/Miami Herald/Knight Ridder] study shows that Gore would have won Florida by 3 votes if this [fourth] standard were applied to undervotes. Because of the possibility of mistakes in the study, a three-vote margin is too small to conclude that Gore might have prevailed in an official count using this standard.

Mr. Krugman owes his readers a correction and, by now, he knows it.

I’ll let you know what they say. I also sent an e-mail letter to Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler, who yesterday defended Krugman without mentioning the howlers in Krugman’s latest column. I told Bob that he is “vitriolic but seemingly honest” and that he therefore should have called Krugman on this egregious mistake. I admit to provoking Bob a bit (I signed the e-mail “Love and kisses, Patterico”) but that’s only because I am looking forward to the vitriol that I expect will saturate his response.

11 Responses to “My Letter to The New York Times Ombudsman and Paul Krugman”

  1. Patterico,

    You must have a lot of time, sir. First, it was the LAT, now its the NYT. (smile)


    David (03f14c)

  2. The Howler can be a fun read from time to time. Somerby occasionally takes on the the wacky Left when they get too far out there (see his comments on Darth Rove in previous editions).

    Somerby, though, seems to have a variant of Bush Derangement Syndrome. I would call his malady Medius Derangmentus Rightus. He seems to believe that the national media deliberately portrays Democrats in a bad light, due primarily to laziness and a penchant for swallowing Right-wing arguments. He seems to blame the national media as the primary cause of Democrat presidential defeats.

    His illness tends to infect his reason to the extent that after you read a few of his rants, his well-reasoned arguments begin to look like times when his fever receeds and reality replaces the ignis fatuus which seems to be his otherwise normal state.

    Glenn (1a2460)

  3. Somerby was Al Gore’s roommate in college (along with Tommy Lee Jones, I believe). That connection seems to consistently interfere with his interpretation of reality. Somerby was a very talented stand-up comic in the 80s, but as with so many comedians-turned-pundits, he just ain’t funny no more.

    Joe Miller (2f96b6)

  4. If the linked article is any indication, the title “Daily Howler” refers to the lie Somerby tells each day.

    eddie haskell (8fd1a1)

  5. All I can say is keep it up liberals. As long as you keep reliving the 2000 election, you won’t have any energy or resources left to campaign in the current elections.

    docdave (0bf2ce)

  6. It is worth mentioning the other studies, one of which was performed by the Gray Lady. None of the other studies showed any scenario in which Gore won and predated the USAToday study.

    Al (00c56b)

  7. Question,

    Apparently Krugman’s definition of a “full manual recount” includes all undervotes and overvotes.

    In that scenario, is his statement still false?

    Also, is anyone aware of a state that recounts overvotes in a manual recount?

    pepster (5f1fc1)

  8. Pepster,

    The above misrepresentation relates to undervotes only. Many have argued about what the result would be if you count overvotes; I’m not wading into that thicket right now. My beef is that Krugman says: here’s what the Miami Herald study says about undervotes — and what he claims is just wrong.

    Put another way: the words “full manual recount” do not appear in the Krugman quote above. It relates to a study of undervotes and undervotes only.

    Patterico (b23094)

  9. Patterico, remember, that the NYT is no longer the “best” newspaper, qccording to a recent survey

    New York Times Slips In The Polls, Demands A Recount

    David (03f14c)

  10. […] It looks like Patterico got the correction he was looking for. […]

    PrestoPundit » Blog Archive » “Misstatements” and “innaccuracies” (d881ce)

  11. […] Krugman tells a whopper about the 2000 election. Commissar is right, Krugman must believe. Patterico has more. […]

    SayUncle » Blog Archive » The Paper of Making Up the Record (8b22b3)

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