You Could Look It Up

Does The Washington Post give its reporters a day-off from fact-checking on Fridays? That was what we were asking after a perceptive reader brought to our attention the following line from Mike Allen’s story on President Bush and the economy:

“Employment figures remain disappointing, and Democrats are accusing him of having the worst record on jobs since President Herbert Hoover.”

“Democrats are accusing him of”? Aren’t job losses a pretty easy statistic to verify?

It’s understandable that Allen attributed words as fuzzy as “worst record on jobs” to the accusing Democrats - since it’s a characterization, not a fact. But, why not give readers some way of evaluating that rhetoric? To that end, Allen might have pointed out that the 2.2 million jobs lost in the first three years of the president’s tenure — a figure he himself had provided a paragraph earlier — are indeed more than in any administration since Hoover’s.

Sometimes truth tumbles even from the lips of political partisans.


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Zachary Roth is a contributing editor to The Washington Monthly. He also has written for The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Slate, Salon, The Daily Beast, and Talking Points Memo, among other outlets.