And this doesn’t prove it. I’m sympathetic to the argument, but, for all I know, the stimulus could be immensely damaging, even to jobs, in the long run. Another analysis could come along deconstructing it. But its sources would have to be as mainstream and as credible. At a minimum, the counter-analysis would have to go beyond Scott Brown’s, which Leonhardt cites:

As Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, the newest member of Congress, said, in a nice summary of the misperceptions, the stimulus might have saved some jobs, but it “didn’t create one new job.”

The larger point is, readers are confronted with a blizzard of economics data, and, in this area, especially, news stories really aren’t enough. It’s good for an analysis to be fair, but it’s better to be fair and actually say something.

Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014).

Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.