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Monday, May 16, 2011

"The Disappearing Tax Foundation Blog Post"

I recently noted a post from The Tax Foundation accusing the Wall Street Journal editorial page of of "a textbook example of how to lie with statistics."

Bruce Bartlett points to a Tax Foundation article that accuses the WSJ's editorial page of "a textbook example of how to lie with statistics.": The Wall Street Journal's Misleading Income Chart. When the Tax Foundation questions someone's reliability, you know a line has been crossed.

Brendan Nyhan notes today that the Tax Foundation post has been taken down [cached copy]:

... At this point, you're probably wondering why this post doesn't contain any links to the Tax Foundation website. The reason is that this sort of intra-movement criticism has a short shelf life -- so short that the post had already vanished by this morning. Scott Hodge, the president of the Tax Foundation, confirmed that the post had been removed: "we withdrew the post for editorial and content reasons." He did not elaborate further.

Then, later, he does elaborate further -- that is, if we never got around to it qualifies as elaboration:

Update 5/16 4:51 PM [EST]: More from Hodge via email:

Like all organizations we have an editorial process. The piece was posted before I could edit it. I thought it needed revision and editing. We never got around to posting a satisfactory version. It's a moot point now.

Leaving the original post up, and then doing a follow-up post explaining the problem with the first post (which has not yet been explained other than someone thought "it needed revision and editing") would have been a more honest approach.

Either the editorial process is so bad that false claims appear on the site that are later removed without explanation -- not a very encouraging sign for the site -- or the post was removed because it told the truth. In any case, my statement that the Tax Foundation's reliability is questionable is certainly validated by this episode.

    Posted by on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 02:07 PM in Economics | Permalink  Comments (21)


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