TheStreet.com’s Marek Fuchs goes bonkers about the media coverage this past week about the fourth-quarter gross domestic product figures, noting once again that business reporters fail to mention in their stories that the numbers are typically revised later.
Fuchs wrote, “In the fourth quarter of 2005, for example (year before these latest numbers), the initial number came out at 1.1%, which resulted in hyperbolic headlines about an imminent recession. The revision came out at 1.6% — which was still not great, but at 50% higher was clearly out of the danger zone.
“The fourth quarter the year before that, too, we had to endure a whole wave of articles about how the economy had underperformed, dropping from 4% growth in 2003 to 3.1%. And the revision said? Um, 3.8% — so it turns out that there essentially was no drop. My bad — or, uh, their bad.
“And yet we get to the fourth quarter this year, and guess what? The knuckleheads of the business media still don’t mention the prospect that there might be revisions. Instead, they pontificate definite conclusions — from a number the might as well be written in lemon ink.
“To prevent this, I have tried everything, threatening everything from damaging certain people’s typing fingers to throwing dirty martinis. Finally, last quarter, I really got mad. I threatened to weave the names of reporters who failed to note the chance of a revision into an insulting limerick. Business Press Maven nation, feed me all you can find. I will be publishing the limerick next week.”
Read more here. I’d prefer a haiku. Or something in iambic pentameter.