Update, Correction, and (gulp) Apology:
As Megan McArdle notes below — very mildly, I’d add, given the provocation — there is a material error in this post, right there in the first line below this correction.
I said “She actually writes…” when, as she says, she did not. The quoted lines below are from the Post itself. McArdle was quoting the Post’s ombudman, Andrew Alexander.
Whatever one may think of the context of McArdle’s celebration of the Post’s errors, what I wrote was wrong, and I apologize to Ms. McArdle for the error.
Did that hurt to write? Yes it did. But it is necessary. Live by the snark, die by it, on occasion.
So Megan McArdle actually goes there. In a post titled “Department of Awful Statistics,” she busts on the Washington Post for its presumed tropism toward arithmetical mistakes. She actually writes
I regularly hear complaints that numbers in Post stories don’t add up.
…Many [errors] are inexplicable, such as last Tuesday’s A-section story that said new industry-wide health-care rules, “will affect about 180 Americans with private insurance” (it should have been 180 million).
This, from the woman who infamously mistook $250 for $25, and then proceeded to build an entire argument on why we shouldn’t bother allowing taxes on the rich to return to Clinton-era levels. (Don’t worry — that link leads to the most excellent Susan of Texas’s blog*, in which Ms. McArdle is (metaphorically) gutted like a Grand Banks cod and left to dry on the margin.)
Sometimes one fumes at the egregious “work” (sic–ed.) of the Atlantic’s Business and Economics Editor. Sometimes one rages. Here, it’s just a snort and a chortle.
A kinder person would simply avert one’s gaze and pass by in silence.
Me — I gotta laugh…and put put the boot in. Whereof that which is miscounted, those who cannot count must remain silent.
*I should note that Susan got there first with this snark too, but then she always does. And hell — I come by the post honestly, having tracked McArdle down — with wonder — from the link at Ta-Nehisi Coates’ fabulous post on The Sons of Confederate Veterans celebration of slavery and the Times‘ miserable coverage of same.
Image: Nicolas Neufchâtel, ” The Schoolmaster Johann Neudörffer and a Student,” 1561.