THE PLANK JANUARY 26, 2008
Not long ago, TNR's Jon Chait blasted the NYT for reporting John McCain's claim that, "Every time in history we have raised taxes it has cut revenues"--without pointing out that assertion is patently false:
The amazing thing is that New York Times, which printed McCain's quote, made no effort whatsoever to ascertain the truth of his point. Just the typical, "McCain says earth is flat, and meanwhile in other news..." stuff. ... this claim is so obviously false it could have been refuted after maybe thirty seconds of research.
In today's piece on McCain's economic proposals, the NYT is more careful:
On several occasions over the last year, Mr. McCain has said that tax cuts can reduce the deficit by spurring additional activity that, in turn, leads to more taxes being paid. But numerous studies have found that not to be the case.
Lord knows it's difficult to prove causality in these cases, but--based on the two available data points--we cannot totally rule out the possibility that the Times staff lives in fear of one day meeting our TRB columnist in a dark alley.
Of course, even absent that causality it's encouraging to see the papers do a better job fact-checking candidates' claims.