Powered by TypePad

« Wood Burns! | Main | He's No Dope »

April 03, 2009



. . . . . . woeful Boston Globe article that mislead so many of our . . . .


Sorry. Mum's English. Can't help it.


So Mr. Chittum couldn't tell from the Globe 'coverage" what PBGC was already doing, he couldn't tell what they had done in the past, and he couldn't tell whether the new plan had been implemented. Excellent!

Other than what he couldn't tell, everything was Superb. I think his position at the " Columbia Journalism Review"
would be a good place to implement Salary Controls. His should be set at Minimum wage.

Cecil Turner

Good thing they "unloosed" that dog that wouldn't hunt, eh?

Aside from the obvious (i.e., holding "accountable" the previous administration, whilst ignoring the current one), this is a pretty good example of why I don't read newspapers much anymore. Half of them are fluff Democrat cheerleading, the other half are just wrong. If it's worth reading, someone will have a pointer to it online.

And CJR as a watchdog? Puh-leeze. Check this frothing at the mouth by "staff writer" Megan Garber over Fox Nation . . . I wonder if she can see the teensiest possibility that her over-the-top railing at Fox's bias might be exposing some of her own? Naaah. Couldn't be. Self-parody . . . it's the richest kind.


My thoughts about newspapers to a T, Cecil. It takes more time to undo the false facts garnered from them than it's worth.

Thomas Collins

I am having a fun time with Jane and Caro. I hope Mark Steyn is late so I can continue to have these wonderful women to myself.


I think hes going to be veryyyy late, TC. I'd go on without him were I you.

hit and run

TC, have Caro take a pic of her and Jane holding a sign reading, "Thomas Collins won"

You deserve it.



Words have no meaning, except when they do.


The "Columbia Journalism Review" has not crossed my desk for years by design. AJR isn't trustworthy either.

Worse than that they don't understand what's going on, is that they don't care to understand.

And the deans of the major schools of journalism are cut from the same mold. I wrote to five deans to suggest that there might be a more useful way to look at journalism's shortcomings. Nothing. I asked for a critique of my critique and dead silence reigns.

I do hear from J-schools appeals for funds to support their programs. Like hell!


I should say that I don't believe that the CJR is directly associated with the J-School. It just seems that way, and they wouldn't disabuse you of it too vociferously if they felt it gave them more street cred.

Fresh Air


The major problem with J-schools is not their biased students. In my experience, the bias was already there, or it got baked in after graduation.

The biggest problem is that while they do teach the five Ws, an overwhelming percentage of scribblers have no training in: logic and reason; math; science; statistics; business; law; chemistry; forensics; or accounting.

The general assignment reporter is already a dinosaur, but the compare-and-contrast that one can do on a daily basis with actual subject-matter experts on the Internet shows how embarrassingly large the gap really is. Even worse (if that's possible) is how the supposed subject-matter experts like, say, Gretchen Morgenson or Paul Krugman get the basics of their alleged fields of inquiry wrong routinely.


I know it's off thread, but McCain is a little miffed that all his efforts at immigration reform, were rebuffed by those
who would have benefited from it, he
basically told em don't expect my help, take it up with Obama.


As TM's unpaid research assistant on much of this, let me lay bare the tough research I had to do to find the October 24 hearing transcript.

1. I went to the PBGC website( -- the part of it that says "Press"

2. I looked backward a few months -- saw there was on the website the PBGC head's prepared testimony. I noted the date.

3. I used google to find the education and labor committee's website.

4. I went to "hearing transcripts". Then scolled down to "October 24")

Time spent -- 12 minutes. All this done while I was multitasking...All this done without a j degree. (I do find most reporting on pension issues to be contemptably sloppy -- don by people who know so little that they don't know what they don't know.)

Strawman Cometh

All this Steyn talk, but I haven't seen it mentioned that he will on Cavuto this afternoon.



Rasmussen has the Presidential approval index at +3 today, Obama's lowest number to date. It went up inexplicably to +11 earlier this week and is now rapidly falling.

Rasmussen: Presidential Approval Index +3

So far the razzle dazzle in Europe isn't helping him back at home.


The factor that makes it "superb" is that not one of those guys acknowledged their error or corrected their reporting. That takes something special.

Thomas Collins

The adult beverages are flowing . . . .



Sorry. Mum's English. Can't help it.

Hmm, I don't think SpellCheck means what I think it means...


As TM's unpaid research assistant on much of this...

Well, I couldn't possibly pay you enough. "Invaluable" comes to mind.


As Taranto has repeatedly explained, "accountability journalism" is not concerned with factual accuracy, but serves the purpose of telling the benighted what they are supposed to think.

I believe that the whole purpose of this story line is to lodge in the minds of the general populace that Bush and the evil capitalist Republicans threw away all the pension funds. Mission accomplished. This myth will now, Katrina-like, become part of the unchallengeable collective wisdom. In six months Peggy Noonan will be lecturing us about it as another instance of the conservatives squandering whatever moral high ground they might have once had to challenge Obama's takeover of the fund and the nationalization of 401-k plans. Or whatever mischief they have in mind.


Not even a retention bonus, TM?

Rick Ballard

"As to the PBGC strategy, I can rationalize it, although I am not sure I subscribe to it."

The CALPERS losses suggest that a more diversified portfolio is no guarantee that performance will hold up in a real downturn.

PBGC has outperformed both CALPERS and the Harvard endowment. The "superb" reporting somehow missed those facts as well. I wonder what the reporting will look like when the NYT BKs? Probably with paragraph with a casual reference to a "minor financial setback".


The WaPo poll about who people blame for the financial meltdown dispirits me--I do not see how we can penetrate the media induced fog, Rick.

The PBGC make believe story is now a given.


The Ohio "rare coins collection" strategy for pension investment makes more sense every day.

Thomas Collins

Jane- hiccup



The JOM women are tired. I think I've worn them out!


All this Steyn talk, but I haven't seen it mentioned that he will on Cavuto this afternoon.

He came here instead. A lovely time was had by all.


Ryan Chittum

Hi, Tom,
Sorry, I've never taken a class at the Columbia J-school and I don't work there. U. of Oklahoma will have to claim me.
Also to one of your commenters: I'm guessing that PBGC outperformed Calpers and Harvard precisely because it had a more-conservative investment approach (more bonds, less stock) than they did.

I'm cross-posting my response to Tom's comment at CJR.

Tom, I still think it's a good story.

I think what misdirected readers, including myself, to think the shift into stocks already happened was the headline and some language that could've been clearer in a couple of graphs. But the story clearly says the reporter doesn't know how much of it has been implemented. This is the third paragraph (emphases mine):

The agency refused to say how much of the new investment strategy has been implemented or how the fund has fared during the downturn. The agency would only say that its fund was down 6.5 percent - and all of its stock-related investments were down 23 percent - as of last Sept. 30, the end of its fiscal year. But that was before most of the recent stock market decline and just before the investment switch was scheduled to begin in earnest.

Also, Millard's testimony was on October 24. That's coming up on six months ago. PBGC had been laying the groundwork to shift investments that year. We still don't know how much has been put into stocks since then. But note the "scheduled to begin in earnest" line. That's a flag that says the shift into stocks hadn't happened yet but that the reporter has information that it may have since begun.

Some parts of the Globe story could have been phrased better, but the core issue in the story is that the PBGC is drastically upping the risk in its portfolio (something Millard for some reason denies) by gambling on equities.

That's what really matters here.

Cecil Turner

Tom, I still think it's a good story.

Why? Because it was so informative and compelling (even though practically everyone who read it came away with wrong impressions)? Because it "clearly states" the reporter didn't bother to do basic research? Or because it's a Bush basher? Or . . .?

Dale Denton

Some parts of the Globe story could have been phrased better, but the core issue in the story is that the PBGC is drastically upping the risk in its portfolio (something Millard for some reason denies) by gambling on equities.

That's what really matters here.

What a maroon... he clearly likes the implication of the story and not the actual facts of the situation.

Wait, I thought Obama was saying this was a great time to invest in equities.


"I still think it's a good story.....But the story clearly says the reporter doesn't know how much of it has been implemented"

Within two sentences, self pwned. What's the story without implemntation? PBGC figures they're going to get stuck with Auto pensions soon and they looked to improve their returns by increasing their stock percentage? Can you say dog bites man?

The comments to this entry are closed.