New York Times does it again:
On November 3, 1948, the Chicago Daily Tribune made itself eternally famous.

It did so by bungling a front-page headline. DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN, the famous headline said.

This morning, the New York Times decided to get in the act. When we arrived at the coffee joint, we scanned the front page of our hard-copy Times. Above the featured front-page report, here's what the headlines said:
Regains Control of Race for G.O.P.—
Clinton and Sanders in Tight Race
You can't blame reporters Healy and Haberman for the bungled last line of that headline. Nothing in their early-edition news report explains where that premature, inaccurate statement came from.

Presumably, some editor got a snootful, then took things from there. As a result, Candidate Dewey only tied Truman this time.

Candidate Sanders may win next week. Meanwhile, we thought the Times made up for its front-page error with a news report in the National section, a news report about life expectancy in the United States.

The report was written by Sabrina Tavernise; it included some eye-catching data. As we started our reading, these first samples caught our eye:
TAVERNISE (4/20/16): The new federal data, drawn from all deaths recorded in the country in 2014, showed that life expectancy for whites dropped to 78.8 years in 2014 from 78.9 in 2013.


In contrast, life expectancy for blacks rose to 75.6 in 2014 from 75.5 in the previous year.
"Those numbers have really been jumping around," we skillfully said to the analysts. Worried by what we were reading, we sat up straight in our chairs.

Before long, the Times was trying to "talk us down" by providing a bit of perspective. To us, it felt like one of one of those phony "trend stories" the Times just loves to make up:
TAVERNISE: Typically, most of the deaths in the country occur among people in their 60s or older. Deaths in people who are younger or middle age are relatively rare...
On its face, it seemed to make sense, but we weren't entirely sure. The word "typically" raised warning flags, especially followed by "most of."

Could Tavernise be up to some tricks? "Run a fact-check on those numbers," we flawlessly barked at the analysts. By now, this sort of thing is second nature for us.

Truman died at 88, Dewey at 68. To this point, that's all the analysts have been able to tell us.

Those data seem to support the Times' supposition, one analyst self-importantly said. We're having his claim double-checked. It's just what we do around here.

For ourselves, we've never trusted anyone over 30. That was always Bob Dylan's key point. If you simply withhold your trust, there's a good chance you'll never get hurt.


  1. Couple of things, Bob.

    First, the Times head merely says "Clinton and Sanders in tight race."

    To which you stretch first in your headline, all caps, into "SANDERS TIES CLINTON IN NEW YORK."

    And that stretch not quite enough, you further add "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN" for good measure.

    And here all this time, you've been preaching about what a mortal sin it is to embellish.

    Want to know a simpler explanation for that unfortunate headline?

    The polls close around 9 p.m. The networks didn't call that race until around 10.

    In order to distribute coast to coast, the NY Times contracts with printing plants all over the nation to send them the product electronically and get it on the presses.

    This includes some plant in Baltimore, so you can have that morning's edition with your morning coffee.

    So just perhaps, the deadline in Baltimore (also EDT) was looming before the race could be determined with any degree of accuracy. And rushing before the results can be known are what gives you the DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN faceplants.

    Now while their headline was unfortunate in your perfect 20/20 hindsight with the results known as you leisurely sipped your coffee, perhaps it wasn't so inaccurate when the deadline was looming.

    So did it get quickly corrected in subsequent editions? We don't know because you won't tell us because you don't want to know. Fits your narrative perfectly: Don't trust the NY Times to get anything right.

    The second thing: 78.9 to 78.8 is a drop. 75.5 to 75.6 is a rise. Except in Bob World, where even that has to be mocked to fit the preferred narrative.

    1. You think it is OK for a major newspaper to print an inaccurate headline simply because it didn't have the facts until after deadline? It could have said something neutral instead of something so blatantly false.

      Second, the changes in life expectancy stats are trivial and not any "trend" worthy of analysis.

      Third, even before the primary Sanders was so far behind Clinton that the odds of him catching her are 97% against it. The race is not close, not tied, not tight, not anything except a runaway victory for Clinton. She is beating Obama's margins for 2008 in a race that was much tighter (and never acknowledged as close). The polling averages showed her ahead by 15 percentage points before the voting began. The exit polls showed her running away with the primary. If they wanted to estimate, they could have said she was "ahead" with full certainty of being right. Their headline was ludicrous and nothing justifies it except an ongoing bias against Clinton.

      Then I have to ask why you don't know this. Do you not understand the math behind the delegate counts? Clinton's lead over Bernie widened so much that he must win all of his next primaries by double digits. And he is not the projected winner at all in most of them. He cannot win at this point and couldn't while Clinton remained in the race even before the NY primary. This is obvious to anyone grounded in reality. Bernie has NO path to victory. So the headline was not just wrong, it had no possibility of being right from the moment it popped into the author's head.

    2. Well, I believe the headline was about the NY primary, not the overall race which makes you look both silly and disingenuous to bring it up. Pretty stupid attempt to deflect.

      Secondly, while the Times headline turned out to be inaccurate, is it really anywhere near the level of DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN?

      Of course it is to a loyal Somerby puppy who runs to the board to lap up whatever his master vomits.

      Interesting how Somerby's panties got in a wad because Maddow spent so much time on Phyllis Schafly, which he determined wasn't important because it wasn't covered sufficiently in the Post or Times.

      And this wasn't even a headline. It was a subhead to the TRUMP LANDSLIDE headline.

      Funny how things take on such importance when we've got a narrative -- and other things -- to feed our puppy dogs.

    3. "You think it is OK for a major newspaper to print an inaccurate headline simply because it didn't have the facts until after deadline?"

      I think it's quite responsible for a major newspaper not to declare the winner before they know for certain who the winner is.

      You apparently believe in Bob's "crystal ball" theory -- that they should have known all along what Bob knew the next morning.

    4. They didn't have to say anything about the outcome at all. Or they could have said "Polls predict Clinton victory" or some such. Instead they lied and printed something that could never have been true.

    5. Yeah, they could have ignored the outcome of an election held in their own state. Or they could have run a stale old headline they could have run for two weeks.

      Instead, they dared to describe a race they couldn't call yet "tight" and Bob and his sheep are crying "Journalistic Crime of the Century."

      Until the next time they strain to find the next "Journalistic Crime of the Century" to blame on the New York Times.

    6. The race wasn't tight, the polls weren't tight and there was no prediction it would be tight. They slanted toward Bernie because that is their policy, their bias.

    7. irish, I am the captain now. Your post is ludicrous. 3:11 is correct, the NY Times clearly showed their bias with that ridiculous headline. Your provided excuse is risible. Also the change in life expectancy is trivial. While the NY Times took care to feature a trivial differential, they were carelessly inaccurate on a difference of significance. Clownish work by the NY Times.

  2. "For ourselves, we've never trusted anyone over 30. That was always Bob Dylan's key point."

    Except Bob Dylan never said that.

    1. "If you simply withhold your trust, there's a good chance you'll never get hurt."

      Well, that explains a lot. What a sad, lonely, bitter person you must be.

    2. And he couldn't have meant it without actually saying those exact words?

      Excessive literalism is a symptom of mental illness or brain injury.

    3. Right. Dylan never said it, but he must have meant it because Somerby says so. And you always believe everything Somerby tells you because if you didn't, who would do your thinking for you?

    4. Excessive hero worship at the cost of utter disregard for the truth is a symptom of what?

      A six-year-old mind?

    5. An imaginary analyst!

      Or sadly someone claiming a teaching post in a behavioral science.

    6. He could be a mind-reader. After all, he knows what Dylan meant without Dylan ever having to bother to say it.

    7. I've heard every Dylan song over and over and Somerby's characterization is entirely consistent with his early songs of that time period.

      "Because something is happening here
      But you don’t know what it is
      Do you, Mister Jones?"

      I suppose Dylan never said that. And if he did, he was just describing how someone named Mr. Jones doesn't know what is happening.

    8. Here's your problem though, as you strain to find lyrics that "prove" Dyland mighta sorta said something like something he never said.

      "Don't trust anyone over 30" is an actual statement that was actually said. But not by Bob Dylan. It was said by Jack Weinberg, a leader of the Berkeley Free Speech movement,

      But since few people remember Weinberg, we gotta find aother '60s icon to misattribute it to.

      And that has often been Dylan. And George Carlin, at time, who also gets a lot of things he never said misattributed to him.

      But could Bob Somerby care about such details as accuracy? Of course not. Why should he?

      He's got willing sheep ready to look up old Dylan lyrics and pretend they almost, kinda, sorta say the same thing if you click your heels three times and squint your eyes real hard.

      Therefore, Somerby once again get a pass from his rubes for failing to apply to himself the same standards of absolute accuracy he applies to others, because he's too damn lazy to look it up and double-check before he runs off at the computer keyboard.

    9. It was the catchphrase of a generation. It doesn't matter who said it first. The sentiment was widespread. If you don't understand that, you weren't there.

    10. Earlene WittgensteinApril 20, 2016 at 11:40 PM

      I wonder what would happen if lightening hit both of you at the train station.

    11. @ 10:07 PM - keep digging.

  3. My pro-Bernie friends are saying no such headline was ever printed; that it's something made up by Hillary's friends.

    I wish you could have scanned it. But then, they'd say the scan is a fake too.

  4. TAVERNISE: Typically, most of the deaths in the country occur among people in their 60s or older. Deaths in people who are younger or middle age are relatively rare...

    With this amazing level of insight, Tavernise could put us actuaries out of business. ;)

    1. I always thought you were retired and living among the swells like Jack Welch on Cape Cod.

  5. It was a tight race: up in the Finger Lakes.

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  7. Interesting. Bob does a post slamming the New York Times but cannot provide a link. But somehow a comment noting that fact manages to disapear.

  8. I managed to cut and paste the actual Times headlines I get from my online subscription.


    Crucial Victories for Both Front-Runners
    in Home-State Primaries

    Then there was the article immediately below:

    Democratic Primary Triumph
    Is a Story of Love Rekindled

    To paraphrase the deceptive and perpetually piddle plagued Bob Somerby:

    For ourselves, we know what happened in the Times headlines. In large part, we know what happened in the Times because we've read it instead of the dishonest posts of Bob Somerby and the whining comments claiming bias from his readers.

  9. "I managed to cut and paste the actual Times headlines I get from my online subscription."<

    Which is a totally different thing than what Bob cited.

    Sure, the Times cleans up its messes sometimes after a Clinton smear. Sometimes it even acknowledges its "corrections."

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