FRIDAY, JANUARY 8, 2021
The culture of accurate statement: Jake Tapper has done it again. Yesterday, late in the four o'clock hour, he excitingly told viewers this:
TAPPER (1/7/21): Our thanks to CNN's Elle Reeve, with that firsthand look at the assault perpetrated by the MAGA terrorists on the heart of American democracy. As you heard, many of those that stormed the Capitol did so motivated by all kinds of false beliefs, including conspiracy theories. Yet another considerable challenge facing America in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.
And let us not forget, the horror that unfolded yesterday took place on one of the darkest days of the pandemic. The U.S. now nearing a daily average of 4,000 dead Americans every day. Hospitals across the country are overrun, and despite the ones promising silver lining of this vaccine, distribution issues continue to plague the entire nation, and they are proving that this pandemic is far from over, as CNN's Erica Hill reports.
Jake assailed the terrorists' "false beliefs," then authored one of his own.
"The U.S. [is] now nearing a daily average of 4,000 dead Americans every day," he said, referring to Covid deaths. But as Tapper made this gloomy statement, the Washington Post and the New York Times were reporting these seven-day averages:
Covid deaths per day, 7-day rolling average, through January 6:
The New York Times: 2,687
The Washington Post: 2,678
There's no perfect measure of daily deaths. But there's also no sign that the United States is experiencing anything like four thousand Covid deaths per day—at least, not at this point.
Tapper just won't stop doing this. In fact, was the United States really "nearing a daily average of 4,000 dead Americans every day" as the CNN tyro spoke?
Below, you see daily reported deaths as tabulated by the Washington Post for the previous eight days as Tapper spoke. We'll let you be the judge of Tapper's exciting statement:
Reported Covid deaths each day:
December 30: 3,862
December 31: 3,321
January 1: 2,620
January 2: 2,353
January 3: 1,453
January 4: 1,609
January 5: 3,478
January 6: 3,915
On January 6, for that one day, the Post did list almost four thousand reported deaths. But two and three days earlier, the number of reported deaths had been roughly 1,500 each day.
We've explained this bone-simple point about a million times. Anyone who has ever looked at any Covid data set will recognize this pattern, in which reported deaths drop over the weekend, with the reporting backlog made up on subsequent weekdays.
(Holiday weekends tend to exaggerate the reporting delays.)
Has Tapper ever looked at any data set? If so, he's seen this familiar pattern. But as he spoke yesterday afternoon, there was exactly zero reason to make his exciting claim.
As Tapper spoke, the seven-day average was well under three thousand. He bumped it up almost to four. In fairness, though, there's a reason for this type of performance:
Within our multimillionaire press corps, there is amazingly little allegiance to the culture of accurate statement. When it comes to accurate statement, these titans simply don't care.
The children work from Storyline, the more exciting the better. This is the way we humans work. According to major anthropologists, this is the way we are.
Too perfect! Jake savaged the terrorists' false beliefs, then advanced one of his own!
This is what we humans are like, according to major top experts. For this reason, long ago, we called it The Daily Howler.