More bad news for anyone who puts much stock in the truth-telling abilities of the OMB. TPM regulars will remember the controversy over an inaccurate statistic in a recent OMB press release, and the resulting brouhaha involving Messrs. Krugman, Kaus and, I suppose, TPM.
On Tuesday I questioned whether even the follow-up letter from the OMB — the one calling Krugman to task — may have contained some inaccuracies or falsehoods. Now Brendan Nyhan of Spinsanity/Salon has the goods.
The complaining letter to the Times itself contained a statistical inaccuracy. More damningly though, the claim that the original inaccurate data had been “retracted weeks ago” turns out to be utterly bogus. And in this case, unlike the others, this is clearly a fudge or a lie, not a slip-up.
When OMB Communications Director Trent Duffy wrote the Times he said the error had been corrected “weeks ago” to underscore the sheer extent of Krugman’s irresponsibility and tendentiousness. On Tuesday I said this sounded very unlikely. And yesterday Nyhan got Duffy to admit that OMB had only erased the false number from the document on July 26th, after the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities publicly called them on the error, a mere five days earlier. And they didn’t issue an actual retraction until last night, after Nyhan called them on the error about the error.
Live by the honesty card, die by the honesty card.