Don’t get too mad about bad economics journalism

Rather than channel my inner, but very real, grumpy old economist, I want to instead reassure you that, yes, the NYT article “Is the entire economy gentrifying?” is as bad, if not worse than you think. I have a duty to link to it, but I’d actually prefer you not click through.

It’s bad in the all the ways that can make you feel crazy and gaslit.

  1. The title is a question even though the entire article is an assertion
  2. The subtitle uses colloquial language to signal condescension and superiority
  3. It makes grievous economic errors that betray the authors broad ignorance of the subject

There’s little doubt that part of why it so blatantaly telegraphs that it’s bad is for the very purpose of pulling in an additional audience of hate-readers. I could grump about the addition of that unnecessary question mark in the title to mitigate any culpability for the meandering anecdote driven assertions that follow. I could whine that describing profits as “fat”, rather than “large”, “growing” or, god forbid, without an adjective at all, let’s us know right away that their story has a villain that you can blame while feeling superior to all the fools who don’t realize they’re being taken advantage of.

I could definitely settle into a cathartic, apoplectic rage at the omission of the G*D D**M MONEY SUPPLY as a potential input into inflation. For such an economic sin they should have to take the train to Paul Krugman’s CUNY office and silently wait in contrition until he shows up to absolve them (pro tip: bring snacks).

I could do any of those things. You probably could, too.

But you shouldn’t. These are professional journalists, but amateur economists, filling column inches in the New York Times. Your sibling might have a marginally worse opinion on the economy tomorrow, but let’s be honest: their opinions were already pretty bad. Just enjoy your week.

One thought on “Don’t get too mad about bad economics journalism

  1. StickerShockTrooper March 6, 2023 / 11:16 am

    Could you tl;dr the argument so we don’t feed the clickbait?


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