To those who follow the news fairly closely and look at underlying reports, CNN's email alerts are sometimes entertaining. Much less frequently are the accurate and informative.
Even though they tend not to realize it, those who don't follow the news closely and attempt to stay informed by relying on CNN's alerts are regularly deceived by the network that used to call itself "the most trusted name in news."
An example of such deception arrived in my e-mail box yesterday:
This is what CNN called a "surge" (source):
For the record, the pathetic total of 22,000 homes actually sold in December was a tiny, incremental improvement over November, which was the worst single month in the 48 years the Census Bureau has been tracking these things. December's total was still the worst December on record (the previous worst December was in 1966). 2010 as a whole was the worst year for new home sales, even before adjustment for population increases, since World War II.
Although I can see how a 2,000-unit increase in monthly sales can create the increase noted after seasonal adjustment, calling the worst December in the 48 years of Census Bureau recordkeeping a "surge" is ridiculous, as is not telling readers that the figure is seasonally adjusted. "Dead cat bounce" might be a more accurate description.
If the surge in Iraq had worked like this, our soldiers would have been flying white flags of surrender several years ago.
Relatively disengaged CNN email alert readers will have no idea of the realities stated in this post. That's not an accident.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.