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So that's GDP growth over the course of different presidents' terms. This is, obviously, a very crude method by which to judge a president's economic performance. But surely this sort of thing ought to stop a New York Times reporter from writing that Bush "has spent years presiding over an economic climate of growth that would be the envy of most presidents."

See also Dean Baker and Ezra Klein. That a newspaper would let a demonstrably false assertion into its news pages is no longer surprising, but it is telling that this apparently didn't "sound wrong" to anyone charged with editing the piece. If you'd submitted something about "Manhattan real estate has been in the doldroms throughout Mr. Bush's two terms" presumably an editor would have noticed that this seemed wrong. By say that it's been a historically good economy, and the Times thinks that scans just fine.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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