29 September 2010

An Ounce of Gold

Columbia Journalism Review points out that a few organizations failed at basic reporting yesterday; gold rose to $1,306 an ounce, which is a nominal record but not an inflation-adjusted one. In other words, gold isn't really worth a record amount. As CJR reminds us:

When reporting on price changes over long periods of time, you have to account for inflation. It doesn’t make sense not to do that. Otherwise you’re about as valuable as your pops remembering the good old days when a loaf of bread cost 51 cents (which it did in 1980). The value of a dollar has fallen 62 percent since then.

So what newspaper made such a basic mistake? Well, the Wall Street Journal's front page. And the Financial Times. And Bloomberg. Reuters, Associated Press, ABC, Marketwatch, CNN, Fox News... pretty much every single news agency and newswire.

This is just embarrassing for American media.

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