Interpreting Facts the Bush Way

Last month's American election saw the two sides throw facts, figures, interpretations, and counter-interpretations at the hapless electorate. It is an old trick: throw enough mud and some of it will stick. Confuse the voters enough, and eventually more will be likely to stay with the horse they know.

Most of the media not controlled by the right wing tried to play the role of honest broker, giving equal weight to each interpretation. If one side said the sky was blue and the other said it was orange, journalists would work hard, for the sake of appearing balanced, to find some academic, even a color blind one, willing to say that the sky was indeed orange.

But is it all just a matter of opinion? Are all interpretations equally valid?

I can answer that question only in my own area expertise, economics. With the election over, the debate itself has much to teach us about economics, economic policy, and media spin.