Rating media coverage of the Oregon Health Study

I’m back from vacation and just trying to keep everyone honest. Or pick a fight. To avoid conflicts of interest, I won’t rate Aaron and Austin’s coverage. But you can in the comments.

UPDATED to add Leonhardt’s NYT article, h/t to Dennis in the comments

 

  Publication Author Correctly identifies the important findings of the study? Notes the methodological strengths or weaknesses of the study? Does not improperly extrapolate or interpret the study?
★★★★ WSJ Anna Wilde Mathews Yes – in the lede and the opening paragraphs Substantial explanation in the middle of the article Carefully noted the authors’ caution about extrapolation
★★★★ Slate Ray Fisman Yes – in various paragraphs across the story; story led with policy context Substantial explanation in the middle of the article Substantial explanation of limitations in the penultimate paragraph
★★★½ Wash Po Ezra Klein Yes – in detail Leads with the methodology; substantial discussion Mentions some limitations, but not fully
★★★½ The Atlantic Megan Mcardle Yes, in the middle, after critiquing improper extrapolation by others Describes problems with prior studies; great description of “Rorschach effect;” fails to describe the unique methodology of this study Very careful description of problems extrapolating the study to mortality
★★★ NYT David Leonhardt Yes, with good email quotes from several of the study authors Yes, but did not explain why the lottery methodology was superior; discussed the political backgrounds of the study authors to suggest bipartisanship Focused on  “health” outcomes in the article without a careful explanation of the authors’ cautionary statements
★★★ NYT Gina Kolata Yes – in the lede and the opening paragraphs Substantial explanation in the middle of the article + brief mention in the lede Did not note the authors’ caution about extrapolation
★★ Think Progress Matt Yglesias Yes, but includes “saves lives” which was not in the study Mentions study design and calls the study “rigorous” but does not tell us why Fails to mention the authors’ caution and improperly extrapolates to mortality
★★ Cato Michael F. Cannon No – goal of article is to critique Yglesias’ coverage of the study No – does not mention the methodology Critiques Yglesias’ coverage of the study and tries to prevent (improper) extrapolation
Huffington Post No byline Yes, briefly No mention at all No mention at all


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