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


 PublicationAuthorCorrectly identifies the important findings of the study?Notes the methodological strengths or weaknesses of the study?Does not improperly extrapolate or interpret the study?
★★★★WSJAnna Wilde MathewsYes – in the lede and the opening paragraphsSubstantial explanation in the middle of the articleCarefully noted the authors’ caution about extrapolation
★★★★SlateRay FismanYes – in various paragraphs across the story; story led with policy contextSubstantial explanation in the middle of the articleSubstantial explanation of limitations in the penultimate paragraph
★★★½Wash PoEzra KleinYes – in detailLeads with the methodology; substantial discussionMentions some limitations, but not fully
★★★½The AtlanticMegan McardleYes, in the middle, after critiquing improper extrapolation by othersDescribes problems with prior studies; great description of “Rorschach effect;” fails to describe the unique methodology of this studyVery careful description of problems extrapolating the study to mortality
★★★NYTDavid LeonhardtYes, with good email quotes from several of the study authorsYes, but did not explain why the lottery methodology was superior; discussed the political backgrounds of the study authors to suggest bipartisanshipFocused on  “health” outcomes in the article without a careful explanation of the authors’ cautionary statements
★★★NYTGina KolataYes – in the lede and the opening paragraphsSubstantial explanation in the middle of the article + brief mention in the ledeDid not note the authors’ caution about extrapolation
★★Think ProgressMatt YglesiasYes, but includes “saves lives” which was not in the studyMentions study design and calls the study “rigorous” but does not tell us whyFails to mention the authors’ caution and improperly extrapolates to mortality
★★CatoMichael F. CannonNo – goal of article is to critique Yglesias’ coverage of the studyNo – does not mention the methodologyCritiques Yglesias’ coverage of the study and tries to prevent (improper) extrapolation
Huffington PostNo bylineYes, brieflyNo mention at allNo mention at all

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