William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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IS THIS REPORTING, OR WHAT? – AT 9:12 A.M. ET:   One of the things journalism too often lacks today is the "cold eye," the experienced eye of editor who will look at a story and say, "There's something wrong here."From the Weekly Standard:

CNN reports that practically all Americans went shopping over "Black Friday" weekend.

A record 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites in the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday weekend this year, up 9% from 226 million last year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation released Sunday," the CNN reports reads. The headline reads: "247 million shoppers visited stores and websites Black Friday weekend."

This would seem to mean, according to these statistics, that basically all Americans over the age of 14 went shopping this past weekend.

There are, according to the 2010 Census, an estimated 308,745,538 folks living in this country. Under the age of 5 years old, there are 20,201,362; between 5-9, there are 20,348,657; and between 10-14, there are 20,677,194.

That means, if you subtract those who are too young to shop, 0-14 year olds, from the total U.S. population, there are 247,518,325 people in this country. The number of people CNN reports who went shopping this past weekend.

So if CNN's statistics are to be believed, that means everyone over 14 went shopping between the Friday after Thanksgiving and the Sunday two days later. That includes 4,371,357 who are between 75-79, 3,110,470 between 80-84, 1,913,317 between 85-89, 830,206 between 90-94, 228,669 between 95-99, and 40,397 over 100.

CNN's numbers, however, include those who visited "websites." The number is so loose it could even include news websites or the same person visiting multiple shopping websites.

COMMENT:  In an earlier era they used to say, "Don't believe everything you read in the newspapers."  Add "everything you see on TV" to that. 

You really have to wonder how much editorial guidance is given in modern journalism, what with budget restraints and a general contempt for disciplined, objective reporting.

If you didn't go shopping over the weekend, please let CNN know.

November 27, 2012