Hooray! New York Times Bans Use of “Record” Unless It’s Adjusted for Inflation

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Someone named Mental Lint tweeted this today: “Well @kdrum will be happy about that.” Excellent! But what exactly will I be happy about? Clicking the mouse to expand the conversation, I see that he’s responding to a tweet from David Leonhardt, the Washington bureau chief for the New York Times. Here is Leonhardt’s tweet:

NYT changes stylebook today to bar uses of “record” or “largest” unless inflation is taken into account.

Be still my beating heart! A second tweet apparently quotes from the new entry in the stylebook:

“This is not statistical quibbling. It is simply not accurate to describe $1,000 in 2013 dollars as “more” money than, say, $900 in 1960…”

Yes! Praise the Lord! My long, lonely1struggle has finally paid off. But this is only a start. The Times hasn’t banned comparisons of nominal figures over time, which can be every bit as deceptive. There are practical reasons for this, since sometimes inflation-adjusted figures aren’t easily available or—more rarely—aren’t appropriate or necessary. But I hope the stylebook at least strongly states a preference for money comparisons over time to be inflation adjusted unless there’s a very good reason not to. And I hope that other newspapers follow the Times’ lead here. It is, so to speak, long past time.

1OK, OK. It wasn’t really all that long. And not really all that lonely, either. Cut me some poetic license slack, here.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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