Now Entering The Ethics Alarms “Bias Makes You Stupid” Hall of Fame: James Hohmann

His bio says that Hohmann is a Stanford University grad and a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, as well as  the author of The Daily 202, the Post’s political newsletter. Here is his recent tweet:

I wonder if he had the same math teachers as Mara Gay and Brian Williams (Item #2)?

The reporter was so eager to mock the President that he concocted a  cheap gotcha! and made himself look foolish. Or maybe not at the Post: this is similar to a lot of the alleged “lies” on the Post’s Trump Lie list, and about as well reasoned: “The President said that he had seen gas selling for 91 cents a gallon, when the average price was $1.94.”

Again I ask, how can the public trust journalists like this to do political analysis? Why would they, unless readers want biased reporting?


Pointer: Instapundit

Aside: A commenter at the Instapundit link above writes,

I may have shared this story on here before, but I remember in my Latin American History course at college, a journalism major raised her hand and asked the following:

“I’ve been doing the reading like you assigned, but there’s one thing I don’t understand. They keep talking about the Andes, but they never say what that is. Are they like some sort of political group?”

True story.
I got more, too.


22 thoughts on “Now Entering The Ethics Alarms “Bias Makes You Stupid” Hall of Fame: James Hohmann

  1. Well, in Rawlins we’re still seeing $2.60 a gallon, which is a little ironic with a refinery just 6 miles away. But using that one data point, the $1.94 a gallon reported by AAA, and just a tiny bit of math analysis, I would suggest that some gas station somewhere has gas prices less than $1.94. By how much, I can’t say…

    As a note, this is why I hate statistics. I understand averages, but averages don’t tell the whole story. The mean, the variance, the standard deviation together tell a bigger picture, but even then, they don’t catch those statistical outliers. And then people abuse statistics to spin whatever tale they want…

    • People using statistics to push an agenda always rely on people not understanding what a numerator is and what denominator is, why they matter, to what degree useful comparisons can be made and what the limitations of knowing them mean.

    • Clearly this is reverse price gouging. I expect the governor of Ohio to step in and put a stop to these outrageously low prices. How dare these stores not grab the money out of our wallets? What is wrong with these people?

      On a related note, at the same time the national average dipped below $2.00 per gallon, I heard that the average price in California was about $3.00 per gallon. Yet another reason never to live there.

      • “The U.S. West is feeling the pinch from refining outages and a jump in ethanol prices due to Midwest floods.”

        And I’d prefer not to live on a flood plain. Each to his own . . . .

  2. After I posted this, I was racking my brain to see if I had been unfair. Was the reporter really saying that Trump’s statement was misrepresenting the state of gas prices by quoting a selective, cheery-picked example, and he was just pointing out that reality was different? No, that’s not what he was doing; assuming that’s what he was doing would also be bias. All of us see the gas prices—it’s not that low (at all) in Virginia. So Trump’s statement is anecdotal, and openly so. Even if the reporter understood what averages mean, he was suggesting that they were necessary to correct a Trump deception, which it wasn’t, and which they were not.

    • Yeah… No. I have to admit when I first say the Tweet, I thought that Hohmann could have been making the point that gas prices weren’t crashing across America… .But while that’s facially possible, I don’t think it even approaches likely.

      Both Hohmann and his publication have spilled an ungodly amount of ink alternating between “Trump lies a lot” and “Everything is awful”, They don’t often say things like “Things aren’t as bad under Trump as they seem, or even he says”. This was an attempt to give the impression that Trump was being dishonest to people who wouldn’t look too hard at the tweet. I suppose when embodying the meme of the sweating Superhero with the two buttons to push, Hohmann chose “Trump is a liar” over “Everything is awful.”

      The other possibility is that he’s an idiot on top of being biased, and that Tweet was in good faith, because he’s just really bad at math. Hohmann is a reporter, with a twitter feed including such riveting intelligentsia as “Poison Ivy is a skin irritant to human, but there’s 60 birds that eat it’s fruit” or pictures of Ling Ling and Li Li (two pandas on loan to an American zoo from China) fucking. (Not even kidding, that’s from the last hour, and it doesn’t get better. Check his feed, it’s Amazingly sad.

  3. Prices here dropped extraordinarily. Then they started giving it away. Soon they hijacked cars and motorcycles driving along and made them accept gas free of charge . . . or die.

    Everything is really getting mixed up!

    Apparently, and as it turns out, the only grounded person on the planet today is the young dictator of N Korea, Kim Jong-un.

    In September of 2019 he had premonitory dreams that foretold these dire events. He went himself to work on a vaccine while in retreat and fasting with Korean shamans. And like Melquiades in One Hundred Years of Solitude, he invoked a vaccine into existence while nearly asphyxiating his self in mercury vapors. This will soon be released to the whole world. I am working on a song to celebrate the event.

    This is as true as you are you and I am me.

    • According to Larry O Connor on WMAL Hohmann has since tweeted that he has been stuck in DC and has not seen any of these lower prices.

      That statement speaks volumes.

      I have no twitter account to verify the above statement because most who have accounts twitter accounts. are twits and nitwits but Larry OConnor is reasonably fair and investigatively thorough.

    • It is still up and the comments are brutal.

      I confess that the controversy on this tweet went over my head. I had to read this post four or five times (on average) before it dawned on me. Seems like Hohman was looking for evidence to support this conclusion that, once again, Trump just lies like a rug.


  4. Unfortunately I live in the once great state of California where the average price of regular unleaded gas is currently $2.96 a gallon. I can get it cheaper at some stations but thanks to our legislature we’re stuck with this.

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