Audit Notes: Foreclosure Scandal, Gold Still Not a Record, Facebook Ads : CJR: "Steel yourselves, business journalists. You’re going to be covering foreclosuregate for years.
— It’s good to see somebody like David Leonhardt call out the press for getting it very wrong on the “record” price of gold that’s not, in fact, a record:
“Gold sets record high amid economic fears,” The Associated Press recently wrote. “Gold surges to record high,” CNN said. Gold closed Monday “at a record $1,402.80 per troy ounce,” the front page of The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
It’s a good story. Unfortunately, it’s not true, at least not in any meaningful sense.
Gold is at a record only if you fail to adjust for inflation. And you should almost always adjust for inflation. Otherwise, you end up with a series of meaningless records — Gold reaches record high! Oil reaches record high! Lettuce reaches record high! — that depend on the fact that a dollar in 2010 does not have the same value as a dollar did in, say, 1980."