Tuesday, August 17, 2010

China surges past Japan as No. 2 economy; US next?

Half the story is missing from this AP feature, carried on 5A in the print edition. The editors loved the headline, which they slugged at the top of 1A, no doubt for its sensational effect. In the part the editors left out, Chinese officials admit that this supposed milestone is nothing to crow about, because it means that on a per-capita basis China's people are on average now one-tenth as wealthy as the average Japanese.

This gives us a chance to ponder on how insignificant facts can be processed into scary fantasies.

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