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I’m pleased to announce the introduction of a new category of posts on RealityChek – which I’ll be calling “Glad I Didn’t Say That!” These items will consist of examples of statements made by prominent American leaders, economists, businessmen, journalists, and others that are flatly contradicted either by readily available facts and/or data – and sometimes even by other statements made by these individuals themselves, or by the governments, companies, universities, news organizations, or other institutions with with they’re associated. Prominent among these will be predictions about policy decisions, like trade agreements, that have been wildly off-base.

In my quarter century (!) of writing about these topics, it’s become clear to me both that such statements and contradictions are not only in massive oversupply, but that the ineptitude they reveal is rarely, if ever, covered. The inevitable result: Individuals and institutions that should enjoy zero credibility on any number of public issues continue to be taken seriously – often with disastrous policy consequences.

In other words, “Glad I Didn’t Say That!” is another effort on RealityChek to introduce the idea of accountability into American policy and politics. And because crowd-sourcing is such an effective and exciting new way to share information and accomplish important goals, I invite all eagle-eye readers to send me any examples you believe deserve highlighting. One tip: the simpler and more straightforward, the better!

And here’s the first in this new series – which also shows the format I’ll be using. Revealingly, it comes from the same newspaper – on the same day!

China Has Made Strides in Addressing Air Pollution, Environmentalist Says”

–The New York Times, December 16, 2016

Beijing, Bracing for 5 Days of Heavy Pollution, Issues Red Alert”

–The New York Times, December 16, 2016

(Sources: “China Has Made Strides in Addressing Air Pollution, Environmentalist Says,” by Didi Kirsten Tatlow, The New York Times, December 16, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/16/world/asia/china-air-pollution-ma-jun.html and “Beijing, Bracing for 5 Days of Heavy Pollution, Issues Red Alert,” by Jane Perlez, ibid., http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/16/world/asia/beijing-air-pollution.html?_r=0)