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Two Corrections from Jack Beatty

Our news analyst Jack Beatty sent along this note with two corrections on some figures he cited on last Friday's "Week in the News" show:

Several listeners raised questions about some figures I cited in Friday's "Week in the News" show. Illustrating the unexceptionable point that many of the members of Congress who voted on the tax package compromise last week were cutting their own taxes, I said that the median income of House members was $911,000 and that of Senators $2.3 million.

I managed to make two errors in as many words.

First, relying on a December 12th op-ed piece in the LA Times, "Politics in America: Only the Rich Need Apply" by Andrew Trees, author of The Founding Fathers and The Politics of Character, I referred to the "median income" of members of Congress. That is the language Trees used in summarizing the study from the Center for Responsive Politics containing these figures. However, as pointed out in a "For the Record" editor's note reprinted in the Times after Trees's article appeared, Trees said "median income" when he should have said "median wealth."

Second, I misstated the median wealth of House members. It is $765,010, not $911,000, the figure I gave. $911,510 is the median wealth of ALL members of Congress, which includes the median wealth of Senators, $2.3 million, a figure I stated correctly. I should have checked Trees against the Center for Responsive Politics Study, which would have revealed the mistake of using income instead of wealth. And I should not have relied on the notes I made on Trees' s article. If I had clipped the article, I would have seen that the $911,000 figure was for both houses of Congress, not just the House.

I regret these errors and thank the listeners who suspected me of them for listening so carefully.

This program aired on December 20, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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