You'll note that in the lead story, "States face deficits as stimulus dries up," they have a graphic of the budgets of Midwest states.
According to the credit on the graphic, the data is from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which the paper describes as "a Washington think tank."
They're really a liberal group that pushes for more federal spending for social programs, as their website explains.
Interestingly, the description of the Tax Foundation, which is also quoted in the story is: "The conservative Tax Foundation,..." However, their web page actually gives instructions for how journalists should refer to them:
How Should Journalists Describe Us?
The Tax Foundation is a nonpartisan tax research group based in Washington, D.C.
The bias of The Blade in failing to describe a liberal think tank as 'liberal' is not a surprise to regular readers. But calling another group 'conservative' in spite of their instructions on how to be described is an error the reporter should not make and the editors should not allow.
But I digress.
The real issue in this post is an even more blatant error in the above graphic - figures that don't add up.
You'll note that the chart shows, for various states, the 2011 budget, the projected 2012 shortfall/deficit and the percentage of the budget that deficit represents.
But it incorrectly calculates the Michigan percentage. A $1.8 billion deficit is 21.7% of an $8.3 billion budget.
The article also states:
"Michigan's new governor, Rick Snyder, announced in his state of the state speech on Jan. 19 that he would seek to eliminate the "job-killing" Michigan Business Tax that generates a hefty $2.2 billion a year for Michigan's tax coffers and replace it with a 6 percent corporate income tax.
What that means for the state's $1.8 billion shortfall is not yet known. On paper, at least, Michigan's budget is in better shape than Ohio's because it has a deficit of 8.6 percent of its 2011 budget."
(Note, again, the clear bias by putting 'job-killing' in quotes and referring to the tax revenue as 'hefty'...)
But the story and the graphic cannot both be correct.
If the $1.8 billion deficit is 8.6% of their 2011 budget, the 2011 budget would have to be $20.9 billion - not the $8.3 billion listed on the graphic.
If the $8.3 billion budget number is correct, then the deficit is actually 21.7%, much worse than Ohio's 14%.
Over the weekend, I attended the Western Regional RightOnLine conference - an Americans for Prosperity training session for on-line activists. Throughout the sessions, the speakers emphasized the value of citizen journalists - individuals who serve as a check and balance on the increasingly unreliable and biased main stream media.
Thank you, Toledo Blade, for so quickly providing me with a perfect example to share with my fellow bloggers.