The War Between Data and Storytelling

Kevin Drum makes a great point at Mother Jones:

But for some reason, what really struck me today was the way that both Brooks and Krugman play to type. Krugman the liberal is all about the data: he hauls out charts, models, “signatures,” and international comparisons. Brooks, by contrast, barely admits that data even bears on this question. He’s all about telling a plausible story: the chickens of globalization, failing education, high federal debt, and political sclerosis have finally come home to roost, so what do you expect? Of course the economy is in tatters.

You see this play out on TV too. Conservatives tell a story, and Krugman then explains impatiently that the data simply doesn’t back up what they’re saying. Every week it plays out the same way. It’s like a kabuki show.

The War Between Data and Storytelling