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It's all in your heads

The New Republic once amused readers, or at least this reader, by running the contradictory headlines that appeared over different newspapers' reports on the same events.The practice deserves revival. Here's today's nominee:Solid Results At 2 Banks Bode Well For IndustryBy Nelson D. Schwartz and Ben ProtessRevenue is back. ... two of the nation's largest lenders, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, reported strong revenue growth on Friday, a surprise that could bode well for the rest of the industry and the broader economy. ...The New York Times, April 14, Business Day, p. B1Bank Earnings Worry InvestorsBy Dan FitzpatrickTwo of the nation's largest banks released first-quarter results on Friday that disappointed investors, underlining the industry's struggles with a sluggish economic recovery and the long hangover from the financial crisis. ...The Wall Street Journal, April 14-15, p. A1

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Unreal. What is it they say about statistics!!

Glad to see I'm in good company in reading both!

It's perfectly normal, it's an election year. Which scenario helps the incumbent?

They're both true, of course. The house is both beautiful and structurally unsound. It's amusing in the way the little journalistic accidents the New Yorker used to make space for at the end of full-length stories were amusing. But they've eliminated those. Too subtle for the modern speed reader.

David Smith, not that it's at all relevant, but The New Yorker still publishes those little blurbs all the time. I know distaste for contemporary culture is your shtick, but do you need to make things up to be disgusted about?

Mollie Wilson O'Reilly 04/15/2012 - 1:26 pm contributorDavid Smith, not that its at all relevant, but The New Yorker still publishes those little blurbs all the time. I know distaste for contemporary culture is your shtick, but do you need to make things up to be disgusted about?

Mollie, why be personal? Did my grandfather do something unpleasant to your grandfather that you feel obliged to get back at me for?I read the New Yorker on the iPad, so I thought you might be correct - that they still print those things in the paper magazine. But I just now checked our paper copy of the 9 April 2012 issue cover to cover and didn't find a single instance.I won't attempt to disabuse you of the notion that I'm a liar and a cheat if you're determined to believe that. We all, I suppose, have to have people to despise.

David,It's true that the New Yorker used to publish those bits more often than they do now. It's not true that they've eliminated them. This is not something you could determine by checking a single issue of the magazine. Before you draw a large cultural conclusion ("too subtle for the modern speed reader") from a small fact, you should check your fact (another thing the New Yorker still does).

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About the Author

Peter Steinfels, co-founder of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture and a former editor of Commonweal, is the author of A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America.