Yesterday the Associated Press ran an article on North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (HB2), also known as the ‘bathroom bill’. It’s complete bunk.
For one thing, the Associated Press story is based on total guesstimates.
The Associated Press then put out a headline which treated said guesstimations as fact, “Bathroom bill to cost North Carolina $3.76B.”
Let me repeat that:
The Associated Press guessed and wrote a headline that treated that guess like fact.
For another thing the Associated Press’s math is based on a 12 year period — which they did on purpose to make their findings look dramatic. Here’s a reality check, Associated Press:
— Jon Sanders (@jonpsanders) March 27, 2017
Sanders is right. In fact, the math comes out to be six-hundredths of 1 percent.
Sander’s article from earlier this month, Loss of a handful of one-off events fails to disrupt world’s 30th largest economy, offers some much needed perspective on the Associated Press’s recent guesstimating.
It is not coincidence that this report comes on the heels of Lt. Governor Forest’s testimony in Texas where he laid out the true economic reality of HB2 for legislators there who were considering an HB2 style bill.
Forest stunned the Texas legislators by explaining that the most extreme estimate for loses from HB2 was less than one tenth of one percent of the state’s annual GDP, which is estimated at $510 billion.
Now remember, the Associated Press’s guesstimate is even smaller than the Lt. Governor’s, coming in at six-hundredths of 1 percent. There is a Common Core math joke in here somewhere, and the Associated Press is the butt of it.
In his Texas testimony, the Lt. Governor also mentioned a report by local media outlet WRAL, who debunked that HB2 was having a big impact on the North Carolina Economy. They math in that article was consistent – the HB2 impact is less that .1%.
Ironically, WRAL seemingly blew off their own reporting and blasted out the Associated Press’s misleading HB2 headline yesterday.
— A.P. Dillon (@APDillon_) March 28, 2017
I reached out to the Lt. Governor’s office for comment on that AP’s story and received the following statement:
“The report you are referring stems from one person’s guess over a 12 year period, while over this same time period our state will have a GDP of over $6 trillion, equating to 0.06% of a “loss”, meaning on overall impact of less than 1/10 of 1%. And the percentage of GDP loss would only hold that high if we had no more economic growth from now until 2029. This report has no basis in fact and is another attempt to mislead and confuse the public through a bogus headline.”
The official statement on the Lt. Governor’s website included a version of the statement they gave me, but added some more details:
“The economic arguments being propagated by media reports (like the AP) and pushed by outside groups are inflated, manipulated and contrary to any empirical evidence. For instance, in 2016 North Carolina ranked 4th in the nation for attracting and expanding businesses, ranked first in the South Atlantic region for drawing corporate facilities. The State’s hotel and motel occupancy went up 3.4% last year. Average hotel and motel room rates went up 3.6%. Tourism is up over 5.6% in 2016. NC is currently creating nearly 6,000 jobs per month.”
And that concludes today’s lesson in Fake news.