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I Despise Forbes Lists

When I first wrote about my beef with "best of" lists last summer, I suggested that local news outlets, for their own good, ought to stop going wild over the nonsensical fluff that magazines like Forbes continually crank out. It didn't happen. Just look at some of these headlines from this week:
The Plain Dealer's Michael Scott picked up the story too: on Friday named Cleveland as "America's Worst Winter Weather City," in a ranking of the top 50 metropolitan areas by population. (If only Buffalo could bring in more people, surely we could lose this ignominious label).
Unfortunately, Scott botches the facts and obscures the issue even more. Forbes didn't look at the 50 largest metros, it looked at the 50 largest cities. And yes, it matters. In fact, the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metro is one of America's 50 largest (it comes in at number 47). Does poor reporting on an even poorer ranking list bother anyone else as much as it bothers me?

My full criticism of the Forbes article is up at Brewed Fresh Daily. If you think the conclusion is valid, I challenge you to justify it. But don't take this published list as gospel, because the author's methodology is truly terrible and it's a good lesson in why you often cannot trust somebody's "research" just because they waved a magic wand over some set of data, produced a result, and a "respectable" magazine ran with it.


Christine said…
I despise the assumption that winter is always the bad season. Why no "worst summer cities" lists? Living in Montana taught me that hey, some people LIKE winter. And what about the happiest places on Earth? Most of them look pretty wintry to me. (Then again, that's a Forbes list, too.)

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