Louis Jacobson is a senior writer for PolitiFact and the Tampa Bay Times. He has served as deputy editor of Roll Call and as founding editor of its legislative wire service, CongressNow.
Earlier, he spent more than a decade covering politics, policy and lobbying for National Journal magazne. Since 2002, he has handicapped political races, including state legislatures, governors, congressional seats, state attorneys general and the electoral college, currently for Governing.
In 2004, Jacobson originated the "Out There" column on politics in the states, which ran in Roll Call and later in Stateline.org and which won five annual awards from Capitolbeat, the association of state capitol reporters and editors.
His award submission included links to stories based on original sources and fresh first-generation, skeptical inquiry. He is often running counter to some of the most worrisome trends in the age of internet journalism — to produce commentary upon commentary upon commentary. Sometime he finds speakers comparing apples to oranges; people using the wrong measurement tools; and claims which are undercut by cherry-picked results.
The “targets” of his stories have ranged from a blog post to the Chief Justice of the United States. Jacobson examines statistics and analyzes whether they are correct and correctly contextualized. He regularly dives into numbers and finds that the statistical claims behind them may sound plausible, but don’t hold up to scrutiny.
Below we list just two links to his stories which challenge the numbers behind the content:
Barack Obama's campaign says his recovery has outpaced Ronald Reagan's in job creation. False.
Are 90 million Americans not working or not looking for work? Mostly False.