August 21, 2012

AP Politicizes AAA Labor Day Travel Press Release, Errs Obviously in the Process

An unbylined Associated Press item late this morning told us that, according to AAA, “Thirty three million people will travel 50 miles or more during Labor Day weekend,” which will be “the highest level of travel for Labor Day since the start of the recession in late 2007.”

But it won’t be, as will be revealed in the AAA-sourced graphic found at Page 3 of its 36-page report (large PDF) seen after the jump.

Here it is (trips charted are those “at least 50 miles away from home”):


Obviously, this year’s travel plans, if they materialize as predicted, will be the highest since 2008, when the recession was already under way, and not 2007. They certainly have no realistic chance of exceeding the 45.1 million trips which occurred in 2008.

Besides apparently not bothering to go to AAA’s full report, the AP reporter involved had to put effort into distorting things as he or she did. Here is the AAA press release verbiage the wire service tried to reinterpret — and misinterpreted:

Despite Sluggish Economy Americans Continue to Prioritize Holiday Travel, AAA Says

Projected travel up 2.9 percent from Labor Day holiday weekend last year, highest travel volume expected since 2008 before the recession caused a retraction in Labor Day travel

ORLANDO, Fla., (August 21, 2012) – AAA Travel projects 33 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, a 2.9 percent increase from the 32.1 million people who traveled last year. The total number of 2012 Labor Day holiday travelers is expected to reach a new post-recession high. …

It’s hard to say what about “since 2008″ the unnamed AP writer didn’t understand (the fact that AAA seems to think that September 2008 was “before the recession” even though it wasn’t is hardly an excuse). It appears that the “new post-recession high” reference appears to have started the adrenaline (even though, properly interpreted, “post-recession” really means “after June 2009″) — and the rest is (misstated) history.

The self-described Essential Global News Network apparently can’t even cover a puffy press release without attempting to inject political spin.

AP owes its readers and its print and broadcast subscribers a correction — and a double lock on the door to the newsroom refrigerator where the Obama-good, Bush-bad koolaid is kept.

Cross-posted at


1 Comment

  1. The uptick 2009-2010 was more than 2011-2012. And of course, it went down the next year. So the statistical analysis should be whether this variation has any meaning at all, which it likely does not.

    Comment by Jim — August 21, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

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