Error on majority/minority 2013-07-26

Senator Mitch McConnell (D-Ky.) is U.S. Senate Minority Leader, not Majority Leader. However: In an ironic twist, yesterday, a guy micro-blogged: “You are living on Planet Romney[:] Won the Election and Mitch McConnell is Majority Leader” while the publication he writes for, indeed, states:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said most Republicans would vote for the bill, even though it does not include riders that would cancel funding for controversial programs,

and

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put the onus of compromise during next week’s lame-duck session on Democrats.

and

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the legislation had underperformed.

But, the publication–somewhat to its credit–appears to be engaged with its readers, having reacted to related comments (one of which gets the writer’s name wrong (twice) while correcting the writer) to another story with this thing you could call the Itty Bitty Majority Ditty.  For sure, a correction was made, but, more accurately speaking, the error just disappeared. Adding to the digital mush, yet another publication republished one of the errant stories (complete with goof).  And, yet another journal (while also mangling the writer’s name) quoted some of the one that was corrected, obviously before the correction.

Whew.

Back to the point:  A historically and completely false doozy from the Washington Post states, “Some Republicans, particularly Issa and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have argued that the administration was essentially bullying Obama’s opponents.”

That one is the winner in The McConnell Bind (a test with control and experimental groups) for this round, because da Post did da deed: It still states that employers use credit scores, and of course they do not.

The truth about what is not the truth is stranger than fiction.

New York Times’ syndicated error about credit scores

[PREVIOUS MESSAGE]

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2013 1:51 PM
To: Tom Troy, reporter, Toledo Blade (Block Communications)
Cc: Tim Grant, reporter, personal finance, housing and banking, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Block Communications); Ignazio Messina, reporter, Toledo Blade (Block Communications); John Robinson Block, publisher and editor-in-chief, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Block Communications); Allan Block, chairman, Block Communications (via S. Smith)
Subject: RE: credit score, math, Block Communications, election, 0.86 factor II

Please reply.


Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342


From: Ignazio Messina [Toledo Blade reporter]
Sent: Wednesday, July 03, 2013 10:13 AM
To: Greg Fisher
Subject: Re: credit score, math, Block Communications, election, 0.86 factor II

Sorry for the late reply as I have gotten a larger volume of emails this week than most. As we said, the conversion is not perfect, and provides a rough estimate so people can have an “apples to apples.” The most recent article just put out the scores with out conversion. If you have an insight, please share.

Thanks


From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Monday, July 08, 2013 12:48 PM
To: Allan Block, chairman, Block Communications (via K. Franck); Allan Block, chairman, Block Communications (via S. Smith)
Cc: Ignazio Messina, reporter, Toledo Blade (Block Communications); Mary-Beth McLaughlin, reporter, assistant city editor, Toledo Blade (Block Communications); Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., publisher, New York Times
Subject: RE: credit score, math, Block Communications, election, 0.86 factor II, lack of sources

You compare apples, oranges and passenger rail: A FICO score, the VantageScore and the Equifax Credit Score.  But thank you for eventually replying and saving me a 5 a.m. wakeup call.

I have no formula to equate one credit score with another.  And, even though VantageScore recently announced that it would reconfigure its scale to 300 to 850, that does not mean that the curves of a FICO score model with the same endpoints has the same shape, or that the probability for default at 700 is same for both brands of credit scores.

Regarding your conversion formula, an error of 24 percent (131 on a 551-point scale) is, indeed, rough.  Lest I attribute that inaccurate conversion method to you, I asked for your source.  What is the name of your source?  As you can see, in a story from two years ago, your reporter did not provide a name (even after I asked for the source), either—and it’s not like these are matters of national security.

The blithe notion that such a formula can be so simple does not appear to be an original thought.  Providing the name of your source so that I can ask them about the calculation may help another unwitting reporter from being duped.

Your casual translation notwithstanding, the point is moot because you confused one score with another.  You indicate that one candidate for mayor of Toledo had a credit score of 635 “according to Equifax credit-reporting companies, using the FICO model that runs from 300 to 850.”

However, the scale of that candidate’s credit score that you published starts at 280, not 300 (and that fact is not hard to find; it is notated on the next line of the credit report, directly below the score that you cited).  It was the Equifax Credit Score, not a FICO, and that means that the range is 571, as opposed to the range of the FICO, 551.  So, the candidate’s place on the continuum is not 335 points from the lowest score (as you reported), it is 355 points from the lowest.

At this point, I am not as concerned with credit score comprehension, interpretation, bad math logic and an unusual local election tradition as I am with a shadow that I have chased for 5 years.  In 2005, with no substantiation, you reported, “Increasingly, though, such scores are used by landlords, potential employers, and insurance companies to determine someone’s financial health.”

That typical fear-mongering word-series setup (the lions-tigers-and-bears line of this pathetic chapter in journalism), leads many articles about credit scores in order to shock the reader and win attention.  But it isn’t the truth.

As you can see in this email thread, I originally contacted you two years ago—enough time for you to name a source or make a correction.  Subsequently, you even republished a New York Times item from late last year that also makes the inaccurate claim that employers use credit scores.  The downside of syndication is the syndicated error.

Belief of this myth has had serious consequences in other parts of the country, and I want to end that nonsense before it comes to our statehouse again.  Employers do not use credit scores.  I looked into it.

Not many seemed to care about credit scores when I registered the creditscoring.com domain 14 years ago.  Similarly, today, few seem to care about corrections on Page A2 of the nation’s newspapers.  That is why I registered pagea2.com—to again address a commonplace problem.  The website at that address deals with the antithesis of the burden of proof, standards of evidence and naming sources: Proving what is not true.  It is disproving the conventional wisdom when affirmative statements are a lot of balderdash.  Credit scores are a convenient vehicle.

The only response I expect from you—and I expect it today—is correction of your errors.  In the case I brought to your attention in 2011, two years is enough time to allow you to do something about it.  Given the demonstration of the fallibility of the New York Times, their three-word name is now only a cliché.  Don’t allow that organization’s error to remain on your website and misinform another person.


Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

Zombie myths

In April, using his News Corporation Fox Business thingy, Rupert Murdoch published, “According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 60% of employers check applicants’ credit scores for at least some of their job candidates as part of their hiring process.”

Fox Business website before correction

Fox Business website before correction

That is nonsense, of course, and somebody changed the Fox story.  The new sentence, substituting reports for scores, is “According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 60% of employers check  applicants’ credit reports for at least some of their job candidates as part of their hiring process.”

[Rookie reporters and journalism students: Don’t be afraid to check original sources (Wouldn’t that be novel?).]

But, there is no acknowledgement on that story’s page (whose title uses a question mark) by Murdoch of the error and its correction.  That is not to say, however, that he always acts in such a clandestine manner.  Within another property in his empire, there was clear acknowledgement of the same error.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
The Question Mark
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

Unfortunately, due to the syndicated error phenomena, the zombie myth lives.

It also lives in a certain Louisiana State University study, on a United States federal government server, no less, for U.S. citizens to read (and become misinformed).  The National Institutes of Health website states, “Many organizations use credit scores as an employment screening tool, but little is known about the legitimacy of such practices.”

And, here we go, again:

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 8:35 AM
To: Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO, News Corporation (via Julie Henderson)
Cc: Tim Sullivan, writer, translator, yoga teacher and massage therapist, Money Blue Book
Subject: name your source; coining a term: CUR (credit-utilization ratio)

You published

When you close an account, especially a larger account, your credit-utilization ratio (CUR) will be affected and your score could go down. In addition, if the card you’re closing was the first credit card you ever got, it could shorten the length of your credit history, which can also hurt your score… Closing too many cards at once can cause your credit score to drop sharply from a snowball effect of the reasons mentioned above.

Who is your source regarding closing an account shortening a credit history?  Fair Isaac calls that a myth.

Also, where did you get the idea to use the initials CUR to refer to the so-called credit utilization ratio?  Why don’t you call it PBCL (proportion of balances to credit limits)?


Greg Fisher
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

McClatchy’s syndicated error

(see “950” on the Associated Press website)

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2012 10:49 AM
To: Bill Marimow, editor, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Media Network Inc.; Reid Kanaley, columnist, Philadelphia Inquirer; Al Heavens, real estate columnist, Philadelphia Inquirer
Cc: Laura D. Adams, personal finance expert, Quick and Dirty Tips; Stacy Johnson, CPA, executive producer, publisher, president, journalist, Money Talks News; Jeff Gelles, columnist, Philadelphia Inquirer; Gail MarksJarvis, personal finance columnist, Chicago Tribune; Sam Zell, Tribune Company
Subject: RE: correction policy, Philadelphia Inquirer II

Now, you published: “The most common credit score issued is the FICO, named for Fair Isaac Co., which developed the mathematical formula. Rankings are from 300 to 950: The higher the number, the lower the loan-default risk.”

However, according to Fair Isaac, FICO scores range from 300 to 850.

Please reply with a link to your correction.

Also, today, please answer the questions below from over a month ago, and make sure that Mr. Hall gets this message.


Greg Fisher
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

[previous message attached]

A portion of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Corrections Policy in 2008

Readers should never be forced to wonder what is being corrected. They shouldn’t be left guessing where the error occurred.” – St. Louis Post-Dispatch Corrections Policy in 2008

[PREVIOUS CORRESPONDENCE]

From: Weagley, Robert O.
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2012 11:03 AM
To: ‘Greg Fisher’
Subject: RE: FW: El Dorado Springs Sun, footnote in testimony

Mr. Fisher – We publish our Financial Tip of the Week on Friday mornings. We will rewrite the piece you are concerned about with wording similar to what is highlighted below, when it is my turn again in the cycle. I don’t know what else we can do, nor do I fully understand what it is that you think we should do.

There is nothing wrong with employers looking at your credit score, if you give them permission.

– Rob Weagley


From: Greg Fisher, PageA2.com
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 11:08 AM
To: Gilbert Bailon, editor in chief, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Jim Gallagher business reporter and columnist, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Steve Giegerich, business reporter, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Cc: Mary E. Junck, chairman, president and CEO; chairman, Executive Committee, Lee Enterprises; Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway (via M. Reilly, Omaha World-Herald); Kimball Long, owner, publisher, El Dorado Springs Sun; Nellie Lamers, family financial edcuation specialist, Taney County, Southwest Region, University of Missouri; Robert O. Weagley, associate professor and department chair, CFP program director, college of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri; Dan Iannicola, Jr.
Subject: RE: FW: El Dorado Springs Sun, vs. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Recently, I beat my head against a wall trying to get a straight answer from some wacky thing in your state called Mizzou.

Then, I remembered that, three years ago, I corresponded with your organization about a couple of your of items.  Subsequently, you made corrections (but you put them on internet pages—separate from the actual articles’ internet pages—where they hardly do any good).

Anyway, could you find out what is going on in Columbia?

What is your correction policy, by the way?


Greg Fisher
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

[NEXT CORRESPONDENCE]

Footnote in testimony

[PREVIOUS CORRESPONDENCE]

From: Lamers, Nellie J.
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 5:28 PM
To: Greg Fisher (greg@pagea2.com)
Cc: Weagley, Robert O.; Procter, Brenda
Subject: RE: FW: El Dorado Springs Sun, credit score, employers, FreeScore.com

Mr. Fisher~

Robert Weagley, Ph.D., Department Chair, Personal Financial Planning, University of Missouri, will be releasing a new article about this topic on the 28th.

Also, Brenda Procter, State Consumer & Family Economics Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, spoke with Chi Chi Wu at the National Consumer Law Center. Wu said, “Although the credit reporting industry claims they do not sell credit scores to employers, there is nothing in the law to prohibit employers from obtaining a credit score if you give them written permission.”

I will let you know when Dr. Weagley’ s article is released- thanks~

Nellie


From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2012 10:50 AM
To: Kimball Long, owner, publisher, El Dorado Springs Sun; Kenny Long, owner, editor, El Dorado Springs Sun; Lisa Schlichtman, executive editor, Cassville Democrat, Rust Communications; Gary W. Rust, chairman, Rust Communications (Cassville Democrat)
Cc: Margot Freeman Saunders, Of Counsel, National Consumer Law Center; Brenda Procter, state specialist & instructor, Personal Financial Planning, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri; Chi Chi Wu, expert, consumer credit issues ranging from credit cards to medical debt to fair credit reporting, & staff attorney, National Consumer Law Center; Chris Koster, attorney general, State of Missouri (via N. Gonder); Dean Mills, professor and dean, School of Journalism, University of Missouri; Nellie Lamers, specialist, Family Financial Education, Taney County, Southwest Region, University of Missouri; Robert O. Weagley, associate professor and department chair, CFP program director, college of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri; Dan Iannicola, Jr.; Timothy M. Wolfe, president, University of Missouri; David R. Bradley, chairman, Board of Curators, University of Missouri System; Brandon Ellington, representative, District 41, House of Representatives, State of Missouri; Leonard Hughes IV, representative, District 42, House of Representatives, State of Missouri; Press office, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Jay Nixon, governor, Missouri; Mark Horvit associate professor, executive director, Investigative Reporters and Editors, School of Journalism, University of Missouri
Subject: RE: FW: El Dorado Springs Sun, footnote in testimony

There is nothing in the law to prevent me from pitching a no-hitter in the World Series, either (I just don’t work for such low pay). There is no law preventing me from wearing green hats.  And, believe it or not (as incomplete as the law is) there is not even anything in it about unicorns, zombies, little green men nor keeping monkeys from flying out of my nose.

Indeed, there is nothing in the law to prohibit employers from obtaining a credit score.  But, inversely, if some Missouri legislators had their way, they would have actually changed the law to make it legal, expressly, to use credit scores in employment.  Perhaps they believe the hype.

National Consumer Law Center

This hysteria has gone on for years.  In 2005, a representative of the NCLC provided this testimony to Congress: “In some situations, workers are simply deemed ineligible for employment if they do not have adequate credit scores. In others, credit information and scores are checked on an ongoing basis by employers, and workers can be fired for negative information on their credit report, or even low credit scores.”

Also in 2005, with others, Ms. Wu signed a document that states, “Without a Disaster Information Shield, FICO scoring models could pose an affirmative barrier to the efforts of disaster victims to regain, and maintain, financial stability, access reasonably priced credit, and even regain employment.”

(Even is a well-worn cliché in this mess: Outrage at an invisible bogeyman.)

Earlier this year, I made a whistle stop train tour to get their attention.  Today, the first signer of that document is an associate director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

But before 2005, in USA Today, Gannett published, “More employers are screening job applicants by credit score.”

Unfortunately, the reporter is dead. His source material may be unavailable. Subsequently, regarding another item, the same media organization published, “An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly suggested that employers look at job applicants’ credit scores.”

Missouri Attorney General

Regarding consumer reports American citizens can obtain for no charge, the Missouri Attorney General states, “You will not see your credit rating (or credit score).”

This is item 5 in the attorney’s general Consumer Credit Quiz:

Your credit rating affects your ability to:

  • Obtain new financing, such as credit card accounts, lines of credit and loans
  • Be hired
  • Rent property
  • All of the above

The result of answering “All of the above“ is this:

Correct!
All of the above. Your credit history may be considered by potential insurers, landlords and even employers.

Even employers.

This is not about credit scores, and it is not a game; at stake is something fundamental.  This is about media accuracy, errors and corrections.  It is also about inaccurate information, its origin, its consequences in a democracy and common sense.

Our First Amendment right ends at falsely shouting fire in a theatre.

Where do you publish corrections?


Greg Fisher
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

[NEXT CORRESPONDENCE]

Press release journalism

[PREVIOUS CORRESPONDENCE]

From: Lamers, Nellie J.
Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2012 11:34 AM
To: ‘Greg Fisher’; Kenny Long, owner, El Dorado Springs Sun
Cc: UM President; Board of Curators
Subject: RE: El Dorado Springs Sun, credit score, employers, corrections location

Hi Greg~

In general, nobody can get a copy of your report or score without your written consent, from: http://www.freescore.com/who-can-check-my-score.aspx:

“Any people or organizations who have a “legitimate business need” can check your credit score. The phrase “legitimate business need” casts a broad net over who can access your credit score, and people and entities that fall under the category include:

  • Current and prospective employers (with your consent)”

Thanks for your message~

Nellie

Nellie Lamers Family Financial Education Specialist University of Missouri Extension [WITHHELD BY PAGE A2] [WITHHELD BY PAGE A2] Phone:  [WITHHELD BY PAGE A2] FAX:      [WITHHELD BY PAGE A2]

E-mail: [WITHHELD BY PAGE A2]

URL: http://extension.missouri.edu/taney/

“Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.” Albert Einstein

Subscribe now to the FREE Southwest Region News Service: http://extension.missouri.edu/swregion/news


From: Lamers, Nellie J.
Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2012 12:36 PM
To: Greg Fisher; Kenny Long, owner, El Dorado Springs Sun
Cc: UM President; Board of Curators
Subject: RE: El Dorado Springs Sun, credit score, employers, corrections location

Meant to include this link also: http://missourifamilies.org/features/consumerarticles/consumerpdfs/creditreportbasics05.pdf

Thanks~


From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2012 9:07 AM
To: Lamers, Nellie J.
Cc: Kenny Long, owner, El Dorado Springs Sun; UM President; Board of Curators; Weagley, Robert O.; Gary Johnson, president & CEO, Vertrue Incorporated (FreeScore.com member support address); Carrie Coghill, director of consumer education, FreeScore.com; Lisa Schlichtman, executive editor, Cassville Democrat, Rust Communications; Gary W. Rust, chairman, Rust Communications (Cassville Democrat); Dieckmann, Rebecca; Jay Nixon, governor, Missouri
Subject: RE: El Dorado Springs Sun, credit score, employers, FreeScore.com

Ms. Lamers:

Since employment credit reports do not contain credit scores, how do employers obtain scores?  Is there a black market?

Here are statements by the three biggest national consumer reporting agencies:

“There’s no such thing as a credit score in employment.” – TransUnion, in testimony

“We do not knowingly provide scores for pre employment screening.” – Equifax vice president of communications

“Employers never get credit scores.” – Experian, July 18

Despite those clear statements, many people, companies and institutions (such as yours) still claim that employers use credit scores.  None have evidence, and neither do you.  For instance, last year, news agency Reuters said that Fair Isaac (aka FICO) told them that credit scores can be accessed and used by employers.  Reuters believes it.

Another University of Missouri document (dated 2008) states, “First, a low FICO score can be used by employers.”

Visa U.S.A. says, “Your credit score is a complex calculation of your past financial behavior, like with credit cards and loans, that results in a number of ‘points’ that is not only used by lenders and creditors, but also landlords and employers, when making important decisions about your future.”

Even Experian, contradicting its statement above, makes the claim: “More Employers Check Applicants’ Credit Scores.”

So, thinking independently and critically, and applying rigor in your research, which do you believe?

I wrote to FreeScore.com.  So did the Federal Trade Commission.

Speaking of free, your second link leads to a University of Missouri document that states: “Be cautious about companies offering ‘free credit reports’ on slick TV commercials, on websites or in magazine advertisements. Many of them have a snag such as having to pay a hidden fee for some other service they offer or requiring a subscription of some kind.”

The word score does not even appear in that document.  What point are you making with it?

What is the name of an employer who uses credit scores?

You failed to answer this question:  Where do you publish corrections?  Please answer it.

The inaccurate information from your press release is spreading.  Please answer the questions or issue a retraction before the myth goes any further.


Greg Fisher
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342


From: Lamers, Nellie J.
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2012 12:38 PM
To: Greg Fisher (greg@pagea2.com)
Cc: Weagley, Robert O.; Procter, Brenda
Subject: RE: FW: El Dorado Springs Sun, credit score, employers, FreeScore.com

Mr. Fisher~

We are investigating further and I will let you know.

Corrections will be sent to the original story outlets.

Thank you~

Nellie


[NEXT CORRESPONDENCE]

El Dorado Springs Sun, corrections location

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Friday, August 31, 2012 2:11 PM
To: Kenny Long, owner, El Dorado Springs Sun
Cc: Nellie Lamers, specialist, Family Financial Education, Taney County, Southwest Region, University of Missouri; Timothy M. Wolfe, president, Univeristy of Missouri; David R. Bradley, chairman, Board of Curators, University of Missouri System
Subject: El Dorado Springs Sun, credit score, employers, corrections location

See this message and your response at http://www.pagea2.com/?p=411.

You published, “’Creditors, employers, landlords and others use your credit report and score to determine the interest rate you pay and whether or not you are offered a job, lease or credit,’ said [University of Missouri Extension family financial education specialist Nellie] Lamers.”

Employers do not use credit scores because they cannot even get them.

Where do you publish corrections?


Greg Fisher
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

[NEXT CORRESPONDENCE]

 

correction policy, Philadelphia Inquirer

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 10:14 PM
To: Bill Marimow, editor, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Media Network Inc.; Reid Kanaley, columnist, Philadelphia Inquirer
Cc: Laura D. Adams, personal finance expert, Quick and Dirty Tips; Stacy Johnson, CPA, executive producer, publisher, president, journalist, Money Talks News; Jeff Gelles, columnist, Philadelphia Inquirer; Gail MarksJarvis, personal finance columnist, Chicago Tribune; Sam Zell, Tribune Company
Subject: correction policy, Philadelphia Inquirer

Mr. Marimow, please forward this message to Robert Hall of Interstate General Media L.L.C.

See this message and your response at http://www.pagea2.com/correction-policy-philadelphia-inquirer/

You published, “The Money Girl website includes this post by Laura Adams, with tips for raising a score.”

Your link leads to a page on which Adams states, “Your score indicates your creditworthiness to potential lenders, banks, landlords, insurance companies, and even to some employers, for instance.”

Your link to MoneyTalksNews goes to a page that states, “Much like your final grade summarized your command of a course in school, your credit score is the distillation of everything in your credit history,” Stacy [Johnson] wrote in 5 Reasons We Need Free Credit Scores Now.”

The link in that sentence leads to a page where Johnson claims: “It’s no exaggeration to say your credit score can change your life. This single number can determine whether you get a job or own a home.”

In another article, your reporter wrote, “There’s no simple answer, because lenders and others who use credit scores – such as insurance companies and employers – use the data differently.”

And finally, you also published, “Because employers and landlords have access to the scores, they can determine who gets an apartment or even a job.”

Employers do not use credit scores because they cannot even get them.  Who is your source regarding credit score use by employers?

What is your correction policy?


Greg Fisher
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

 

Chicago Tribune’s uncorrected errors

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 1:38 PM
To: Sam Zell, Tribune Company; Sam Zell, Tribune Company (alt); Corrections desk, Chicago Tribune
Cc: Jane Hirt, vice president, managing editor, Chicago Tribune; CTC-YourMoney; Margaret Holt, standards editor, Chicago Tribune; Anthony Sprauve, US Consumer / FICO Score Public Relations, Fair Isaac; Craig Watts, Fair Isaac; Northwest Chicago Film Society; Nina Metz, reporter, film, TV and theater, Chicago Tribune; Daniel Bortz, reporter/editor, Personal Finance, U.S. News & World Report; Mortimer B. Zuckerman, chairman, Executive Committee, editor-in-chief, U.S. News & World Report (via Liz Putze); Julie Diop; Ilyce Glink; Luke Knowles, FreeShipping.org; Kate Forgach, blogger, FreeShipping.org; Felix Salmon, blogger, Reuters; Katie Leslie, reporter, Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Marcus K. Garner, reporter, Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Jane Scholz, editor, McClatchy Tribune Information Services ; Gary B. Pruitt, chairman, president and CEO, McClatchy Company (via E. Lintecum); Gerould W. Kern, senior vice-president and editor, Chicago Tribune
Subject: RE: credit score, utilization ratio, Chicago Tribune II, You can’t have it both ways

Not so fast, Mr. Zell.

The numbers you use for credibility are also your downfall.  While you may be satisfied with the column, you did not say that it is accurate.  Who was your source for that part of the column?

Now, here is the big question:  If 30 percent of the FICO score depends on the so-called credit utilization ratio (an inaccurate notion), then what percentage depends on the Number of accounts with balances?

A long time ago, I spent a year dealing with that issue and I am sure that the percentage is a positive number.  According to your logic, however, it is zero.

Same for Amount owing on specific types of accounts.

Same for Lack of a specific type of balance, in some cases.

Same for Amount owing on accounts.

So, your response fails to address a simple math problem.  The ratio accounts for something less than 30 percent of the score, so your statement is incorrect.

The impossibility of your utilization ratio claim notwithstanding, perhaps you could discuss with Fair Isaac (to whom you refer as FICO) your multiple inaccurate articles about employers using credit scores.  The company has no expertise on the matter (since, to my knowledge, it does not sell consumer reports to anybody but consumers), however, it has significant influence over media.  Fair Isaac certainly has Reuters snowed.  Asked to explain its public statement about pre-employment screening, Fair Isaac replied, “The mention you cited from the myFICO video clip was based on anecdotal information gleaned from public sources such as published articles.”

Perhaps they got it from you.  Years after the FICO score company stated that employers use credit scores, that claim—based on a silly rumor—has been debunked.  But it lives on at the Chicago Tribune.

In one place you published, “Because employers and landlords have access to the scores, it can determine who gets an apartment or even a job.”

On the contrary, in another place, you published: “Similar to the reports that a consumer can obtain for free each year through credit-reporting agencies, employers receive a report that lists debt. The reports do not, however, give an applicant’s credit score.”

Yet, in another place, you published, “When you decide to purchase a car or house, or even rent an apartment or apply for a job, your credit score matters.”

Consumer reporting agency Experian states: “Employers never get a credit score. Unfortunately, that is a very common misperception.”

There are other examples.  In one, a columnist made an honorable correction in a subsequent column (dated Independence Day, no less), but it doesn’t seem to have hit da Trib (the date of the correction ironic in light of your abuse of our First Amendment rights).

Who are your sources?

Based on information that you continue to maintain on your website, I might have caught one of the few trains that go through Ohio (and in the middle of the night) to Chicago to see the film “The Halliday Brand” only to find that tonight’s screening had been canceled.

You published your correction on another page.

What is your correction policy?

Consider the citizens.


Greg Fisher
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

 

 

From: CTC-YourMoney [mailto:YourMoney@tribune.com]
Sent: Monday, June 04, 2012 5:04 PM
To: Greg Fisher
Subject: RE: credit score, utilization ratio, Chicago Tribune II

Dear Mr. Fisher:

After discussing your concerns with FICO, we’re satisfied with Carolyn Bigda’s column. Thank you for writing.

Kind regards,

Pete Reinwald
Content editor
Consumer finance
Chicago Tribune
Tribune Newspapers

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