On the March 17 broadcast of PBS' The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, New York Times columnist David Brooks falsely claimed that "in the Reagan years, unemployment went from 13 percent to 5 percent."
In fact, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1981, Ronald Reagan's first year in office, the U.S. average unemployment rate stood at 7.6 percent. During Reagan's presidency, it reached a high of 9.7 percent, and had declined to a level of 5.5 percent when Reagan left office. The rate from when Reagan entered office through his last year declined by 2.1 points, far less than the eight-point drop for which Brooks credited Reagan.
Why do they do it? Sometimes I think they just can't help themselves - that it's some kind of compulsion or something.