This was our letter to the Washington Post last week.
I tried to explain why this matters so much to us here.
We should have been able to reference the YTD numbers which were available in January and made other changes.
There is so much we need to learn—including where to place the ampersand in Department of Housing Preservation & Development.
Dear Ms. Howell,
The Washington Post’s February 26 article, “Hmm. Tiny, Evil — And Everywhere?” asserted the following:
But there are so many bedbug false alarms that there’s reason to assume many perfectly sane people are ringing them. In New York, the city housing authority has fielded and checked out more than 2,500 bedbug complaints in the past three years; fewer than 500 turned out to be actual infestations. Even allowing for some overlap — two calls about the same bugs, for instance — that’s as many as two or three callers who don’t have bedbugs for each caller who does.
The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)—with jurisdiction over the city’s public housing tenants—logged 1,720 bed bug complaints in fiscal year 2007 alone. The city’s Department of Housing & Preservation Development (HPD)—with jurisdiction over private residential tenants—logged 6,889 bed bug complaints in the same fiscal period and issued 2,008 landlord violations.
Mr. Segal not only failed to mention the HPD statistics (was he not aware of the “other” housing agency?) but grossly misrepresented the number of “actual infestations” in the city’s public housing system. (We have not been able to confirm where he found the statistic he chose to selectively cite.) Mr. Segal then appeared on a radio show on March 7, NPR’s On the Media, and compounded his various errors in judgment.
The city’s available bed bug statistics, flawed as they are, were available to Mr. Segal at the time of his reporting. Indeed, one of the articles he ridiculed in his piece, a Daily News article on December 30, cited the correct statistics.
In light of the above material inaccuracies, we respectfully request that the Post run a correction at the earliest possible date.
Mr. Segal was either unaware of the city’s available bed bug statistics or was inconvenienced by their failure to bolster his thesis. [snip]