The Duchess Has No Clothing

September 14 2005, 12:54 PM
If Kathy Sabine got the weather wrong every single day, week after week, month after month, pretty soon you'd stop watching, right? OK. Bad example. If Larry Green or Mike Nelson or some other less fabulous weather guesser always got the forecast wrong, you'd change the channel, right? Why then do Denver's dailies continue to breathlessly report the economic predictions of Tucker Hart Adams? Today's Denver Post leads its business section with this dire bulletin:
Rising interest rates and higher energy costs will slow economic growth next year, Tucker Hart Adams, U.S. Bank's chief economist for the Rocky Mountain region, warned Tuesday.
While over at the Rocky Mountain News, things look just as scary:
Economist Tucker Hart Adams says it's not a question of if the U.S. economy slips into recession -- it's just a matter of when.
Yikes. Both papers follow with lots of serious sounding statistics that make Adams seem smart and worthy of our dutiful attention. But there's just one problem. Tucker Hart Adams -- known around town as the "Duchess of Doom" -- is almost always wrong. To its credit, the News makes note of her poor track record (there's no such context in the Post), but it's way down in the story. And even so, the question has to be asked: After so many failed forecasts, why is anyone listening anymore? There's a guy on the 16th Street Mall who rants every day about the end of the world coming soon, but I don't see him getting any ink in the dailies. So why does Adams get the full-court press? I'll venture a guess. Laziness. "We've always reported on Adams' prognostications, so why stop now?" It's the same reason John Imbergamo gets quoted in nearly every restaurant story and Mary Beth Jenkins is the go-to gal for retail reporters. It's easier to go with familiar sources than it is to actually dig a little deeper into the old Rolodex. To be clear, I'm not suggesting that Imbergamo and Jenkins are as bad as Adams, though it might be interesting to check their track records, too. But with Adams, the verdict is in. The Duchess has no clothes.