The author's first Crawford at Large column addressed the supposed death of reading, as proclaimed by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in a 2004 study. Three years later, the NEA came out with an even gloomier report. The NEA's second study, published in November 2007, was titled "To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence." The job of the new report is to overcome any doubts. Unfortunately, to do so, it appears that the NEA cooked the data. Starting with the executive summary the "clear" picture painted in the introduction becomes fuzzier. The report ignores library circulation, sweeping it away with a comment about the lack of reliable national figures on book circulation as opposed to other media. Similarly, the NEA cherry-picked the most negative possible sales figures, interpretations, and graphic presentations to make this as much of a crisis report as the 2004 jeremiad.
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