Newsletter Issue #610: Can You Believe Those Product Reviews?

August 8th, 2011

The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.” When you look at this oft-quoted statement, the meaning is clear, even though far too many people ignore the meaning.

So let’s consider all those reviews of consumer products you read in such magazines as Consumer Reports, or publications dedicated to a specific product category, such as cars and personal computers. Are the reviewers fair, do they use reliable methodology in deciding what’s good and what’s bad?

More important: Are those reviews tainted because of possible influence from manufacturers who want to see their stuff get high ratings? If a publication is receiving advertising from a company, thus depending on them for some of their income, how can they in turn criticize that company’s products and not suffer from the possible consequences?

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