The Huffington Post ended up with an egg McGriddle on it’s face after having to retract an erroneous claim that McDonald’s could double its wages if it simply raised its food prices by 17%:
The story drew on data presented by Arnobio Morelix, an undergraduate student from The University Of Kansas who identified himself as a researcher for the school. In an interview, Morelix told the HuffPost that only 17.1 percent of McDonald’s revenue goes toward salaries and benefits, meaning that for every dollar McDonald’s earns, a little more than 17 cents goes toward the income and benefits of its employees.
However, as the Columbia Journalism Review subsequently noted, Morelix’s analysis only takes into account the payroll and employee benefits of McDonald’s company-operated stores while excluding franchise businesses. Prior to publication, HuffPost asked Morelix if his analysis included franchises and he said it did. He later conceded it did not. McDonald’s franchises make up more than 80 percent of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide. This means that a majority of the payroll and employee benefits of McDonald’s workers are not included in Morelix’s findings.
The story has been widely cited at a time when employees are walking off their jobs and demanding $15 an hour pay at fast food restaurants.
Twitchy reported an earlier correction Huffington Post issued about the article — let’s just call it a preliminary correction — when the left-leaning website admitted that the unpublished McDonald’s “study” was authored by an undergraduate student, not a “researcher” as had been reported initially.
The bogus article was cited uncritically by many on Twitter and in the MSM by then, but it also received pushback from some of those pesky “just a blogger” types:
Seriously though. A University of Kansas undergrad looked at McDonalds' employee compensation cost as a % of their budget…
— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) July 30, 2013
— Tom Maguire (@Tom_Maguire) July 31, 2013
— el Sooper ن (@SooperMexican) July 31, 2013
A Big Mac miss by the Huffington Post
Poor reporting on a “study” by a Kansas undergrad
— Ryan Chittum (@ryanchittum) July 31, 2013
At least Huffpo issued a retraction. Not all news outlets and bloggers have done so. As of this publishing, Think Progress posted various updates but still has the erroneous statistic up as a headline.
Just the kind of journalistic integrity we’ve come to expect from the Left.