| By Greg Fisher
From: Greg Fisher [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, February 29, 2016 3:46 PM
To: David W. Myers; Julie Shirley, executive editor, Bellingham Herald
Cc: William R. Hearst III, chairman, Hearst Corporation (via Lisa Bagley)[email failed]; Claudia Smith, Cowles, Heast
Subject: credit score, false information, scale, "out of 850," US history, #1602ao, Leap Year
Mr. Myers, see this message and your response in the section named Interaction (my little joke (or, at least, a hope for responses)) at creditscoring.com. I am with the media, am on a deadline (it is tomorrow) and I am writing about you. You are wrong.
You wrote, "REAL ESTATE TRIVIA: Santa Claus ended 2015 with a 'very good' credit-rating of 757 (out of a possible 850), according to a tongue-in-cheek estimate by the company that created the FICO scoring system."
That is false; your statement is not true. You created false information and, worse, it was syndicated. On a scale of 300 to 850, there are not 850 points possible, there are only 550. The range of such a score system is 550 (551 if the extremes 300 and 850 are included)). So, if you want to say something is out of something, it would be 457 out of 550.
Why Fair Isaac, the credit score company created such a peculiar scale I don't know. Having said that, maybe we will find out together. Over a decade ago, I asked a government-sponsored enterprise representative Why the strange numbers? The reaction in the room was as if I was making an affront to their religion. It is amusing to me how people fail to question authority; authorship; authors. Actually, it is frightening, but I have to have a sense of humor about it to get through the day.
Would you say that a credit score of 362 is 362 "out of a possible 850"?
I named this phenomenon Credit Score Myth 6 on a list of 23 (so far) typical screw-ups. There is even a hashtag for use in social media (#myth6). I coined another term (for situations like yours): Syndicated Error (with a corresponding tag, of course: #SyndicatedError).
In this case, you don't have a leg to stand on–you are just, flat-out, wrong. Numbers don't lie. But, it is entirely possible that you will have a reaction similar to another I tried to reason with. She, apparently, still lives in her ignorance–and I don't mean that she's ignoring her error. The sad truth is that she just doesn't understand a simple elementary principle of mathematics, or, worse, she is just playing some kind of game (I have experience with that, too). Whatever the case, she is just plain wrong, too. Her information is absolutely false. Even a personal visit did not work. I do what I can.
And, here is one more who makes the exact, same error as you have. He calls me a useless pedant on a topic of credit scoring. It is not clear what topic he means, but, after all, the website about credit scores I write exists in (no less) the domain creditscoring.com. It is deeper than it is broad.
You were wrong to make the error, wrong to not ask me to review what you intended to submit (yes, I know that seems pompous, but you should think about it), and wrong to be so careless as to set yourself up to allow me to castigate your organization.
Also, see http://creditscoring.com/influence/media/newspapers/hearst/. It is pathetic.
What is your correction policy? Also, what is the name of the top person of your organization? There is more (it is in regard to your advice about inquiries). This first volley is just pointing out a plain error of fact to get your attention, annoy you and disorient you. Avoid a hasty reply, but respond today to avoid appearing to shirk. Or, do nothing and look that way. Media get away with that, I have learned. Truth does not matter much to your industry. Face-saving is more important. I hope it is different with you.
Here is more false information published in 2014 by the same newspaper your column is in: "The presence of House Majority Leader John Boehner emphasized their seriousness and their clout" (see Truth and Falsity).
He was Speaker in 2014, not Majority Leader. Significant in terms of presidential succession.
I use that lapse and my other favorite error of American history to make a point about media errors, accuracy, and corrections (lack thereof). Let's see how that publication reacts to my demand to make a correction today. Make sure that they get a copy of this message. I demand it.
Follow the activity of Item #1602ao using that hashtag.