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McFaul: Mistaking Correlation with Causation

Michael McFaul writes about the TIME selection of Vladimir Putin as Person of the Year in Slate:

In mistaking correlation for causation—in arguing that the coincidence of Putin’s time in power and Russia’s economic recovery proves that “individuals can make a difference to history”—Time has delivered a public relations coup to Putin. Kremlin officials have already applauded. For those in Russia still fighting for independent media and still convinced that objective journalism is a noble aspiration, Time’s decision to celebrate Putin with this un-honor most certainly doesn’t “feel right,” and it most certainly doesn’t feel like journalism. Some traditions should come to an end.