Vanity Fair Fact Checking – Not!

May 9th, 2007 — 10:36am

In the June issue of Vanity Fair, there is a gorgeous 20-page spread of the luminaries of the yoga world. Most of the teachers photographed teach at the Yoga Journal conferences, where I work: BKS Iyengar, David Life, Sharon Gannon, John Friend, Rodney Yee, Shiva Rea and others.

As the communications director of Yoga Journal, I am thrilled with the piece. Yoga is (still) chic! Vanity Fair says so! And Yoga Journal’s “Yoga in America” survey (a name I coined), is mentioned in the piece, with stats including 16.5 million Americans practice yoga.

One figure they use is that yoga is a “20 billion dollar a year industry”. That stat did not come from our survey, in fact, when the, um, fact checker called, I told her our survey’s figure was 3 billion (see for the survey’s press release). I sent her the backup data as well.

And yet, Vanity Fair still ran the 20 billion dollar figure.

Now I’m guessing their reasoning was as follows: We’ve already shot the photos. And we’ve already laid out the 20 page spread. How can we justify 20 pages for a 3 billion dollar a year industry? So, 20 billion it is. And besides, who would know the difference anyway?

Now just watch. You will see this false 20 million figure meme out into the world. Problem is, it’s not true, however good it sounds.

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