How Do You Solve a Problem Like Krugman?

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal on “the Manichaean wing of American liberalism:”

As we have noted, the New York Times’s response to last weekend’s murders in Tucson was to instigate a witch hunt against Republican politicians and “particularly” against members of the independent (nonliberal) media. This appealed to what one might call the Manichaean wing of American liberalism: those who mistake political disagreement for enmity, who are so strongly prejudiced against conservatives as to regard them, in some sense, as less than fully human.

Yet that is not what one would call a broad appeal–a point powerfully made by a USA Today news story:

Most Americans reject the idea that inflammatory political language by conservatives should be part of the debate about the forces behind the Arizona shooting that left six people dead and a congresswoman in critical condition, a USA Today/Gallup Poll finds.

A 53% majority of those surveyed call that analysis mostly an attempt to use the tragedy to make conservatives look bad. About a third, 35%, say it is a legitimate point about how dangerous language can be.

This is an astonishing finding. Only 35% of those surveyed think the New York Times’s position is even legitimate. And although President Obama, in his speech last night, did not go so far as to call it illegitimate, he did make his disagreement clear:

If, as has been discussed in recent days, their death helps usher in more civility in our public discourse, let us remember it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy–it did not–but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to the challenges of our nation in a way that would make them proud.

“It did not.” With those three truthful words–an improvisation or a late addition, as they were not in the prepared text–the liberal president rebuked the out-of-control liberal media that have, under the leadership of the New York Times, been engaging in a vicious campaign of lies and smears.


Ace of Spades posits that the Times simply had to run the prepared text so as to avoid including one of the very few successful ad libs the president has ever made — and likely the only one that has ever been aimed leftward:

Hot Air has “[– it did not –]” in brackets because that wasn’t part of the speech as written — Obama apparently inserted it.

It’s possible, likely I’d say, there was debate on the “It did not” line and at the last minute they took it out, as a pander to the left; but Obama did actually put it back in. So whatever his motives here — doubt ’em as I do — in the end he did say something important. “It did not.”

That’s a big reason that many right-leaning people are praising the speech, by the way. I didn’t catch that (because I was looking at the transcript of the speech as prepared) when I said it was bad.

I sure would have liked a stronger statement.

Got that? Good. Now watch how the NYT quotes Obama.

This horrific event, he said, should be a turning point for everyone — “not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation.”

They delete the “It did not” entirely. Now, you may say, “Well they were going from the prepared remarks.” Um, okay, but they did see the speech, did they not? It was on at 8:30 or so Eastern; it’s not as if it aired too late for them to quote him accurately.

No, they deleted this because this hurts The Narrative. That’s right, Obama himself wounded The Narrative, and not accidentally, either; but deliberately, because he knew The Narrative was false. And even though he didn’t have the inclination to offer a longer repudiation of it, he did nevertheless offer up a brief, unscripted one.

And this was too much for the New York Times to take, because they have so much riding on The Narrative; they, along with their in-house mental patient Paul Krugman, have been pushing it the very hardest among all newspapers, even when other “lesser” newspapers have noticed it to be quite wrong.

They’re not giving up the ghost, you see, and if that means editing Obama’s actual words to keep The Narrative in better health, so be it.


At Commentary, (H/T: The Anchoress) John Steele Gordon looks at Krugman’s column on Monday (in which he teed off on Michelle Bachmann) and rhetorically asks, “Have you no decency, sir?”

Even the Times’s first public editor, Daniel Okrent, said that Krugman has a “disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults.” He is no less cavalier with quotes. As John Hinderacker at Power Line shows, complete with a recording of the entire interview, Michelle Bachmann was merely using a metaphor. She was holding a town hall meeting with constituents regarding the cap-and-trade bill and said, “I’m going to have materials for people when they leave. I want people armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax, because we need to fight back.” She was arming them with information, not bullets, so they could successfully oppose a terrible bill, not shoot politicians.On June 19, 1954, Joseph Welch asked Senator Joe McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” It turned out to be the tipping point in McCarthy’s career, the moment when public opinion turned decisively against him. By the end of the year, he had been censured by the Senate. He died a few years later, the object of public scorn, which he remains for most.

I hope that Krugman’s column on Monday, when he shamelessly used a tragedy to smear his political opponents, will be his have-you-no-decency-sir moment. He deserves one. He is the Joe McCarthy of our times.

Indeed.™ More on the next page, and some Alinsky Rule #4 Photoshop pushback, after the jump.


At Townhall, Emmett Tyrrell focuses on ground zero of the Times’ credibility meltdown, Krugman’s initial knee jerk blog post on Saturday, when he teed off on Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, the Tea Party, and railed against the dangers of the international clip art conspiracy. Tyrrell responds:

Loughner is obviously a schizophrenic. I am no psychiatrist, but I would bet he is a paranoid schizophrenic. That is the most dangerous kind of schizophrenic. What he says might matter to his psychiatrist, but it has little significance to the outside world. Yet apparently, it mattered greatly to Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman. This week, he wrote in the Times: “Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right.” And he continued, “It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents” to violence. Now, Krugman has been a columnist for the Times for a long enough time, covering a sufficient variety of political events, for us to deduce that he is a political nitwit. Other Nobel laureates have been nitwits, for instance, Bertrand Russell. There are a lot of political nitwits in this world. Perhaps the Times could give Krugman a cooking column. He would be its Nobel Prize-winning cooking columnist.

Big Journalism’s William J. Kelly is less sympathetic; rather a transfer to less mentally strenuous duties, he’s calling for the Gray Lady to hand Krugman his exit papers:


Clearly, the MSM now has no justification to continue to make bogus charges against Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, or conservatives in general. And Krugman and Olbermann and the rest are in a pickle. This is a potential public relations disaster for the left and they are in the middle of it. Fortunately, they have the MSM to cover-up for them.

It would be media suicide for Krugman and Olbermann to admit they were wrong. Consequently, they have only one choice: continue the lie. They will pretend that the facts are what they publish in their newspapers, what they say on TV, and what they write in their blogs. They will continue the hate speech diatribe against Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and the Tea Party as it relates to the Arizona massacre. Truth is not an obstacle.

It is a common liberal tactic in MSM circles: Perpetuate a lie enough and it then becomes truth. As Saul Alinsky said in“Rules for Radicals,”In war, the end justifies any means.” Even the use of a crisis. Moreover, former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel shed light on what a crisis means to the political left: “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” he said.

They aren’t.

This week, a senior Democrat operative apparently told that Obama needs to “deftly pin this on the tea partiers just like the Clinton White house deftly pinned the Oklahoma City bombing on the militia and anti-government people.”

Well, it looks like media like Krugman and Olbermann are doing their best to help them out. In the light of this tragedy, it is unfortunate to have to reduce it now to political terms. It would not be the first time a tragedy was misused by both politicians and the media. As some commentators have correctly pointed out, some members of the media didn’t wait even 24 minutes before trying to exploit, degrade, and distort this true American tragedy for their own gain. They should be worse than ashamed.

They should be fired.


As Kelly writes, “Fortunately, they have the MSM to cover-up for them.” But what if weren’t circling the wagons? As Howard Fineman wrote in Newsweek in a rare moment of mock-introspection shortly after John Kerry was shellacked in 2004:

A political party is dying before our eyes — and I don’t mean the Democrats. I’m talking about the “mainstream media,” which is being destroyed by the opposition (or worse, the casual disdain) of George Bush’s Republican Party; by competition from other news outlets (led by the internet and Fox’s canny Roger Ailes); and by its own fraying journalistic standards.

So how would a publication like Newsweek cover this story if it were being objective? Yes, yes, Newsweek, objective? I keed! I keed! But still, let’s take their cover from April of 2009 featuring Krugman and simply replace the copy with what the magazine wrote later that year for their Sarah Palin cover, with appropriate changes for gender and party:

Works for me — what say you, Pinch?

Related: “New York Times Tells Lie Big Enough To Earn It Another Pulitzer.”

Walter Duranty, call your office.

Update: Gentlemen, start your airbrushes!

Update: Broadway Babies Say Jim Beam White.


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