Paul Krugman today on “The Cult That Is Destroying America,” a dual-edged sword of a title if there ever was one:
The reality, of course, is that we already have a centrist president — actually a moderate conservative* president. Once again, health reform — his only major change to government — was modeled on Republican plans, indeed plans coming from the Heritage Foundation. And everything else — including the wrongheaded emphasis on austerity in the face of high unemployment — is according to the conservative playbook.
What all this means is that there is no penalty for extremism; no way for most voters, who get their information on the fly rather than doing careful study of the issues, to understand what’s really going on.
You have to ask, what would it take for these news organizations and pundits to actually break with the convention that both sides are equally at fault?
Daniel Okrent, July 25, 2004: “Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper? Of course it is.”
* Our “moderate conservative president” just declared that FDR was “actually pretty fiscally conservative.” Oh for the Krugman column that dances on the head of a pin over which is the more “conservative” of the two.
In an editorial today, the New York Times issues a demand to the anti-Islam bloggers whose work Norway terror defendant Anders Breivik cited in his manifesto:
Mr. Breivik appears to have been deeply influenced by a small group of American bloggers and writers who have warned for years about Islam’s supposed threat to Western civilization. Their tendency to paint law-abiding Muslims with the same brush as extremists is repugnant. They need to categorically denounce Mr. Breivik’s depravity.
OK, here’s Robert Spencer on Saturday: “SIOA and SIOE [Stop Islamization of America and Stop Islamization of Europe] declare our sympathy for the victims and relatives of the victims of the heinous mass murders in Norway. We denounce the attacker and reiterate our dedication to the defense of free societies and opposition to all vigilantism and violence.”
And here’s Pamela Geller, also on Saturday: “He is a murderer, a mass murderer. Period. He’s not anything else. He is sick, sick to death and he has aided the enemy in so many ways it defies comprehension. Anyone who would kill children is insane. And if he’s a right winger who hates Muslims, how does that translate into killing a bunch of political youth party Workers’ Youth League? . . . I despise savagery and inhumanity in any all instances. Period. This abject loser lowered himself to sub-human status.”
One need not endorse Spencer’s or Geller’s views to acknowledge that they have already done what the Times demanded of them three days later. The Times’s failure to acknowledge that is sloppy and dishonest.
I don’t think Krugman needs to worry about the Times becoming too fair and balanced anytime soon.