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Krugman in the Crosshairs

Paul Krugman Talk

Image by Taekwonweirdo via Flickr

Apparently, Paul Krugman is continuing to be a problem for the powerful elite.

From time to time you read a snide comment or a post purporting to prove Krugman wrong. If it comes to his attention, the Nobel Prize-winng economist usually takes the argument apart like a cheap suit.

This past week, he has faced two attacks from the gatekeepers of knowledge in the media.

The first is from a media columnist who has a history of conflict of interest and of missing the point of the subjects he writes about completely.

Most of the article is standard profile fluff, but there is undercurrent of snobbery throughout that seems to say that rich people are hypocrites when they advocate for the middle class and poor.

For example, in Kurtz’ Media Notes profile of the New York Times columnist, he writes:

Krugman would seem to have an exceedingly comfortable life. There’s the large house in Princeton, described by the New Yorker as being in “Japanese modern style,” the New York apartment and the condo on the beach in St. Croix. There are trips to international conferences, most recently in Sweden and Japan. He makes a bundle on writing textbooks with his wife. People’s heads turn in restaurants, like the one where he is lunching.

So, Kurtz seems to say, why doesn’t he just shut the F*&K up?

Like many of the media elite, floating around in the rarified air (and sipping champagne with the politicians and other power brokers they write about), Kurtz cannot fathom why someone would be upset that American is going to hell in a handbasket.

After all, he’s got plenty of money, right?

Krugman started his early columns in the New York Times at the time the Bush Administration took the reigns. As Kurtz does manage to note, the Princeton professor didn’t like the lies and sleight of hand the Bush economic team used to rig the economy for the wealthy.

He called them on it in print. A lot.

This has made Krugman a target for the elite and the right, who bluster nonsensical pronouncements about magical economic forces the defy scrutiny. They usually do this without a shred of evidence to back them up, or by distorting and misreading data.

Krugman writes in a way that takes the complexity of the worlds of finance and economics and makes them understandable to the layperson.

And so, he must be marginalized. Immediately. Mercilessly.

The second attempt this week is also the most hilarious.

As reported in Salon’s “The dumbest attack on Paul Krugman, ever”, blogger Gonzalo Lira, writing for Business Insider tried to twist the Times’ columnist’s word to make it seem that he was advocating starting a war to improve the economy.

Dumb, dumb, dumb:

It’s Krugman’s disturbing, nihilist inference, which he makes over and over, tucked away in his articles, but always there, like a nasty aftertaste of a drink laced with a roofie: So maybe another total war might not be such a bad idea now, so as to get us out of this new Global Depression.

That is what I object to in Paul Krugman: He seems to be offering up another war as the only way to fix the economy.

Of course, Krugman never said or suggested any such thing.

Lira tries to state that Krugman’s reference to World War II’s role in helping bring the U.S. out of a depression (a little-debated fact among economists) as advocacy for starting another war.

Bullshit was called on Mr. Lira by large segments of the blogosphere, and Business Insider yanked the piece with a weak mea culpa:

The post that previously appeared at this URL by the writer Gonzalo Lira makes some claims about Paul Krugman’s stance on war being necessary for the economy that we feel distort Krugman’s actual stance.

It’s clear that certain factions are scrambling to find something to nail Krugman with, with little success.

It’s a good indication that what he is saying is making certain people uncomfortable.

You should read him.

-Chris

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September 29, 2010 - Posted by | Debt, Deficit, Economics, Media Criticism, Politics, Tax Debate, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

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