Monday, January 10, 2011

Krugman's Climate of Dishonesty

In reading Paul Krugman's column today on the Arizona shooting -- a very predictable column, I might add, given Krugman's political views -- I am struck by the fact that we have a mathematical economist who adds 2 + 2 and gets 5. Not only is his theme dishonest, but he also goes about presenting the information dishonestly.

When he first heard about what happened, Krugman said the following on his blog Saturday:
We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She’s been the target of violence before. And for those wondering why a Blue Dog Democrat, the kind Republicans might be able to work with, might be a target, the answer is that she’s a Democrat who survived what was otherwise a GOP sweep in Arizona, precisely because the Republicans nominated a Tea Party activist. (Her father says that “the whole Tea Party” was her enemy.) And yes, she was on Sarah Palin’s infamous “crosshairs” list.
So, he right away assumes that some Angry White Male Who Belonged To The Tea Party carried out the shooting. Furthermore, he claims that the ONLY angry rhetoric directed against her was coming from the right, yet he apparently ignores (and one wonders if he is doing this on purpose) the hateful rhetoric that was directed at her from the Daily Kos, which is a hard-left Democrat website that adores Paul Krugman.

(The post quickly was taken down after the shooting, as the Kos wanted to make sure that Sarah Palin received the blame. I checked the site this morning and there is no reference to anything the Daily Kos had from its own side, and it once again is blaming Palin and the Usual Suspects from the Tea Party, as well as a quote from Krugman. Gabrielle Giffords, it seems, committed the sin of voting for John Lewis for speaker instead of Nancy Pelosi. Obviously, according to the Daily Kos, that alone was worthy of death.)

Since the shooting occurred, we have found much more information about the shooter, Jared Lougher. Apparently, the guy was somewhat a person of the Left, and it is quite doubtful that Sarah Palin influenced him to do anything. He apparently is someone whose behavior has been growing increasingly bizarre and disruptive. Furthermore, it is abundantly clear that he has had nothing to do with the Tea Party or any of the other protest movements.

All of that information is known to us, and it was available when Krugman wrote today's column. Thus, I come down hard on him precisely because he purposely ignores the facts. Krugman writes:
...there has, in fact, been a rising tide of threats and vandalism aimed at elected officials, including both Judge John Roll, who was killed Saturday, and Representative Gabrielle Giffords. One of these days, someone was bound to take it to the next level. And now someone has.

It’s true that the shooter in Arizona appears to have been mentally troubled. But that doesn’t mean that his act can or should be treated as an isolated event, having nothing to do with the national climate. (Emphasis mine)
In other words, after first having claimed Saturday that the shooter MUST have been tied to the Tea Party, Krugman now ignores the guy's background and life circumstances. Why? It does not fit Krugman's narrative.

As one who does not watch television -- and especially the political talk shows like those on MSNBC with Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow and the ones on the right on Fox News -- I have no idea if the rhetoric is comparable or not between right and left. However, when I read the following from Krugman, I have to wonder how a Nobel Prize winning economist can stretch language with a straight face:
And there’s a huge contrast in the media. Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you’ll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won’t hear jokes about shooting government officials or beheading a journalist at The Washington Post. Listen to Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly, and you will.
Now, I really doubt that either Beck or O'Reilly (neither of whom I respect) have called for political opponents to be shot and killed. I HAVE seen (on YouTube) some of the hateful rhetoric that Olbermann has directed toward Ron Paul. On this segment, he accuses Paul of treason, which carries the death penalty. No doubt, if O'Reilly were to accuse someone of treason, Krugman would claim he was trying to have that person killed.

In other words, with Krugman it is "heads I win, tails you lose." Anyone who disagrees with Krugman and his friends and makes that disagreement public is a traitor and an inciter of hate. Now, this is the same Paul Krugman who has smeared other economists with hateful rhetoric, calling them "zombies." (Robert Murphy lays out the Krugman theme in this insightful article.)

So, in the end, Krugman jumps into what clearly is a tragic situation and throws around partisan rhetoric, makes up his own narrative, and ignores the facts. Had Sarah Palin written that Rep. Giffords was "dead to me" on her website, would Krugman have pretended she never said anything like that?

Right. Years ago, I wrote that Krugman was not an economist, but rather was a political operative. I have not changed that opinion a whit, and Krugman's column today proves my point.

It is one thing for political hacks like Olbermann or Beck or even the people at the Daily Kos to frame everything that happens in political terms and ignore pertinent facts. I expect that kind of behavior from them.

However, when a decorated academic economist does the same -- and calls it careful analysis -- I draw the line. I NEVER have seen or heard hateful rhetoric coming from other Nobel Prize winning economists, ever, and I have spent hours with many of them. Yet, with Paul Krugman, it seems that all we get is hate and name-calling and political talking points. I will let you be the judge of that kind of behavior.


Dan said...

I live in AZ and I agree with your analysis that Krugman is being overtly political in his op-ed given the facts we know about the shooter. However, I have two points:

First, should the Tea Party be surprised that they are receiving flack? The were openly intimidating Democratic candidates before the midterms and Giffords herself was uneasy about the level of rhetoric and threats she had been receiving. They weren't involved with the shooter directly, but words can/do matter.

Second, in what rational country does a person with a history of mental illness and disruptive behavior have such easy access to military grade weaponry? I think that this is by far the biggest issue to come out of this tragedy.


William L. Anderson said...

The criticism would be valid if Lougher were part of the Tea Party. For that matter, I have seen NO public criticism of the "she is dead to me" post on Daily Kos, and Daily Kos even is pretending the post did not happen.

This is pure politicizing of something for partisan gain, period. Keith Olbermann calls for the arrest and imprisonment of Ron Paul (accusing him of treason), but we are supposed to say that is just fine.

If someone were to shoot Ron Paul, would Olbermann be blaming the Tea Party? Would he blame himself and Rachel Mad-dog? I doubt it.

William L. Anderson said...

OK, what if Sarah Palin had declared that Giffords was "dead to me"? Do you think that remark would have been ignored?

By the way, if that remark was meaningless, then why did the Daily Kos scrub it? Furthermore, Palin put a cross-hair on the state, not any candidate. For that matter, when Obama declared that he "will bring a gun" to political debate, do you ignore that, too?

What if Palin had said such a thing? Would you ignore that?

No, you are just trying to score partisan points.

Anonymous said...

A judge is dead.

His death is overshadowed by Giffords in a rather predictable way.

The judge was the target and Giffords is a false closure.

The judge refused to allow the administration to raid pensions. He dead now.

"What if Palin had said such a thing? Would you ignore that?"

Not fair - Obama successfully demobilized the Democratic anti-war effort. Nobody even remembers half the things Barry said to get elected such as a Civilian National Defense Force just as powerful just as strong... AS TEH MILITORY!!!!1!

Dan said...

A liberal blog making a stupid statement is different from prominent politicians in the Republican party encouraging systematic intimidation of politicians and judges through the imagery and actual use of firearms.

Here in AZ, there are tons of examples of people bringing AR-15 semi-automatic rifles and handguns to rallies and campaign events. I just don't think you see the equivalent coming from mainstream Democrats.

I wouldn't diminish this by saying its all about politics. The past election cycle here was pretty scary in its intensity... and a lot of judges and politicians are really scared for their safety.

I'm not saying this is responsible for the incident, but Republicans shouldn't cry about being demonized for it either.

Anonymous said...

Krugman was arguing against violent language and imagery. Not angry language.

Unknown said...

Where was Krugman when a president of a teacher's union in New Jersey asked his membership to pray for the death of Gov. Chris Christie?

Digital Ruse said...

God I love google cache:!-And-is-now-DEAD-to-me!+My+CongressWOMAN+voted+against+Nancy+Pelosi!+And+is+now+DEAD+to+me!&cd=7&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

Daniel Hewitt said...

Krugman, without waiting for any facts, blamed the right for the Holocaust Museum shooting:

It turned out that James von Brunn was, among other things, a Christian-hating, Jew-hating socialist.

One would think that Krugman would have waited this time, before he wrote that blog post and column. From what we have learned so far, Jared Lee Loughner does not remotely resemble a Palin-worshipping Teabagger.

Daniel Hewitt said...

Markos forgot to scrub this post (that he wrote himself):

"And while people like me will focus on the task at hand this year, it won't be long after Election Day that we'll start looking at the 2010 map, looking for those great primary challengers.

"Who to primary? Well, I'd argue that we can narrow the target list by looking at those Democrats who sold out the Constitution last week. I've bolded members of the Blue Dogs for added emphasis.

[long list of names including Giffords]

"Not all of these people will get or even deserve primaries, but this vote certainly puts a bulls eye on their district."

William L. Anderson said...

Oh, Markos gets a free pass. He is a Democrat. That is all you need to know.

By the way, the Unabomber's views were very close to those of Al Gore, and both used similar rhetoric. Does that mean Gore is responsible for the people that the Unabomber killed? By the logic of some of the people making comments, he is.

My sense is that the political rhetoric and the shootings are not related. This is a political godsend to the left, and since they control most of the media, they can ignore what Kos and others have been saying.

Anonymous said...

Oh shut it, people.

Here in the lovely, peaceful city of San Francisco, lefties bring guns and death threats to protests all the time. I myself (a libertarian) have regularly been threatened with death by Green Partiers, Socialists, and the like.

There IS a problem with vitriol in politics, but it is NOT a partisan problem. In San Francisco, where the vast majority of people are leftist, the leftists are brazen and violent. In Arizona, majority belonging to the right, it's the other way around. It makes perfect sense to me--mob rule and all that. We just have to be respectful of minorities--racial, religious, and POLITICAL.

Check out for details on the violent SF left.

Dan said...

"By the way, the Unabomber's views were very close to those of Al Gore, and both used similar rhetoric. Does that mean Gore is responsible for the people that the Unabomber killed? By the logic of some of the people making comments, he is."

I suppose if Al Gore suggested that suggesting that the Unabomber's tactics had some merit and lefty bloggers began bringing boxed sticks of dynamite to Republican campaign events. I could see your point. Otherwise its a ridiculous comparison.

Mike M said...

Mr. Krugman has once again exposed his true nature. He is a court intellectual cloaked by his puppet masters in the expensive economists attire. He is nothing more than a hired political hack. In a way, Professor Anderson extends credibility to him by engaging his economic “ideas” and while I understand and appreciate it, the unintended consequence is Krugman receives some element of credibility as a result.

What is disturbing as I read responses on this blog, and many other blogs and general media is this:

We have serious problems that require serious adults to engage in discussions and craft solutions. Instead we have too many children masquerading as adults engaging in narcissistic schoolyard rants. Far too many people in positions of responsibility are stunted emotionally and intellectually stuck in adolescence.

We have been blessed with a gift to be born in this country yet we waste it. We are better than this. We have an obligation to our children and all those who have made sacrifices before us to conduct ourselves with honor and integrity. Shall we?

Anonymous said...

I find it ironic that one of the last things Gabby Giffords did before this horrific tragedy was to read out loud the 1st Amendment to the Constitution on the House Floor. She is also a supporter the 2nd Amendment. Yet people like Krugman are cashing in on this tragedy by trying to take away these rights.

Bob Roddis said...

Speaking of hysterical rhetoric, listen to Lawrence O'Donnell, one of the many vile liberals of MSNBC, explaining how Rand Paul will cause the end of the world economy and known civilization:

Bob Roddis said...

Krugman had a blog post today saying that "[G]oldbuggism is intellectually easy".

I pointed out to him that it can't be that easy, or otherwise he might have the slightest familiarity with Austrian School theory:

complexphenom said...

"By the logic of some of the people making comments"

Let's just admit that it's no logic at all. To credit such a term to their shameless/politically-opportunistic rants borders on inappropriate.

liberals are such liars said...

there is no evidence that the shooter followed any politcal party. no where on any of the kid's youtube, etc does he mention political affiliation. he seemed to have a problem with govertment in general. his own 'friends' called him a left winger and a pothead. the kid was a flag burner, an atheist, and had a skull shrine in his back yard =occult.

in no way is this kid's views reflective of the tea party. if anything the kid was on the very far left=anarchy. the kid had been in commnication with gifford as long as 2+ years ago before the tea party had any traction.

The partisan political left has finally without all doubt been exposed for the opportunists that they are--which is a good thing to come out of this senseless tragedy.

Roth said...

It's actually funny how much round-about discussion is in these comments.

Viewing your country from the outside, the glaring and sad fact is that you allow crazy people to walk in to stores and buy semiautomatic weapons.

Your interpretation of the second amendment has gotten a little out of hand hasn't it Yanks?


Anonymous said...

@Roth: Yeah, we already have restrictions against people such as Lougher with histories of mental illness to prevent them from obtaining firearms. They didn't work in this instance, as they rarely do.

Anonymous said...

actually there was no police or hospital record of Loughners mental illness, so the gun dealer had no reason not to sell him the gun . He passed the background check. His parents should definietely be questioned about why they didn't seek proper psychological care for the boy.

As far as gun laws go, this type of crime is not new and it is the price we pay for living in a free society. Lunatics exist and will unfortunately commit heinous acts, hopefully we catch them before the crime more often than not.

i definitely wouldn't want to live in Europe where only mafia and police have access to guns.

Anonymous said...

It's well known that most comments on most blogs are drive bys who don't check back.

So for Dan and Roth, you actually trust someone to certify any person as crazy?

We have soldiers who can't own a gun because someone with a grudge can't handle the idea that not everyone who has lingering scars is a danger to them.

And since when is semi-automatic military grade? Military grade is having access to the sound cannons that they use on peaceful protesters same ones as they use in Iraq.

Dan said...

The background check they do is such a joke that I'm sure he would have gotten the gun even if he had a medical history of mental health illness. Even if he had a criminal record he could have just gone to a gun show!

Oh well, I guess one massacre a year is tolerable in this country of good Christians.

tim said...

@Dan. If guns were illegal, anybody who would want a gun could still get one on the black market.

Drugs are illegal, but can be obtained pretty easily.

Chicago banned guns but is one of the most violent cities in America from gun violence. Whats your point?

Bob Roddis said...

Manitoba has 3x the murder rate of North Dakota, which has a lower murder rate than Canada as a whole. ND is on the Brady hit list of being a place where it's very easy to get a gun.

The eastern provinces have very low rates, like Maine.

People cause crime, not guns.

Anonymous said...

"Here in AZ, there are tons of examples of people bringing AR-15 semi-automatic rifles and handguns to rallies and campaign events. I just don't think you see the equivalent coming from mainstream Democrats."

And when I served in Desert Storm I never found it curious that most of us in the military were conservative... rarely did I find a new york frothing dem with an M16 in the desert with us.