Dec
15
2011

Time Paints Paul Ryan as Deficit-Slashing Superhero

The fact that Time magazine named "The Protester" its Person of the Year was maybe a little surprising. Totally unsurprising, though, was the choice of a runners-up: Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, a hero to many in the corporate media for his bold calls to slash government spending on the poor. It's hard to know where to start with reporter David Von Drehle's tribute. But let's try here: Through a combination of hard work, good timing and possibly suicidal guts, the Wisconsin Republican managed to harness his party to a dramatic plan for dealing with America's rapidly rising public debt. Dealing […]

Dec
09
2011

Joe Klein: Newt's Kids-as-Janitors Plan Too Narrow

We know by now that Newt Gingrich thinks he's smart. And we know there are plenty of people in the corporate media who believe the same thing. How do they show their love for the brainy Republican presidential candidate? Time's Joe Klein shows the way in this week's issue (12/19/11) of the magazine. He doesn't think Gingrich should be president, but he does think Gingrich is full of interesting ideas. Well, what about that plan to have kids work as janitors cleaning their schools? Klein's problem with it is that it doesn't go far enough: I've known him for 25 […]

Nov
18
2011

Paul Krugman and the Ghost of the Supercommittee

Paul Krugman argues in the New York Times today (11/18/11) that the failure of the Congressional supercommittee might be a good thing, and that public understanding of what's really happening is hampered by a familiar media problem. He also makes a pretty safe bet about what coverage is going to look like if they fail to reach a deal: So the supercommittee brought together legislators who disagree completely both about how the world works and about the proper role of government. Why did anyone think this would work? Well, maybe the idea was that the parties would compromise out of […]

Sep
14
2011

Bill O'Reilly Polices the 9/11 Boundaries

Fox host Bill O'Reilly knows a thing or two about boundaries. As he told his TV audience Monday night, some "far-left" radicals crossed the line on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote a blog post about how some Republican politicians turned the attacks into a "wedge issue," and referred to George W. Bush and Rudolph Giuliani as "fake heroes." O'Reilly's reaction: Krugman is "insulting his country on the anniversary of 9/11. That is truly despicable." O'Reilly had a little left in tank, so he went after former Times reporter Chris Hedges for […]

Aug
09
2011

Bill O'Reilly and the Imaginary Bush Tax Cut Windfall

Fox host Bill O'Reilly laughs off any calls for increasing government spending to help create jobs. Last week he derided Paul Krugman for demanding more stimulus spending. And this guy teaches economics at Princeton University? Unbelievable. People like Bill O'Reilly don't pay any mind to the fancy pants Nobel Prize committee that gave Krugman one of their liberal awards. Why should he? He knows how the economy really works, as he explained last night (8/8/11): Raising income taxes is not the way out of this. In 2001 and again in 2003, President Bush cut individual tax rates. And what happened? […]

Jul
15
2011

Media Malpractice on the Debt Debate

The convention in mainstream journalism is that the new stories give you the facts, and the columnists give you their opinions (hopefully backed by facts). But in the coverage over the debt ceiling and budget debates sometimes you're better off heading straight to the columns. Today offers a good example. In the Washington Post (7/15/11), Ezra Klein lays out the political dynamic that is rarely explained. As Klein writes, the White House has decided to offer Republicans a deal that is not only much farther to the right than anyone had predicted, but also much farther to the right than […]

Jan
10
2011

Violent Rhetoric and False Balance

Today in the New York Times Paul Krugman (1/10/11) suggests that we not pretend that "both sides" are responsible for toxic political rhetoric: Where's that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let's not make a false pretense of balance: It's coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It's hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be "armed and dangerous" without being ostracized; but Rep. Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the GOP. …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 […]

Oct
11
2010

WPost: The Midterms and 'Big Government'

Sunday's Washington Post (10/10/10)featured a story by Jon Cohen and Dan Balz that led with this claim: If there is an overarching theme of election 2010, it is the question of how big the government should be and how far it should reach into people's lives. The piece is actually an explanation of the results of a newpoll conducted by the Post along with the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University. As Dean Baker noted (10/10/10), "There is absolutely nothing in this article that supports this assertion." He is correct. The Post's report deals with the supposedly conflicted nature of […]

Aug
12
2010

NYT Proves Paul Krugman's Point About Ryan

In his New York Times column on Monday (8/9/10), headlined "The Flimflam Man," Paul Krugman took aim at Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, who has emerged as the GOP's big thinker on budgets: One depressing aspect of American politics is the susceptibility of the political and media establishment to charlatans. You might have thought, given past experience, that D.C. insiders would be on their guard against conservatives with grandiose plans. But no: As long as someone on the right claims to have bold new proposals, he's hailed as an innovative thinker. And nobody checks his arithmetic. Krugman explains that Ryan's plan–big […]

Jul
19
2010

Left to Take Blame for Centrism's Political Disaster–Once Again

In his New York Times column today (7/19/10), Paul Krugman offers a prediction about the likely pundit response to the drubbing Democrats are expected to take in the November elections: What I expect…if and when the midterms go badly, is that the usual suspects will say that it was because Mr. Obama was too liberal–when his real mistake was doing too little to create jobs. Krugman is on solid historical ground here: There is indeed a longstanding pattern of Democratic politicians, previously praised by pundits for their determinedly centrist policies, later being attacked by the same punditocracy for their self-defeating […]

Feb
05
2010

Krugman and Media Deficit Hawks

The fact that Paul Krugman writes columns for the New York Times means that the paper's readers are occasionally treated to a good media criticism–like today (2/5/10). He writes: These days it's hard to pick up a newspaper or turn on a news program without encountering stern warnings about the federal budget deficit. The deficit threatens economic recovery, weâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢re told; it puts American economic stability at risk; it will undermine our influence in the world. These claims generally arenâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t stated as opinions, as views held by some analysts but disputed by others. Instead, theyâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢re reported as if they were facts, […]

Mar
29
2009

An Order of Paul Krugman–Hold the Economics

It's to self-described "establishment" journalist Evan Thomas' credit that he calls attention (Newsweek, 4/6/09) to economist Paul Krugman's progressive criticism of the Obama administration's financial bailout plan; corporate media generally pay much more attention to critics from the right. But the same shallowness that renders most media policy discussions virtually useless infects Thomas' article, which seems more interested in analyzing Krugman's personality than his economics. "A lot of what he says is wrong and not considered," asserts George Mason economist Daniel Klein. Such as? Thomas doesn't say (nor does he allude to Klein's right-wing politics). "In areas outside his expertise […]

Jan
26
2009

Krugman Debunks Bogus Stimulus Critics

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman helpfully debunks (1/26/09) some of the more tendentious and misleading criticisms of the White House's economic stimulus package. Here's one such trope: First, thereâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s the bogus talking point that the Obama plan will cost $275,000 per job created. Why is it bogus? Because it involves taking the cost of a plan that will extend over several years, creating millions of jobs each year, and dividing it by the jobs created in just one of those years. Itâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s as if an opponent of the school lunch program were to take an estimate of the cost […]