Friday, October 10, 2003
Big news on the economy: Headline: "Jobless Claims Lowest in Eight Months."
So, when good economic news hits, what can you be sure of? Well, like death and taxes, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman will ignore it.
Krugman comes out today with a defense of name-calling, oddly titled "Lessons in Civility." The column is mainly a hodge-podge of probably the most tame of the zingers being fired back and forth.
However, there are a couple if things that I would like to address:
But conservatives are distressed because those liberals are so angry and rude. O.K., they admit, they themselves were a bit rude during the Clinton years — that seven-year, $70 million investigation of a tiny money-losing land deal, all that fuss about the president's private life — but they're sorry, and now it's time for everyone to be civil.
I don't think any conservatives consider the Whitewater and related investigations "rude." A brief reminder for Krugman:
- Number of Whitewater related convictions: 15 (including the sitting governor of Arkansas)
- Number of times Hillary Clinton said "I don't recall" or its equivalent in a statement to a House investigating committee: 50
- Number of times Bill Clinton said "I don't recall" or its equivalent in the released portions of the his testimony on Paula Jones: 271
According to Krugman, Clinton's lying before a grand jury is just a result of Republicans' "incivility." Nope, no fraud, no perjury here. And would the investigation have lasted as long as it did if those billing records hadn't taken two years to turn up? Clinton was impeached. In the words of your allies: "Move on."
Indeed, angry liberals can take some lessons in civility from today's right.
Consider, for example, Fox News's genteel response to Christiane Amanpour, the CNN correspondent. Ms. Amanpour recently expressed some regret over CNN's prewar reporting: "Perhaps, to a certain extent, my station was intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News." A Fox spokeswoman replied, "It's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than as a spokeswoman for Al Qaeda."
Honestly, I've got no idea why Krugman included this in his column, other than believing that Fox News is right-wing, therefore what would otherwise be considered a little professional rivalry now becomes a right vs. left attack.
I didn't really comment on Amanpour's comment at the time, but speaking as a professional journalist, if she's allowed her reporting to be affected because she feels intimidated by the administration and a rival news organization, then it's time for her to retire. What is perhaps more shocking than her statement, is the fact that she'd make it where anyone else would hear.
While Krugman, expectedly, minimizes Democrat transgressions and maximizes Republican transgressions, he also demonstrates the early onset of Alzheimers (oops, there I go being a big-meanie).
Still, some would say that criticism should focus only on Mr. Bush's policies, not on his person. But no administration in memory has made paeans to the president's character — his "honor and integrity" — so central to its political strategy.
I remember hearing/reading something to the effect that someone had promised the American people "the most ethical administration in history."
Let the name-calling continue.