Sunday, May 22, 2005
Krugmania: A couple of notes on The New York Times' most inaccurate, unhinged columnist.
First, his beardedness gave an interview to the Asia Times with the following gem:
Tax increases: "We should be getting 28% of GDP [gross domestic product] in revenue. We are only collecting 17%."
As Donald Luskin helpfully illustrates, federal tax receipts weren't at 28 percent even at the height of World War II.
Second, the Times' ombudsman, Daniel Okrent is leaving the paper at the end of his 18-month term. His final column is up and contains this reference to the paper's op-ed columnists.
2. Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults. Maureen Dowd was still writing that Alberto R. Gonzales "called the Geneva Conventions 'quaint' " nearly two months after a correction in the news pages noted that Gonzales had specifically applied the term to Geneva provisions about commissary privileges, athletic uniforms and scientific instruments. Before his retirement in January, William Safire vexed me with his chronic assertion of clear links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, based on evidence only he seemed to possess.
No one deserves the personal vituperation that regularly comes Dowd's way, and some of Krugman's enemies are every bit as ideological (and consequently unfair) as he is. But that doesn't mean that their boss, publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., shouldn't hold his columnists to higher standards.
I didn't give Krugman, Dowd or Safire the chance to respond before writing the last two paragraphs. I decided to impersonate an opinion columnist.
With reference to Safire, someone send Okrent a copy of this. With regard to the other two, don't hold your breath. The Times editorial page editor -- nor anyone above her in the food chain -- doesn't really care about accuracy or truth.