November 11, 2003

#131: The Krugman way to correct an error...

P. Krugman

Turning silk purses into sows' ears must be tough work. But for whatever reason, Paul Krugman took a break from his recent attempts to mug the US economy (the same economy that grew 7.2 percent in the 3rd quarter and has produced a quarter million jobs recently) and turned his attention back to the war in Iraq with Support the Troops (11/11/03). The result was one, long howler. Imagine, after eight years of military neglect by the Clinton administration and after two-thirds of elected Democrats opposed the recent funding for troop support and rebuilding in Iraq, Krugman has the audacity to criticize the Bush administration for being too cheap with military spending. Who does he think he's kidding?

The main story, however, occurs near the end of the column when he revisits another of his recent muggings�that of Congressman George Nethercutt. As we pointed out in Squad report #129, Krugman, in quoting Nethercutt, left out the final 5 words of his statement which changed its meaning entirely. Here's how Krugman tries to correct that:

Some say that Representative George Nethercutt's remark that progress in Iraq is a more important story than deaths of American soldiers was redeemed by his postscript, "which, heaven forbid, is awful." Your call.
First of all, these words were not a postscribt; they were part of a complete sentence. Second, the issue is not whether you think Nethercutt is "redeemed" by those 5 words, but whether you have the journalistic integrity to include them in the first place. Did we use "Krugman" and "integrity" in the same sentence? That's a howler in itself.

[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]

Posted by John Weidner at November 11, 2003 7:29 AM
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