Getting Away with Lies
During the Bush (“W”) regime, my husband and I attended an event at the UCLA campus with featured speaker Paul Krugman, a New York Times columnist. That we committed the time to attend the speaking engagement was an indicator of the value we thought Krugman brought to the discussion on the state of the world post the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. The coordinated terrorism perpetrated against the U.S. by 19 terrorists from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Egypt, who commandeered four passenger jets and turned them into weapons of mass destruction, killing 3,000 people, resulted, under W, in a U.S. attack on Iraq, a country not involved in the attack on our country.
At the UCLA event conclusion, Krugman signed his new book, and we got our 30 seconds with the author to commiserate on what a bad direction the Bush administration had taken, as Neocon Central dominated, with the talking head Bill Kristol, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz, Chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee and Prince of Darkness Richard Perle, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, buttressed by Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, bringing their own special gravitas to false narratives.
At the same time, the credibility of The New York Times was shredding. The publication’s reporter Judith Miller had been a reliable water carrier (yellowcake, yellowcake!) for the Bush administration and/or the CIA, helping build the case, based on lies, for an invasion of Iraq.
The newspaper that has used the line, “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” since 1897, perhaps should have revisited that in recent years, maybe adding, “And a Bit of Propaganda Too.” Miller is just one of the failed products of The New York Times. Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of The New York Times, was called out in 2019 for plagiarism in her book, ironically called “The Merchants of Truth.” And how can we forget the infamous Jayson Blair story? His multiple infractions and fabrications/outright lies committed as a reporter at The New York Times were legendary.
Then last year, in a tremendous display showing how cojones-less The New York Times has become, senior management caved to the “woke” they’ve allowed into the publication and accepted the resignation of their editorial page editor, James Bennet, who had the audacity to run a reasonable and sound viewpoint by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). But to the zombified woke, they saw “The Horror.” One of the woke among the Times staff wrote: “Running this puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger.”
Good grief. The exaggeration, the hyperbole and the mindlessness stagger the rational mind.
The Times then added a lengthy editor’s note at the front of Cotton’s commentary. Given the extent of the newspaper’s descent into the abyss and the world of State-Run Media, it’s surprising they didn’t pull the piece.
This brings us back to Paul Krugman. In addition to his Times duties as a scribe, Krugman now fronts a “MasterClass” in which students can learn: “Really good economics has a kind of beauty to it, and it comes down to just two principles. $100 bills don’t lie in the street very long. The other is every sale is also a purchase — things add up.”
Towards the end of the promo teaser for the class, Krugman says, “Don’t let the crazies grind you down.”
Krugman is wholly unaware that he has become one of the crazies — not because of his MasterClass silliness, but for a variety of other missteps, to be explained, that put him squarely on the list of New York Times failures.
But before getting to his most egregious recent Proof of Madness, let’s revisit a few of his misses in his chosen field: economics.
Krugman was one of, granted, many cheerleaders for globalism. I’d wager, however, that the average American who works for a living understood that outsourcing jobs and importing labor offer no silver lining for American workers. Yet, a Yale graduate and Nobel Prize winner in Economics couldn’t figure that out. Journalist and author William Greider outlined many of Krugman’s failings in a piece for The Nation, “Why Was Paul Krugman So Wrong?”
Read too David Harsanyi’s Nov. 19, 2019, piece, “Paul Krugman: Always Wrong, Never in Doubt,” and you might start to think that the economist is an economist in name only, and that his prime directive has been to serve as a propagandist for Democrats, with the 2016–2020 goal of criticizing anything coming from the Trump administration. Wrote Harsanyi, “One of the nation’s leading doomsayers has been The New York Times’ perpetually mistaken Paul Krugman, who warned shortly after the 2016 election that Trump’s victory would trigger a global recession ‘with no end in sight.’”
Until the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the country and the world in 2020, “Trump’s economy” was booming.
Last year, Laurence B. Siegel, in a piece for Advisor Perspectives, “The Wisdom and Folly of Paul Krugman,” wrote in his review of Krugman’s book, “Arguing with Zombies,” that he couldn’t “in good conscience recommend this book, despite its occasional flashes of brilliance.” Siegel wrote:
“Winston Churchill has been quoted as saying, ‘A fanatic is someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.’ Along with Mark Twain and Albert Einstein, Churchill is claimed to have said just about everything worth saying. I don’t know if he said it, but it applies to Krugman, whose Johnny One-Note approach to political discourse is deeply annoying. Because of his obvious talent for a certain kind of economic analysis (he revolutionized economic geography in the 1980s), I just know he has the ability to discern good arguments from bad. Yet, in Arguing with Zombies, he mixes them with wild abandon.”
‘A fanatic is someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.’
In a bit of a non sequitur, moving from the world of economics, last year Krugman said that child pornography being downloaded from his IP address “could be an attempt to Qanon me.”
With that as some backstory on Krugman, let’s move to Twitter, April 2021; wherein, we see the complete devolution of Krugman (@paulkrugman) into the truly crazy zone.
Here are three Krugman tweets of April 22:
“In the past few days I’ve been noticing a lot of what I think of as delusional whataboutism. It runs like this: ‘OK, maybe police are killing an innocent Black person every day or so, but what about all the killing and looting by BLM mobs?’ 1/
“This would be terrible even if the premise were true — the police, empowered by the law, are supposed to behave better than rioters. But the reality is that BLM protests were overwhelmingly peaceful 2/
“Yes, there were bad actors. There are always bad actors in any situation. But not many. The idea that our big cities were under threat is pure malevolent fantasy; BLM may have been the best-behaved protest movement in history 3/”
“Peaceful protests.” Uh, right. How many times has that lie been uttered? Add the famous Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman to the count! And when a reporter is standing in front of a burning building set ablaze by rioters, uh, “peaceful protestors,” that’s just one more example of a peaceful protest.
Dear Reader: How many times can you say, “factually incorrect,” as you read the tweets above?
In 2020, there were 1,021 fatal police shootings. Of those, 457 were white, and 241 were black. In “The Truth About Police Shootings in America,” Dan O’Donnell and Daunte Wright write: “Nearly every single person police officers have shot and killed since The Washington Post started its comprehensive database has been armed, yet the popular misconception persists that law enforcement is killing unarmed black men at a staggering rate.”
One might think an economist would have a better grasp of data! And to think the Left and Rasputin over at Twitter HQ were concerned about Trump’s tweeting. What about this guy Krugman?
In response to another April 22 Krugman tweet, “In reality, given that GOP supporters believe that rampaging mobs burned and looted major cities — somehow without the people actually living in those cities noticing — getting them to see facts about something as abstract as the deficit is a hopeless cause,” National Review Online contributing editor Deroy Murdoch said, “Either this guy is lying, or he’s got some sort of clinical level state of denial, in which case I really recommend he go see a psychiatrist as soon as possible.”
But, it gets worse. On April 23:
“This is what right-wing politics is down to. It’s all false claims about evil liberals, which the base is expected to believe because it’s primed to believe in liberal villainy. They’re not even trying to engage on actual issues 3/
“With ‘replacement theory’ gaining ground, I thought I’d do some quick and dirty number crunching to confirm what I thought I knew. Using PRRI data on % saying undocumented immigrants should be deported, the most anti-immigrant states are those with few immigrants 1/
“This may be bc actually interacting with immigrants you tend to see them as human beings. It may also be bc tales of murdering rapists fly less where ppl can see they aren’t true 2/
“Similar to another thing I’m pretty sure is true: belief that BLM mobs sacked our cities prevails mainly in rural areas, where the reality isn’t in front of ppl’s noses 3/”
Krugman manages to disparage Americans, while pretending that no murders and rapes have been committed by illegal aliens and that riots resulting in property destruction and bodily harm did not occur in many cities across the country for most of last year!
Amazing denial of reality by Mr. Krugman! Or, perhaps there’s more at play. As author Upton Sinclair wrote, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
More amazing to believe is that 4.6 million folks follow this guy on Twitter. But, if we’re to believe that 80 million people put a man of obviously diminished mental capacity and a woman who dropped out of the presidential race early, polling at only 3 percent, in the White House, I guess we can believe anything is possible — no matter how horrifying. Again, “The Horror.”
If we weren’t living in some alternative universe now, Paul Krugman would be fired for lying. That’s because in the real world The New York Times would practice ethical journalism and be a standard-bearer for high-integrity journalistic endeavors. Being fired is the right outcome for an employee who has put forth lies, not once, but repeatedly.
Yes, in a United States that hadn’t become a dystopian morass, Krugman would have been fired by now. But, alas, we are a dystopian mess.
The Nobel Prize folks should consider retracting his prize too.
But, alas, to repeat, we are a dystopian mess. And, the Nobel folks now are as woke as The New York Times, or maybe more woke … woker?
The Nobel descent begins at least with the President Obama nomination for the 2009 Peace Prize. Obama was nominated for the prize 11 days after he took office. In other words, he had done nothing as President to advance peace and presumably to be nominated for the prize.
Advance to 2020, and the Nobel brain trust nominated the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement for the Nobel Peace Prize. (Yes, hard to believe that’s not just an Onion story!) There are so many examples that we are living George Orwell’s “1984.” But this nomination is a primo example. “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” Black Lives Matter, a Marxist movement that’s caused massive social erosion, hatred, destruction and violence is labeled a peace movement.
Among BLM’s early disruptions were shutting down the 101 and 405 freeways in Southern California and intersections in Beverly Hills. The results: PO’d drivers. Wow. That was really productive. And 2020 was BLM’s crown jewel year, as the movement produced chaos, anarchy and social unrest across the country. BLM also advanced the brilliant idea to “defund the police,” and got woke “leadership” in the Democrat party to “bend the knee.” Among the first was one of many feckless Democrat mayors, Eric Garcetti, the legacy mayor of Los Angeles, who indeed did whack the police budget on a force that already was too small for the size of the city.
And Krugman chooses to ignore the reality of BLM. Who is this guy’s master?
The BLM name itself, however, is pretty brilliant. It has a built-in element that one can’t say “no” to. If anyone rejects the organization — “No, I don’t support Black Lives Matter” — the default position is, “You are a racist!” Of course, that has become the default position on many topics, so the “r” word is becoming fairly meaningless, but the woke among us seem unaware of the word’s diminishing power.
The Nobel may become a case study one day in “brand destruction.” If the Nobel continues on its trajectory, at the current rate of destruction, will most people put any stock in this prize? Alfred Nobel started the prize, it’s been written, because he was criticized for his profiteering in arms. This ignited his altruistic side, and he left his fortune for the Nobel Prize. Wonder what Alfred would think of today’s awarding process, including an award to an economist who now appears detached from reality?
So it’s unlikely with the level of wokeness at the Nobel HQ that they will “cancel” Krugman. But aren’t there still some normal folks at The New York Times? Are there no ramifications anymore for lying? Surely yes? If so, it’s time for The New York Times to acknowledge that Krugman’s red button has popped out. He’s done.
Maria Fotopoulos writes about the connection between overpopulation and biodiversity loss, and occasionally about other issues (such as media failure) so outrageous they drive her to write in the tradition of her training — journalism. Contact her on FB @BetheChangeforAnimals.