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The Intellectual Dishonesty of Paul Krugman
by Doug Schmitz
03 November 2003Paul Krugman

In columnist Paul Krugman’s world, the truth doesn’t matter -- just as long as it doesn’t get in the way of his thinly veiled political agenda.

[Paul] Krugman reminds you of one of those dreary people you sometimes meet at social gatherings: They may not know much about politics, but when they make political pronouncements it makes them feel important.

Indeed Krugman has suggested in some of his Times op-ed page columns that because he is so significant a figure, the right wing is out to get him.  He seems to have bought into the idea that there really is a vast right-wing conspiracy, although whether this is more self-aggrandizement, or whether he actually believes it, is hard to say.  But Krugman is also a Princeton professor, so maybe he actually believes it.” 
— John Corry, The American Spectator, Sept. 23, 2002


Unlike most of the nation’s daily newspapers, there are only a chosen few that have their consummate journalistic weed wackers: those refreshingly fair and honest reporters and columnists who choose to make objective swaths through a story with facts and figures, rather than purposely taint them with politically partisan invectives.

Invariably, the latter is the case with the New York Times’ perennial Bushwhacker and ultra-leftist columnist Paul Krugman.  Each week, the ‘Old Gray Lady’ reserves a special place in her heart -- as well as a very costly blot of ink -- for Krugman’s caustic inculcations, which undoubtedly culminate in a pretty hefty, monthly paycheck.

With each polemic stroke of his keyboard, Krugman, a former Enron advisor, anti-war zealot and serial Bush-hating conspiracy theorist, has seemingly made it his overall mission in life to politically assassinate the character of President George W. Bush, as well as other highly respected members of the current administration. 

Whether Krugman’s preaching to the choir inside the office or outside at the newsstands, one thing is clear: despite the Jayson Blair scandal that literally rocked the 152-year old newspaper at its already shaky foundation, the left-leaning Times hasn’t changed one iota in tone or temperament since Howell Raines clone Bill Heller took over the reins in July.

While the Times has both reporters and columnists daily gunning for Bush with both barrels, Krugman, along with leftists Maureen Dowd, Nicholas Kristof and Bob Herbert, assiduously makes it a weekly goal to stick out like a sore thumb in order to trash Bush.

But the reality is, none of Krugman’s fingers have ever been on the collective pulse of mainstream America.  Like the average liberal writer, Krugman is so pitifully out of touch with what’s going on in Washington that he eventually distorts his own shortsighted views of both Wall Street and Main Street.  In fact, the Princeton economics professor is driven more by his utter antipathy for the Bush Administration than he is for conducting any hard-hitting, analytical commentary. 

But if Krugman sees himself as some kind of Republican watchdog or a demagogical thorn in Bush’s side, he’s sadly mistaken.  Because, in the end, Krugman lacks the one ingredient that’s essential for fair and effective political dialogue: intellectual honesty.

Not only does the sanctimonious Krugman love to salve his equally angry Far Left friends with his dilapidated anti-Bush rants, he also enjoys deliberately twisting every bloated charge he levels against Bush.  But Krugman’s rationale, or lack thereof, however, gets lost in translation.

KRUGMAN RANTS WITHOUT RATIONALE  

Blinded by petty partisanship, Krugman is one of the many enigmatic fixtures at that Democratic news release known as the Times.  In effect, Krugman loses all sense of cogency once he goes off on one of his anti-Bush conspiracy theory tirades. 

In Krugman’s world, the truth doesn’t matter -- just as long as it doesn’t get in the way of his thinly veiled political agenda, which is especially telling as the news and opinion pages become more indistinguishable at the Times, the so-called “newspaper of record.”   

It seems that no matter what direction the Bush Administration takes in its foreign or domestic policies, Krugman is right there, steering the political discourse the other way.  And the end result: an 800-1,000-word screed laced with pro-Democrat hyperbole.

For Krugman, what the Bush Administration says or does is of little consequence if he can find something to refute -- or ferret out -- anything that casts Bush in a negative light.  Instead of being intellectually honest with his readers, Krugman views everything through the dirty lens of seething hatred for George W. Bush.

From Operation Iraq Freedom (in which Krugman and his employer had constantly erred), to the corporate debacle of Enron, Krugman has tried to pin nearly every questionable or scrupulous scandal on the Bush Administration in the hopes of somehow claiming a hand in its (albeit, highly unlikely) downfall.

Even as a former Enron advisor, the hypocritical Krugman last year made political hay out of Bush’s practically non-existent ties with the corporation.  But it was Krugman himself who had his hands in the Enron till -- to the tune of $50,000 in consulting fees.

While Bush was only guilty by association, Krugman (along with his friend, Bill Clinton, who struck a multi-billion dollar sweetheart deal in India with former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay that the liberal media ignored) was the one who reeked of Enron corruption. 

As a way of covering his tracks, the anti-capitalism Krugman adamantly refused to admit his own connections to Enron, wrote The American Spectator editor R. Emmett Tyrell: "[Krugman]’s indignation against Enron seems to have developed after it was revealed -- not by Mr. Krugman, mind you -- that he had received $50,000 for being a member of a mysterious Enron advisory group of pundits, most of whose members we now know have last names that begin with the letter 'K,'” said Tyrell in February 2002, shortly after Enron was taking a financial nose drive.

Paradoxically, this is just one of many instances where Krugman prides himself on knowing what allegedly ails the Bush Administration, when, in fact, he doesn’t have a clue.  Krugman seems to believe that he alone holds the keys to the mysteries of Bush’s political universe.  Only now Krugman’s the one who’s been found out.

KRUGMAN CLAIMS ENRON SCANDAL IS WORSE THAN SEPT. 11

Even months before the Enron imbroglio, when the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks claimed the lives of over 3,000 innocent Americans, Krugman asininely thought the greatest watershed moment of our time would be the Enron scandal:

“I predict that in the years ahead, Enron, not Sept. 11, will come to be seen as the greatest turning point in U.S. society,” Krugman wrote on Jan. 29, 2002.

But in his June 3, 2003 column, Krugman flip-flopped for political reasons by claiming: “The public was told that Saddam posed an imminent threat.  If that claim was fraudulent, the selling of the war is arguably the worst scandal in American political history -- worse than Watergate, worse than Iran-contra.”

So which is it, Mr. Krugman? 

The fact that Krugman is so focused on starting all his columns by praising himself for some “epiphany” he illogically gleamed, only further validates the reality that Krugman has abandoned all common sense and logic. 

In fact, Krugman is so severely jaded by his ultra-leftist ideology that he simply refuses to intellectually engage in anything that remotely resembles honest political discourse.  But why would Krugman want to when he can comfortably hide out in his cushy Times office, or sign for millions with liberal publishing houses to sell his lies in book form? 

Nonetheless, it’s typical of many left-wing newspapers that employ liberal op-ed writers who ardently reinforce their newspaper’s politicized editorial stances.  Krugman, like the rest of the liberal media crowd, predicted nothing but doom and gloom, body bags and utter defeat with the war in Iraq.  But they were wrong at every turn and America is still waiting for across-the-board, mea culpa-style retractions (that won’t likely ever come).
 
In fact, Krugman is so unscrupulous in his leftist opinions that Donald Luskin, chief investment officer of Trend Macrolytics, LLC and National Review financial contributor, has formed a watchdog group called “Krugman Truth Squad.”
 
The “Krugman Truth Squad” is a team of voluntary investigative reporters who vet Krugman’s serial fabrications, inconsistencies, slip-ups and distortions.  The squad then compares Krugman’s canards to the actual quotes from sources that Krugman -- who’s irrevocably anti-tax cuts and anti-free market -- purposely spins.

One of Krugman’s many distortions that the squad exposed was his lie about Bush’s tax cuts that appeared in an April 22 column.  (Keep in mind that Krugman, believe it or not, actually is a Princeton economics professor.): “Bush’s proposed tax cuts would cost $500,000 for each new $40,000 job they created (although the cost of the tax cut is spread over ten years and the $40,000 wage is for a single year).”

NEW YORKER, POST RUN WITH KRUGMAN’S ANTI-TAX CANARD

Luskin also pointed out that the New Yorker repeated the lie from Krugman’s column, and then the Washington Post repeated the same lie citing the New Yorker: “As [the New Yorker’s John] Cassidy didn’t have the plain decency to name Krugman as his source, [the Post’s] E.J. Dionne certainly didn’t have to when he took the baton.” 

Again, relying merely on Krugman’s column as their primary source, both Cassidy and Dionne took Krugman’s blatant lie as fact -- without ever bothering to do their own fact-checking to find out whether or not Krugman was being truthful.

Moreover, Timeswatch.org, another media watchdog group sponsored by the Media Research Center that also routinely tracks Krugman’s mendacity, picked up on another Krugman canard in his April 15, 2003 column.

In his typical anti-Republican diatribe, Krugman’s fear-mongering was transparent: “As the war began,” [Krugman said], “members of the House of Representatives gave speech after speech praising our soldiers, and passed a resolution declaring their support for the troops.  Then they voted to slash veterans’ benefits.”

But political columnist David Hoy obliterated Krugman’s false assumptions:  “From fiscal year 2002 to fiscal year 2004, the Veteran’s Administration budget increased from $26.9 billion to $34.1 billion.  Once again, the House GOP’s ‘slash’ is actually a reduction in the rate of increase.”

Timeswatch.org also noted that “Krugman’s baseless attack is reminiscent of the media’s phony scare over Newt Gingrich’s Medicare “cuts” that were actually (again) just reductions in the rates of increase:” “(Sadly, the liberal death-by-a-thousand ‘cuts’ strategy worked.)  But back then such things were said mostly by politicians and reporters, who can be presumed ignorant on economic issues.  Krugman should know better -- after all, he was a respected economist, once.”

As these incidences clearly illustrate, Krugman continues to be exposed as a serial partisan liar -- who’s either ironically “ignorant on economic issues,” or purposely bent on fabricating facts regarding the Bush Administration to further his Far Left positions.

BUSH-HATER JOSEPH WILSON CITED AS ‘CREDIBLE’ SOURCE

In his Oct. 3, 2002 column, Krugman immediately assigned blame to the Bush Administration for the CIA ‘outing’ of Valerie Plame, wife of Bush-hater Joseph Wilson.  Krugman erroneously inveighed that the “right-wing media” was casting “slurs on Wilson’s character and patriotism” for opposing the war in Iraq and “questioning the credibility of intelligence.”

The fact is, we have already seen Wilson’s “character” and “patriotism.”  For instance, when Wilson was sent over to Iraq, it was reported even in the mainstream media that he spent more time sipping tea than he did working on his report concerning weapons of mass destruction.  Like Krugman, Wilson had already made up his mind about Iraq.  Wilson was never really going to strain himself to complete his WMD report, much less take it seriously, because of his open animosity for Bush and the war against terrorism.

So how can Krugman claim that Wilson was ever a credible source of information if Wilson already had a built-in bias against the war in Iraq?  But like all leftists, Krugman takes the words of fellow Bush-haters as factual and runs with them, without ever questioning the motives behind the politically motivated accusations.  In Krugman’s mind, as long as Wilson’s towing the leftist line, he’s not going to second-guess him.

Moreover, despite Bush going to war with Iraq using the same exact arguments Clinton made in 1998, nevertheless Krugman, in his March 19, 2003 column, still incongruously blamed the Bush Administration for relying on that false intelligence information. 

What’s more, despite Clinton bombing Iraq in 1998 as a diversion to imminent impeachment -- and without seeking congressional or U.N. approval, Krugman seems to have always wanted Bush to be Clinton’s fall guy: “What scares me most, however, is the home front.  Look at how this war happened.  There is a case for getting tough with Iraq; bear in mind that an exasperated Clinton administration considered a bombing campaign in 1998.  But it’s not a case that the Bush administration ever made…

“So now the administration knows that it can make unsubstantiated claims, without paying a price when those claims prove false, and that saber-rattling gains it votes and silences opposition…”

CLINTON  BOMBED IRAQ, BUT TOO COWARDLY TO FINISH THE JOB

Again, without ever linking the false intelligence Clinton relied upon to go into Iraq, Krugman excuses the former President simply because he’s a liberal Democrat who thinks along the same lines he does.  Krugman cannot even be honest when claiming that the Bush Administration “made unsubstantiated claims without paying a price.”  Clinton didn’t just consider bombing Iraq, as Krugman asserted; he took out unmarked targets.

Since Krugman’s using that argument, he should be holding Clinton to the same standards he’s now demanding from the Bush Administration.  In Clinton’s bogus wars, he never wanted to face down the terrorists; in Bush’s just wars -- both with Afghanistan and Iraq, he eventually had to finish the job that Clinton was too cowardly to see through. 

The question to ask now is: Where was Krugman’s outrage when Clinton bombed Iraq?  After all, Clinton never had any opposition to his Wag-the-Dog wars: Not from the Left, who seemed to have forgotten that they unquestionably supported Clinton’s Iraqi war -- a war that eventually left Clinton virtually unscathed from leftist criticism.

Yet Krugman cannot admit Clinton’s culpability in dealing with Iraq.  Because by trying to pacify and taunt the terrorists with absolutely no resolve, Clinton hit a hornet’s nest that would later be unleashed once Bush took office.  But maybe that was Clinton’s plan all along.  He probably figured: Why not let someone else deal with the terrorists?

KRUGMAN MAKES POLITICAL HAY OUT OF MEDIA-HYPED LEAK

In his Oct. 3 column about the alleged White House leak, Krugman had a political hay day with this illogical take, where he defended the equally corrupt Joseph Wilson: “Unlike the self-described patriots now running America, Mr. Wilson has taken personal risks for the sake of his country…Many patriots in the military and the intelligence community agreed with him then; even more agree now.”

But what “personal risks for the sake of his country” did Wilson really take?  Again, the reader has no idea because Krugman hides behind the veil of petty partisanship.

This is also another example of Krugman’s disingenuousness when talking about unnamed sources.  Without ever citing who these “patriots in the military” and “the intelligence community” are, Krugman leaves the reader either more hostile towards Bush (which is Krugman’s ultimate goal), or, if they are truly informed readers, receiving further validation that Krugman isn’t being honest with the facts.

David Hogberg, research analyst at the Public Interest Institute, said Krugman must think patriotism was more about opposing the war than supporting it.

In fact, Krugman said: “The true test of patriotism isn’t whether you are willing to wave the flag, or agree with whatever the president says.  It’s whether you are willing to take risks and make sacrifices, including political sacrifices, for the sake of your country.”

But to Hogberg, Krugman is “completely oblivious to the fact that by implying that patriotism is defined by opposing the Iraq war, Krugman has actually imposed a false test of patriotism on Bush,” hence another Krugman flip-flop: 

“[Krugman] is also unaware that he is making a case that President Bush is very patriotic.  Given his recent slide in the polls, Bush’s decision to invade Iraq is turning out to be a political sacrifice made for the sake of his country.

“The irony is so thick you can practically choke on it.  Politicos on one side of the ideological spectrum howl at the top of their lungs about the largely non-existent use of a political tactic by the other side.  Yet, when that same side sees the first opening to use that same political tactic, they exploit it to the hilt.”

KRUGMAN USES HEAVY-HANDED TACTICS TO SPIN CLAIMS

According to political columnist Roger Simon, the problem with Krugman isn’t so much his careless mistakes, but his heavy-handed politics: “But Krugman must get the demon Bush, using any pretext he can, the WMDs in this case.  But let’s give Paul his due.  Let’s stipulate, even though we have no way of knowing at this point, the presence of these weapons was exaggerated by the administration; I still say -- so what?

“Saddam’s gone.  It was worth it.  And I ask Krugman this simple question: What if some leader had used a similar ruse to get rid of Hitler in 1940?  What would he think of that?  Prediction: We won’t be hearing a Krugman answer to that one any time soon.”

Yet another blaring example of Krugman’s intellectual dishonesty was when he defended former vice president Al Gore’s outlandish claim that he invented the Internet. 

In a March 9, 1999 interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Gore said: “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”

Yet, in an Oct. 22, 2000 column, Krugman flatly denied Gore ever said it: “True, Mr. Gore didn’t invent the Internet -- but then he never said he had.”

KRUGMAN TAKES MEAN-SPIRITED SWIPES AT FOX NEWS

One of Krugman’s favorite mud-slinging targets is Fox News.  In fact, Krugman routinely takes swipes at the number one cable news channel. 

In his May 13, 2003 column, Krugman took an underhanded shot at Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto, when he maliciously berated Cavuto for showing too much support for our troops and the war in Iraq. 

In effect, Krugman’s calumniously implied that Cavuto couldn’t possibly be an objective journalist while championing the Iraqi war.  (As if Krugman is objective about anything?)

Cavuto, however, in a May 15 segment at the end of his business news program, “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” said since he is both a host and a commentator, it shouldn’t matter what Krugman thought.  But, for whatever reason, Krugman felt compelled to lecture Cavuto when Krugman himself clearly follows no such journalistic edicts. 

What’s so strikingly dishonest about Krugman’s rationale is that he somehow thought he could oppose the war and actually be more patriotic than Cavuto. 

But Cavuto, who’s one of the most respected business journalists in the news industry, completely eviscerated the self-righteous Krugman’s imbecilic, anti-Fox News charge: “Exactly who’s the hypocrite, Mr. Krugman?  Me, for expressing my views in a designated segment at the end of the show?  Or you, for not so cleverly masking your own biases against the war in a cheaply written column?...I’d much rather put my cards on the table and let people know where I stand in a clear editorial, than insidiously imply it in what’s supposed to be a straight news story.”

In a National Review article, Luskin rightfully defended Cavuto’s Krugman comeback: “Cavuto could have gone further.  He could have -- and should have -- blasted Krugman for daring to preach about “codes of ethics” at a time when the reputation of the New York Times has been shattered by revelations of pervasive negligence that permitted the journalistic fraud of its reporter Jayson Blair. 

“And he could have -- and should have -- blasted Krugman for daring to preach about “blatant partisanship,” when Krugman himself is easily among the most relentlessly partisan journalists in America.”

In the long run, Krugman has proven to be a hypocrite since he regularly uses his anti-war bully pulpit to stir up the fury of the Far Left against Bush.  To Krugman, media bias only applies if the leftist agenda isn’t supported, or the Right’s voice is too loud.

But this is par for the course for angry liberals like Krugman because they never expect to be confronted with their distortions and lies.  And when they are, they don’t have the intellectual capacity, let alone the brutal honesty, to successfully defend them.

Uncovering another lie, Luskin’s “Truth Squad” also revealed Krugman’s dishonesty in statements he made during the Iraq war.  Krugman claimed that many Americans turned to the BBC for their news because they wanted an “alternative” news source. 

KRUGMAN DELIBERATELY SLANTED BBC NEWS SCANDAL

But as Luskin pointed out, Krugman lied about his assertions because “many Americans did turn away from the BBC.  In fact, according to the Nielsen ratings, BBC America’s primetime audience fell from 93,000 households in February to 88,000 in March.  At the same time, Fox News’ audience nearly doubled from 1.7 million to 3.2 million.”

Luskin also cited a May 5, 2003 National Review article that stated Krugman not only lied about the growth of the BBC’s audience, he failed to mention the decline in the Times’ own audience. 
Moreover, a recent audit revealed that the Times’ circulation dropped 5.3 percent year-on-year for the six months ending in March, and is currently down 6.3 percent, Luskin added: “Krugman’s lies mask, in the short-run, the brute fact that audiences are voting with their eyeballs.  They’re gradually turning from the systematic liberal bias of the mainstream media -- and columns like Krugman’s. But America’s most dangerous liberal pundit has a long-run strategy: To take away the audience’s right to vote by converting media to state control.”

Always playing the victim/conspiracy theorist whenever a truly intellectually honest person challenges him, the paranoid Krugman has now accused Luskin of “stalking” him on the Web because they exposed Krugman’s ongoing deceit, Luskin revealed: “Krugman’s rhetorical strategy for some time now has been to assert that to disagree with his opinion is to lie, to advocate policies which conflict with his is to be “political,” and to have a different vision of America’s future is to be part a “radical regime.”  But this is a new twist.  Now, to criticize Paul Krugman is a crime.”

INDEPENDENT MEDIA CHALLENGE KRUGMAN’S LIES

The truth is: Krugman has never had to worry about being challenged for his unfounded accusations against Republican presidential administrations and conservatives -- that is, until the emergence of the independent media.  The liberal media, who have patently agreed with Krugman’s distorted assertions, have always given him a free pass.

But now Krugman is being confronted with his intellectual dishonesty, perhaps for the very first time in his career, and he’s slowly but surely buckling under the pressure.  Because Krugman never has been seriously confronted with any of his purported claims before, he’s now suffering a literal meltdown -- and lashing out at the truth tellers.

Krugman (as seen in his new Hillary-like falsified tome, The Great Unraveling) is a product of what liberalism has come to represent: Categorical dishonesty at the lowest, gutter level -- with no regard for facts or the pursuit of the truth.

While Krugman is certainly entitled to his opinion, he should start being honest with his readers, as well as himself, about facts regarding the Bush Administration or anyone else he decides to skewer -- without disemboweling every single detail for the sake of his own partisan politics.

Bob Kohn, author of Journalistic Fraud: How The New York Times Distorts the News and Why It Can No Longer Be Trusted, said in his Oct. 17 WorldNetDaily.com column: “If the New York Times and their syndicate of accomplices -- can lead the public to believe that the news is worse than it actually is, the Democrats actually have a chance of winning the White House.
 
“This is precisely how Bill Clinton beat Bush Sr.: At a time when Bill Clinton was declaring “It’s the economy, stupid,” the economy was actually on the mend, but you wouldn’t have known it from reading and listening to the mainstream press.”

Did you catch that, Mr. Krugman? 

Kohn, a conservative Republican, candidly admitted that the Democrats could actually have a shot at winning the White House if the liberal media’s bad news bears keep growling about Iraq and the supposedly dismal economy.

Now that’s intellectual honesty.

Doug Schmitz is a conse
rvative columnist who regularly contributes to Etherzone.com, BushCountry.org and has been a guest columnist for Accuracy in Media (www.aim.org.). © Doug Schmitz.  All Rights Reserved.

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