This column comes quite close to being deceptive. As a matter of fact... it goes over that line....I'm a Paul Krugman fan. It is the first thing I read in the Times every Monday and Friday. As I was reading the Krugman piece this past Friday (Moment of Truthiness) something was bothering me when he wrote about the open distortions and mistruths that are never challenged:
The breakdown of the mainstream press corps has been a giant problem for decades. Another huge problem: the way the guild will airbrush this problem away. Daily Howler on Krugman column.
aren’t there umpires for this sort of thing—trusted, nonpartisan authorities who can and will call out purveyors of falsehood? Once upon a time, I think, there were. But these days the partisan divide runs very deep, and even those who try to play umpire seem afraid to call out falsehood.My immediate thought was, yes, there is supposed to be an umpire. It is called the press. Like, just maybe the very paper Krugman works for, which, to take education coverage as an example, will print any lie or distortion coming from Arne Duncan, Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee (where are stories on her cheating while the Times hammered Atlanta), Bloomberg, et al.
You'll note that Krugman never goes near the education issue while his colleagues Brooks and Kristof go wilding on teachers and their unions. Krugman talks about the Republican privatization agenda but doesn't connect the Democratic neo-liberal agenda which doesn't stray all that far. Dems may want more government spending but they want to hand the money spent to privatizers, at times making tea party anti-government types look rational.
Anyway, I was glad to see the Daily Howler (In our view, Krugman goes over the line!) take direct aim at Krugman's piece and the press corps in general though I think, as former teacher who does cover ed issues, he doesn't take enough aim at the biased ed deform press.
Press corps gets airbrushed away: Has our political system “been so degraded by misinformation and disinformation that it can no longer function?” That’s the question with which Paul Krugman started yesterday’s column. Plainly, we’d say the answer is yes. We'd say our system has been disabled that way for a rather long time. In our view, misinformation and disinformation were thoroughly clogging the system at least by the start of the Clinton-Gore years. By the end of those years, the disinformation drowned us. In that sense, Krugman was raising a very good question. If anything, he was raising this question a bit late in the game.Good. Howler ties the Clintons to the game. But his aim is on the press corps and Krugman's letting them off the hook.
Krugman correctly suggests that our system has been degraded by misinformation to the point of breakdown. But can you see who’s been airbrushed out of the tableau he’s painting? In the passage we have posted, Krugman portrays a troubling dance between politicians and voters. Not a word is included about a third group—our badly degraded press corps. Remarkably, the press corps doesn’t exist in this column. It’s airbrushing all the way down!
Traditionally, the press corps is supposed to address misstatements by politicians! This is a very basic part of the way our system is supposed to work. Traditionally, even eighth graders have been entrusted with this basic knowledge. America’s press corps, the so-called “fourth estate,” has always played a key role in their civics texts. Krugman wiped this group off the face of the earth.Well, some people -- those in the battle against ed deform -- certainly might agree that if the ed press corps didn't exist we just might be better off. But then again, I might ask Howler to pay more attention to the ed deform crowd and their supporters in the media (like Education Shmation).