MONDAY, MARCH 4, 2013
Chait and Krugman swallow the apple in defense of the guild: Yesterday morning, Ezra Klein published the world’s most ridiculous column in the hard-copy Washington Post.
The column appeared at the top of page one of the Post’s Business section. See our earlier post.
Yesterday morning was the first time we had seen the column. The day before, we had spent a chunk of time on the pointless column Ezra published in Saturday’s hard-copy Post. (In fairness, “pointless” is better than completely insane.)
Back to Sunday’s column, the one which was completely ridiculous:
As part of the peculiar new tradition by which newspapers give away their content even before it can be purchased, Klein’s hard-copy Sunday column appeared on-line on Friday afternoon. When it appeared, Jonathan Chait lightly challenged its premise, while failing to say that Klein had written the world’s most ridiculous column.
To read Chait’s reaction to Klein, click here. You will see that Chait massively understates the lunacy of what Ezra wrote. He describes one small part of the lunacy, completely ignores all the rest.
Having been subjected to a wet-noodle challenge, Klein offered a post in which he manfully noted that his original column was wrong.
On Sunday morning, Paul Krugman got into the act. In this post, he cited the back and forth between Chait and Klein—but he too failed to describe the complete insanity of Klein’s original column. Even worse, Krugman complimented Klein at two different places for “manning up” about the fact that he had been wrong.
“Props to Ezra,” he fawningly said. Krugman praised Klein for correcting himself, failed to ask why any liberal would have published such manifest nonsense in the first place.
Our view? Klein’s original column was so absurd that it was almost surely a con—a pile of bullshit he composed to please hard-copy Business readers and kiss the ass of Republicans. (A column by Ezra appears every Sunday in the hard-copy Business section.) Because the column was so absurd, it’s very hard to believe that Ezra could have believed what he wrote.
Chait and Krugman don’t seem to want to go there. They are members of a club; Ezra is in the club too. Professional courtesy seems to have these tyros covering for their ambitious young friend. If you doubt that, once again:
Review the way Chait understates the sheer absurdity of what Ezra wrote. In his challenge, Chait almost wholly ignores the vast sweep of Ezra’s ridiculous claims.
We’ll return to our original question from earlier today:
Does anyone think that Ezra Klein really believed what he wrote in that column? We will continue to guess that he was just casting himself in the role of Very Serious Boy, typing a column which would be pleasing to the Post’s Sunday Business readers.
To that original question, we’ll now add two more:
Does anyone think that Jonathan Chait wasn’t pulling his punches when he critiqued Klein’s column? Does anyone think that Krugman told you what he really thinks?
The swells will always take care of the swells! In the process, you the rubes get disregarded. People like Klein will get nudged away from their “mistakes”—in this case, from a “mistake” which was so absurd that it can’t have been done in good faith.
Klein wrote the world’s most ridiculous column. Anyone with an average IQ can see the sheer lunacy in what he wrote. Obviously, Chait saw how absurd that column was. Your follow-up question is therefore this:
Why didn’t Jonathan Chait just come out and say so? Why did he choose to tiptoe around, covering up for his friend?
A similar situation within a different guild: Later this week, we expect to do a final post about the widely misunderstood boob song of Seth MacFarlane. We’ll review the way other comedians leapt to poor MacFarlane’s defense.
How far did Penn Gillette take the nonsense? On CNN, he said The Onion shouldn’t have apologized for dropping that C-bomb on 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis! And yes, that is what he said.
The guild will always protect the guild! If you doubt that, just read Chait’s soft-soap reaction to Klein.
Klein lives to con you another day. On the bright side, some day he'll cover for Chait!