Kristof insults the world: We remain amazed by Nicholas Kristof’s latest attack on decency. As a portrait of the world of the “press corps,” we think his latest conduct deserves another brief look.
For background, see yesterday’s post.
Kristof did two remarkable things at the start of Sunday’s column. First, he performed the greatest cherry-pick a person could imagine. He then used his grossly misleading “examples” to pimp this remarkable slander:
“We know Johnny can’t read; it appears that Johnny is even worse at counting.”
That’s an astonishing thing to say. It’s also amazingly ugly. Let us add a basic point, one we chose to skip yesterday:
When people are told that Johnny can’t read, they’ll often think this mainly means that our black kids can’t read. These are the kinds of images a “journalist” like Kristof has chosen to peddle when he insists on playing these ugly, deceptive games.
For years, we’ve begged the Kristofs of the world to tell the public about the large gains in math and reading scores achieved by our black and Hispanic kids.
They not only refuse to tell the truth; they insist on pimping disinformation. Presumably, this makes them popular in the land of wealthy men.
As it turned out, yesterday was quite a day for this familiar deception to reach an ugly low point. People like Kristof refuse to share the encouraging truth with the public. In the absence of that information, days like yesterday will give many people a set of extremely negative understandings, ideas and impressions.
We really think the New York Times needs to explain why Kristof did what he did in Sunday’s column. They’ve been misleading the public for years about the dumbness of Johnny and the haplessness of his unionized teachers. Yesterday, Kristof took that propaganda campaign to the level of unfettered insult.
Moving right along:
What Kristof did is astoundingly strange—but so is the 23-year jihad waged against both Clintons and Gore. Many “liberals” are still unable to see that. This brings us to a mistaken impression Paul Krugman revealed in a recent post.
For starters, good for Krugman! In response to his newspaper’s latest “bombshell report,” he offered this sensible warning about “the Clinton rules:”
KRUGMAN (4/24/15): So there’s a lot of buzz about alleged scandals involving the Clinton Foundation. Maybe there’s something to it. But you have to wonder: is this just the return of “Clinton rules”?Quite correctly, Krugman warns readers about the decades of disinformation enabled by “the Clinton rules.” He also warns about Peter Schweizer, who he calls “a real piece of work.”
If you are old enough to remember the 1990s, you remember the endless parade of alleged scandals, Whitewater above all—all of them fomented by right-wing operatives, all eagerly hyped by mainstream news outlets, none of which actually turned out to involve wrongdoing. The usual rules didn’t seem to apply; instead it was Clinton rules, under which innuendo and guilt by association were considered perfectly OK, in which the initial suggestion of lawbreaking received front-page headlines and the subsequent discovery that there was nothing there was buried in the back pages if it was reported at all.
Some of the same phenomenon resurfaced during the 2008 primary.
So, is this time different? First indications are not encouraging; it’s already apparent that the author of the anti-Clinton book that’s driving the latest stuff is a real piece of work.
Again, maybe there’s something there. But given the history here, we’d all be well advised to follow our own Clinton rules, and be highly suspicious of any reports of supposed scandals unless there’s hard proof rather than mere innuendo.
How about this: Are the authors of the Times’ new report about the Clintons also “real pieces of work?” For obvious reasons, Krugman couldn’t ask that question. So we’ll ask it for him.
(Is Nicholas Kristof a “real piece of work?” Increasingly, it seems clear that the answer is yes.)
As Krugman ended his post, we think he may have erred in his judgment. He suggests that our emerging progressive world will finally push back, after all these years, against the Clinton rules:
KRUGMAN (continuing directly): Oh, and the news media should probably be aware that this isn’t 1994: there’s a much more effective progressive infrastructure now, much more scrutiny of reporting, and the kinds of malpractice that went unsanctioned 20 years ago can land you in big trouble now.We think Krugman is too sanguine here. No one is easier to con that the kind of self-impressed liberal/progressive who wrote the first letter in Saturday’s Times about its bombshell report.
That fellow swallowed the new story whole. For the text of his letter, click here.
No one is easier to con than us self-impressed liberals! We’re filled with a sense of our vast moral greatness. And for us to be morally great, long lists of The Others must be highly impure.
For many years, we’ve been told that the Clintons belong on this list. As with Gore, so too today—we tend to be happy to buy the tales “the news media” are selling.
We’re dumb and self-righteous and nobody likes us! We’re willing to swallow what Kristof sells. The chances are good that we’ll buy this latest tale too.
Alas! Last Thursday night, Chris Hayes embraced the new “bombshell report.” We’ll show you what he said by the end of our series this week.