Friday, April 2, 2010

"Memo to Paul Krugman and Rep. Van Hollen..."

If you have followed my writings for a while, you know that I was a huge fan of Paul Krugman's. His columns were insightful, based on sound economic principles and facts. But then something changed once Hillary Clinton was shoved out of the process by the DNC - he immersed himself in the Kool Aide, and started smoking that Hopium. Now, he is writing columns not on economics - which is his field, but more political punditry. Without the facts that is, apparently.

Here's the thing. Recently, Sarah Palin put a map on her Facebook page of Democrats to target in the November election. Apparently, Krugman took exception to it in a big way, according to this article: Memo to Paul Krugman and Rep. Van Hollen: My Search Was Not in Vain.

So what did Krugman say? This:
In last Thursday’s column, Paul Krugman admitted to having fun watching “right-wingers go wild.” One of the things that apparently delighted him was this map which Sarah Palin posted on her Facebook page:

Each of the cross-hairs represents a Democrat from a conservative district who voted in favor of health reform. Immediately after highlighting the map, Krugman wrote:

All of this goes far beyond politics as usual…you’ll search in vain for anything comparably menacing, anything that even hinted at an appeal to violence, from members of Congress, let alone senior party officials….to find anything like what we’re seeing now you have to go back to the last time a Democrat was president.

Wow. Those are STRONG words. Presumably, an academician, and a writer for the NY Times would do a search, or have fact checkers do it for him, before making such a claim. One would think, anyway. Think again:
Really, Paul? I’ll search in vain?

The map appears on this page of the Democratic Leadership Committee website (dated 2004 during the Bush years). I guess we could argue over whether the DLC counts as “senior party officials” but they’re certainly as much a part of the party as Palin who, after all, currently holds no elected office.

Granted these are bulls-eyes instead of gun-sights, and the targets are states not individual congressmen. But we’re really splitting hairs at this point. This map and the language it uses (Behind enemy lines!) are, if anything, more militant than what Palin used in her Facebook posting.

But wait, there’s more!

When Palin’s map became an issue, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, leader of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), rushed on MSNBC to denounce it, telling Chris Matthews:

I really think that that is crossing a line…In this particular environment I think it’s really dangerous to try and make your point in that particular way because there are people who are taking that kind of thing seriously.

You may recall that I had a video up recently of Rep. Chris Van Hollen making outrageous claims about what was in the Health Care Bill, completely denying components of it that were well documented. Evidently, that trend is continuing:
Really, Chris? So what do you think about this map?

Each one of those red targets represents a “Targeted Republican” like this one:

There’s even a helpful legend that makes it clear that’s precisely what the little red targets represent:

You’ll never guess where I found this map. That’s right, it’s on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) website. They launched the site and the map on February 23rd of this year, making it just over a month old. And yet Van Hollen was quoted by Politico just today denouncing Republicans for “pouring more and more gasoline on the flames.” Right back at you, pal.

Okay, this map was put up about a month ago, and the chairman of the committee on whose website it is doesn't seem to know it's there? Huh - well THAT says a lot. And none of it good, because he is either a liar or ignorant:
Rep. Van Hollen used MSNBC to claim Palin’s map was dangerous. In fact, the website of the organization he runs has a nearly identical map. Rep. Van Hollen should be asked to explain the differences between the two maps. Specifically, what makes Palin’s map “dangerous” and his map not so much?

Paul Krugman used the megaphone of the NY Times to state that Palin’s Facebook map went “far beyond politics as usual.” He further claimed, “you will search in vain for anything comparably menacing…from members of Congress.” Notice he didn’t say it was hard to find or rare. He said, in effect, that it didn’t exist. But since my search was not in vain, the Times should issue a correction noting that Krugman got it wrong.

Ummm, well, seems to me they are pretty much the same. I'm no hunter, but I don't think there's a whole helluva lot of difference between a bullseye and a sighting target.

How is it that two major media outlets are so lazy about facts? I admit, MSNBO has lost a ton of credibility after the 2008 Elections and onward, but still - to not even bother to fact check at ALL?? I am really surprised by Paul Krugman. I thought he was better than that. While he may have consumed copious quantities of Kool Aide, I did not expect him to make completely unfounded claims in order to ratchet up anger at someone (in this case, Sarah Palin). That is a sad state of affairs, if you ask me. Like John (the author of the article above), the NY Times has a duty to its readers to print a retraction. I hope they do. Their reputation has already been damaged by partisan reporting, and this won't help one bit.

Is it really too much to ask to have news sources, and their pundits, base their opinions on actual facts? So it would seem...

ON A DIFFERENT NOTE: My heart goes out to our fellow citizens in the Northeast, especially Rhode Island, while they deal with record breaking rains, and devastating floods. Many of the areas hardest hit by the floods are also experiencing hard hits with unemployment. Unbelievable what is happening there...

May you all be safe, may your losses be few, may jobs increase soon, and may your lives return to normal as quickly as possible.

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