Friday, November 29, 2002

Paul Krugman's undignified descent from distinguished economist to respectable economics-popularizer to partisan hack is already well-documented (by me and others), but even so, his most recent column must be read to be believed. In it, he states that (I'm not making this up) "[f]or most of the last 50 years, public policy took it for granted that media bias was a potential problem"; that "[t]he answer was a combination of regulation and informal guidelines"; and that because "much of that system has been dismantled", today "we have a situation rife with conflicts of interest", in which a "handful of organizations that supply most people with their news have major commercial interests that inevitably tempt them to slant their coverage, and more generally to be deferential to the ruling party".

Memo to Krugman: If you're going to accuse "major news outlets" of being "inevitably....deferential to the ruling party", it would help (1) not to do so in prompt, slavish imitation of recent remarks by Democratic party leaders Tom Daschle and Al Gore; (2) not to cite as your "most important example" a network (Fox News) whose nightly viewership is less than the daily circulation of the newspaper that carries your own twice-weekly, virulently anti-Republican column (to say nothing of all the other newspapers that publish your screeds as New York Times News Service features); and (3) not to propose government regulation as a solution at a time when the ruling party you so passionately rail against has just won complete control of the elected branches of the federal government (and hence, presumably, of any regulatory process that might be established).

Just a suggestion.....

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