Harper's Magazine

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  • You need to read WaPo "through a filter," too

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    This is a pretty compelling criticism of the Washington Post: a Sunday "economy watch" article by Washington Post staff writer Frank Ahrens quoted Paul Krugman, then spent two paragraphs warning readers not to trust him, including this: "When you read Krugman on economics, you need to read him through a filter. " But when Ahrens quoted Peter Boockvar, an equity strategist for Miller Tabak (whose comments, Ken Silverstein notes, were "far more political than anything Krugman offered") he didn't include any such disclosures or disclaimers.

    I'd say it's the kind of thing the Washington Post's ombudsman might want to look into -- but since it contains actual examples of flawed Post content, and since those examples don't fit into the neat little "liberal bias" frame he's so fond of, I doubt Andrew Alexander will pay it any attention. But you should keep it in mind the next time he frets about the paper's "institutional bias" against conservatives.

    Speaking of reading "through a filter," that might not be a bad approach when it comes to Ahrens. Here's what he said about Krugman:

    When you read Krugman on economics, you need to read him through a filter. He believes that the $787 billion government stimulus approved last year was not enough to really kick-start the economy and that much more is needed. You can correctly read many of his columns — including this one — as arguments for more taxpayer-funded stimulus. So just know that.

    When you read Frank Ahrens on economics, you need to read him through a filter. He seems to prefer tax cuts over government spending as a means of stimulating the economy (economists like Mark Zandi disagree) and thinks the way to deal with a stalled economy is to focus deficits. So just know that.

    And once you know that, it probably isn't surprising that he'd suggest in what is ostensibly a straight news story that Paul Krugman should not be trusted as much as Peter Boockvar.

  • Media figures continue to suggest Clinton will pursue rogue agenda if named secretary of state


    Media have continued to respond to reports that President-elect Barack Obama is considering naming Sen. Hillary Clinton secretary of state with the smear that she (or Bill Clinton) might pursue her own agenda as secretary of state and not President-elect Barack Obama's, including the assertion that "Obama may wake up one day and discover that Hillary has decreed a new 'Clinton Doctrine' of foreign policy."