Wednesday, January 12, 2011

During political celebration NY Times Paul Krugman suggested burning foes in effigy in fire pit behind his house

"To describe the Tucson massacre as an act of "political violence" is, quite simply, a lie. It is as if, two days after the Columbine massacre, a conservative newspaper of the Times's stature had described that atrocious crime as an act of "educational violence" and used it as an occasion to denounce teachers unions.
  • Such an editorial would be shameful and indecent even if the arguments it made were meritorious.
The New York Times has seized on a madman's act of wanton violence as an excuse to instigate a witch hunt against those it regards as its domestic foes. "Instigate" is not too strong a word here: As we noted yesterday, one of the first to point an accusatory finger at the Tea Party movement and Sarah Palin was the Times's star columnist, Paul Krugman. Less than two hours after the news of the shooting broke, he opined on the Times website: "We don't have proof yet that this was political,
  • but the odds are it was."

This was speculative fantasy, irresponsible but perhaps forgivable had Krugman walked it back when the facts proved contrary to his prejudices. He did not.

  • His Monday column evinced the same damn-the-facts attitude as the editorial did.

In the column, Krugman blames the massacre on "eliminationist rhetoric," which he defines as "suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary." He rightly asserts that "there isn't any place" for such rhetoric. But he falsely asserts

  • that it is "coming, overwhelmingly, from the right."...

Krugman's assertion that such rhetoric comes "overwhelmingly from the right" is at best willfully ignorant....

A "bit of eliminationist rhetoric appeared as the lead sentence of an article on the Times op-ed page in December 2009: "A message to progressives: By all means, hang Joe Lieberman in effigy." The author: Paul Krugman.

A March 2010 profile of Krugman in The New Yorker featured this related detail:

Once Obama won the primary, Krugman supported him. Obviously, any Democrat was better than John McCain.
"I was nervous until they finally called it on Election Night," Krugman says. "We had an Election Night party at our house, thirty or forty people."
"The econ department, the finance department, the Woodrow Wilson school," [Robin] Wells [Krugman's wife] says. "They were all very nervous, so they were grateful we were having the party, because they didn't want to be alone. We had two or three TVs set up and we had a little portable outside fire pit and we let people throw in an effigy or whatever they wanted to get rid of for the past eight years."
"One of our Italian colleagues threw in an effigy of Berlusconi."

Burning an effigy, like burning an American flag, is constitutionally protected symbolic speech. It is also about

  • as eliminationist as speech can get, short of a true threat or incitement.
  • To Krugman, it is a fun party activity.

It is shockingly hypocritical for such a man to deliver a pious lecture about the dangers of eliminationist rhetoric.

The Times is far from alone in responding to the Tucson massacre with false accusations and inflammatory innuendos against its foes. We focus on the Times because it is the leader--

  • what used to be called the "mainstream" media."..

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