Andrew Sullivan links to this post by Jay Rosen, which has a really excellent discussion of truth-telling in media. Rosen is commenting on another post by Arthur Brisbane, public editor of the New York Times, who wrote:
"I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge “facts” that are asserted by newsmakers they write about... on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney often says President Obama has made speeches “apologizing for America,” a phrase to which Paul Krugman objected in a December 23 column arguing that politics has advanced to the “post-truth” stage. As an Op-Ed columnist, Mr. Krugman clearly has the freedom to call out what he thinks is a lie. My question for readers is: should news reporters do the same? If so, then perhaps the next time Mr. Romney says the president has a habit of apologizing for his country, the reporter should insert a paragraph saying, more or less: “The president has never used the word ‘apologize’ in a speech about U.S. policy or history. Any assertion that he has apologized for U.S. actions rests on a misleading interpretation of the president’s words.”"
I'm glad he recognized Krugman's work at the Times, which despite the vilification of some, has really been a reliable source of speaking truth to political power: all sources of power. Democrat and Republican (and, yes, libertarian). There aren't many people that do that, and almost none that can enlighten people about economics the way Krugman can. Public intellectuals like this are very important. This is a big part of the reason why so many of us thought Krugman was the obvious "modern Bastiat": a champion of the liberal tradition with a deep knowledge of economics, a willingness to directly challenge politicians, and a skill for public communication. This is why a lot of us were really puzzled by the people who seemed to think "modern Bastiat" just meant "most prolific libertarian blogger".
Friday Night Music: The Civil Wars, Billie Jean
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