Patterico's Pontifications

8/26/2005

Paul Krugman Just Can’t Get It Right

Filed under: Media Bias,Scum — Patterico @ 6:33 am

Paul Krugman writes:

[T]he public editor says, rightly, that I should acknowledge initially misstating the results of the 2000 Florida election study by a media consortium led by The Miami Herald. Unlike a more definitive study by a larger consortium that included The New York Times, an analysis that showed Al Gore winning all statewide manual recounts, the earlier study showed him winning two out of three.

No, no, no, no, NO!!!

I’m going to say this again, v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

Here is what Krugman said in his earlier column, which he is now supposedly correcting:

About the evidence regarding a manual recount: in April 2001 a media consortium led by The Miami Herald assessed how various recounts of “undervotes,” which did not register at all, would have affected the outcome. Two out of three hypothetical statewide counts would have given the election to Mr. Gore.

Okay, stop. Isn’t Krugman saying the same exact thing he said in his correction? Paul Krugman initially said “Gore won two out of three” — and corrected that statement today to “Gore won two out of three.” Call me crazy, but this appears to be the same exact claim.

I’m really starting to wonder whether Paul Krugman is looking at a different 2001 study of undervotes by a consortium including the Miami Herald than I am. Every time I look at my link to the USA Today article on the study, it says Bush won 3 out of 4 times. Let me quote it again, just to make sure I’m not hallucinating:

The newspapers then applied the accounting firm’s findings to four standards [yup, four, not three — hear that, Paul?] used in Florida and elsewhere to determine when an undervote ballot becomes a legal vote. By three of the standards, Bush holds the lead. The fourth standard gives Gore a razor-thin win.

Let me translate that for you, Paul. When it says that four standards were applied, and Bush held the lead in three, I think that means Bush won three of four. I mean, I’m not the New York Times columnist; you are. But that’s pretty much how it reads to this humble blogger.

Krugman, you’re killing me. You’re just killing me.

And I haven’t even gotten to the fact that the fourth standard — you know, the only one in which Gore won — was unreliable:

The USA TODAY[/Miami Herald/Knight Ridder] study shows that Gore would have won Florida by 3 votes if this [fourth] standard were applied to undervotes. Because of the possibility of mistakes in the study, a three-vote margin is too small to conclude that Gore might have prevailed in an official count using this standard.

In other words, the only scenario in which one might conclude that Gore won the undervote recount — is unreliable.

Someone help me. I’m just utterly flummoxed. Is a New York Times columnist just repeatedly lying to his readers about an easily checkable fact, even after getting called on it by his public editor? Or is this guy living in a parallel universe where what he is saying is true? Please, someone help me. What is going on here?

Until I get a better explanation, I’m filing this under “Scum.” Rest assured that I have written an appropriately angry e-mail, directed to the public editor and Krugman both.

UPDATE AND BUMP: Don Luskin is equally confused.

The link to Luskin comes via Michelle Malkin, who generously quotes my post above (thanks Michelle!), and suggests that Krugman’s reference to a Miami Herald study may have been to this study, which also included overvotes.

Luckily, Michelle saves me a second rant by noting that Krugman’s claims would still be incorrect. The study including overvotes also set forth four different scenarios — not three — based upon varying standards applied to punch-card ballots. And it concluded that Bush would have won two of those, not one — and the scenarios favoring Bush were the most likely ones:

Among four possible standards for judging whether punch-card votes are valid, the study shows that Bush would have won under the two that are in widest use across the country . . .”

We’ve got some of the best minds in the blogosphere trying to help one of the mediocre ones (me) figure out just what in the hell Paul Krugman is talking about. So far, no luck. Can anyone else shoot us a clue? The New York Times public editor hasn’t bothered to respond to me.

Absent some lightning bolt from the sky, it continues to appear obvious to me that Krugman still owes his readers a correction of his false statements about the Miami Herald study of undervotes.

UPDATE x2: Tom Maguire tries to answer my questions — but all he really does is confuse me further.

UPDATE x3 8-28-05: Maguire keeps revising his post, and he now seems to have come up with a way to defend Krugman. My reaction is that, if this is Krugman’s explanation, it is more in line with what I’m used to from Krugman: pure dishonesty, but of the slippery kind — not as blatant and black-and-white as that described above. That makes me think Maguire may be on to something. I’m working on a new post with my reactions.

29 Responses to “Paul Krugman Just Can’t Get It Right”

  1. Could he be confusing overvotes with undervotes? I think there were three standards used to check overvotes and Gore won under two of them. I think. (Not sure by how much, either.)

    jaed (0f890e)

  2. Krugman is lying. My crystal ball tells me he will soon drop this issue, stop referring to it, and carry on as if nothing had happened. I suspect that in his mind, nothing has. This is indicative of the Mapes Syndrome, a psychological affliction characterized by the “Oh, well” response. When proved wrong, the sufferer says, “Oh, well,” and strolls away. Subsequent behavior of the Mapes Syndrome victim remains unchanged and a memory lapse blots out what should have been a learning experience.

    L. Barnes (65fac2)

  3. HE DID correct it. He added the assertion that an earlier and more definative study showed Gore winning in ALL cases.

    Is “wronger” a word?

    Kevin Murphy (6a7945)

  4. The man is pathological. He is helpless. He cannot stop lying where politics or economics are concerned. It is not his choice but his compulsion. He wants certain results politically or economically and so he makes things up. Like a kleptomaniac collects items, Krugman collects lies that he then repeats and repeats and repeats like a broken record. He needs psychiatric help. I quit reading him several years ago because I found it too painful to watch this man publicly implode. His ability to distinguish between what he wanted the facts to be and what the facts actually were, disappeared several years ago. It was when he stated that the tax cuts would not stimulate the economy that it became clear that his grasp of reality was tenuous at best. No one with a degree in economics could hold such a view. Now whether tax cuts were the best means of stimulating the economy is a totally different question and open to debate. But Krugman was so compulsive in his desires, that reality and education become meaningless to him. Only his compulsions controlled his thinking: hence his disastrously and embarrassingly wrong analysis of the consequences of the Bush tax cuts. Don’t despair over being unable to reason with Mr. Krugman. Its not you, its him.

    john (fb05db)

  5. I believe he’s referring to this (excerpted):

    NATIONAL DESK | July 15, 2001, Sunday

    EXAMINING THE VOTE; How Bush Took Florida: Mining the Overseas Absentee Vote

    By DAVID BARSTOW AND DON VAN NATTA JR. (NYT) 9418 words
    Late Edition – Final , Section 1 , Page 1 , Column 1

    ABSTRACT – New York Times probe finds Republican drive in days after presidential election to persuade canvassing boards in George W Bush strongholds to waive Florida’s election laws when counting overseas absentee ballots and to disqualify oversees ballots in counties won by Vice Pres Al Gore played key role in election outcome; notes Florida officials, under intense Republican pressure, accepted hundreds of ballots that did not comply with state law; analysis of 2,490 ballots counted as legal votes after Election Day finds 680 questionable votes, with 80 percent of them accepted in counties Bush carried; Bush won state by 537 votes; probe finds overseas ballots were judged by markedly different standards, depending on where they were counted; some voters admit casting illegal ballots after Election Day, interviews; probe finds no evidence either party organized effort to solicit late votes; table; photos; time line (L)

    Excerpt does not seem to mention the fact that “state law” was in abeyance due to a federal consent decree since the state law made it nearly impossible for military votes to be counted. Article probably doesn’t either as it would hinder the spin.

    Kevin Murphy (6a7945)

  6. Did you ever consider maybe he’s looking at a different Miami Herald, or possibly a different Gore vs. Bush race? It would explain a lot.

    Insider (8feb2b)

  7. […] Update: Krugman continues to fib. Surely, Media Matters will be all over this. […]

    SayUncle » Blog Archive » The Paper of Making Up the Record (8b22b3)

  8. “Seems to me
    You don’t want to talk about it
    Seems to me
    You just turn your pretty head and walk away”

    (The James Gang)

    I do understand that it’s grimly fascinating to watch someone of Krugman’s (ahem) ‘stature’ on the national stage defying reality with such determination. It’s well to bear in mind, though, that the disability is a lot bigger than the particular set of facts that he’s mangling at the moment.

    Really: he’s defective.

    That ain’t no “whatever”.

    Billy Beck (bece54)

  9. When someone cites Krugman to bolster an argument, I tell them to go get a real source to back them up. Really, he has no credibility.

    rls (0516f0)

  10. Wow, excellent work. It’s great catching him lying about such an important issue as the election, and on such an easily checkable fact. The guy is a weasel. I’m amused at how the column ends with this tone:

    … the earlier study showed him winning two out of three.

    Thomas L. Friedman is on vacation.

    Shredstar (532850)

  11. Friedman, Krugman, same thing.

    Shredstar (532850)

  12. I think Krugman’s mistake was not honestly stating the the real argument. Bush had a significant advantage when counting only the ballots that were filled out correctly. The argument was over the ballots that were filled out by people too stupid to fill them out correctly. Since it was well established that stupid people tended to vote for Gore by a 9-1 margin, all rejected ballots should have been counted with Gore receiving 90% and Bush 10%. Thus Gore would have won handily.

    Lew Clark (2902cb)

  13. LOL Lew.

    Patterico, I think you can take it as a good sign that the public editor forced him to make a correction at all. That he didn’t actually correct anything is just Krugman. Think about how exasperating it must be for the public editor to be looking at that “correction”.

    Remember, the old public editor said he simply wouldn’t do it.

    So if he’s being forced to correct at all this is a new thing for Krugman. Maybe this will make him think about couching his lies more in the language of opinion in the future.

    In any case the guy is just a lying bag-o-crap and he’ll never change.

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  14. The problem for Krugman (and Rich, Dowd, Wolcott, et nauseum al) is not a mediocre mind, but a mind thoroughly diseased and unbalanced. Hatred sustained at the level he has (they have) reached really does make one irrational. Corrosive first of emotional stability, such hatred eventually more generally impairs one’s ability to think and judge rationally. In the end that person loses much more than journalistic integrity; he/she loses integrity as a human being, a person.

    Levans (f49267)

  15. Maybe Krugman will get fired for refusing to correct? Yeah, I know, but I can hope.

    Kevin Murphy (6a7945)

  16. Two Krugman Corrections

    Appended to Paul Krugman’s column this morning were two corrections, one to his original column on the Florida 2000 controversy, and one to his follow-up column:

    Corrections: In my column last Friday, I cited an inaccurate number (given by the…

    Lying in Ponds (0164ec)

  17. Lunch: 8/26/2005

    Try one of these specials with your lunch: Patterico reads Krugman’s correction. Sigmund, Carl and Alfred wants an honest discussion with the cut-n-runners. Phin finds that it’s a dirty job. Beth answers a question. Harvey (Bad Example version) speak…

    basil's blog (af7df9)

  18. Your frustration is due to the fact that Krugman is not writing in English, but a language which shares the same symbols and syntax but has different symantics.

    Once you realize this, his articles become a fun challenge; see how much of the language
    you can reverse engineer using a single article. Then try with a month’s worth of articles. For instance, clearly in his language 2 denotes 3 and 3 denotes (henceforth ->) 4. Now we look at the symbol “takes”. Could this denote “loses”? Other possibilities are “Gore” -> “Bush” and “Bush” -> “Gore”.

    Eddie Colletta (f7e3d3)

  19. My hint – your link is to a MAY 2001 story, but Krugman cites an APRIL 2001 study.

    Also, try this story – I am still researching this, but it looks like a promising trail. Apparently, the Miaimi Herald did publish something in April 2001 that, subject to revisions, led to “Gore Winds”.

    Tom Maguire (3f7e6c)

  20. Bahng Chicka Bonck Beow

    Today’s dose of NIF – News, Interesting & Funny … Workie-too-much Friday

    NIF (59ce3a)

  21. We can’t know what Krugman is thinking. But stirring up the FL 2000 mess is win-win for the left. All the lies get repeated for new voters.

    Now we create a new urban legend “the FL 2000 election has remained disputed for years”.

    People who care enough to check the facts already knew what the post-election reviews showed.

    It is real simple – the election was damn close, Gore had very bad luck with the butterfly ballot and probably would have won if the election rule was to read voters minds, but the rule is to count properly cast ballots.

    Gore deserved sympathy. Laws were changed to improve voting procedures. I hope we do better.

    I didn’t vote for Bush but it is idiotic to distort the investigations five years later.

    It is not clear if columnists are reviewed by any editors at the NYT. Probably not. And lately the NYT doesn’t have a great record in reviewing mere reporters either.

    K (ce24d7)

  22. […] But I really don’t understand the second correction, and that reaction is widespread (Donald Luskin, Patterico). Michelle Malkin seems to have the most complete discussion. I’ll follow the issue and try to untangle it. […]

    Lying in Ponds » Two Krugman Corrections (0164ec)

  23. Do we again have to look at that guy who holds up the ballot to the light and then, with crossed-eyes and an incredulous look, shakes his head and mumbles something to the other bozo beside him? Maybe they are quoting “Miami Harold” who hangs out at the dog track.

    bureaucrat (825e78)

  24. I’m still having liberal friends tell me, as recently as today, that the media consortium said that Mr Gore carried Florida. It doesn’t matter how many times you correct the whacko-leftists, they are going to believe what they want to believe. Heck, there are still well-visited sites like The Brad Blog which claim that John Kerry won the 2004 election! (See No Paper Trail Left Behind: The Theft of the 2004 Election, posted as recently as the 18th of this month!)

    To me, this is a good thing! Terry McAuliffe promised to take revenge for Florida in 2000 by defeating Governor Jeb Bush in his 2002 reelection campaign, and we all saw just how thorough Mr McAuliffe’s revenge was. As long as the Democrats are consumed by what they see as past cheating, rather than looking to the future and trying to find ways to actually win an election, they are always going to be in the minority.

    Of course, if I were to accept the Democrats’ theories about stolen elections, I’d have to note that it was Democrats (Teresa LaPore’s faulty butterfly ballot design in 2000 and the alleged failure of elections officials, who just happened to be Democrats, to have adequate voting machinery available in heavily Democratic areas of Ohio) who cost them those elections.

    Dana R. Pico (0f4734)

  25. Weekend Round-Up

    It’s avalaible online, in pdf, the August iussue of “The New Libertarian”. Click here to download the past iussues. Paul Krugman is not only biased and unfair. He’s also out of luck, because he crossed Patterico on his way.

    The Right Nation (59ce3a)

  26. to put it in simple form, “there are liars, there are dammed liars and then there is krugman.”

    "gunner" (916cf0)

  27. My mamma used to say “You can judge people by their enemies”. Keep up the conflict with Krugman. It looks good on you.

    Nickie Goomba (af7d15)

  28. […] Having just seen the “editing” and “gate-keeping” functions of the mainstream media at their most ineffective during Katrina, which saw Andrea Mitchell immediately expounding on how the New Orleans levees broke “because President Bush has cut funding,” (it took a week for some in the press to sheepishly – and quietly – admit that Bush had allocated more money toward the levees than his predecessor) and having noted poor Byron Calame’s difficulties in getting Paul Krugman or the New York Times to ever acknowledge or correct their mistakes, (a fault the press really hates in George W. Bush) one wonders if President Bush does not share Mrs. Clinton’s concerns about the internet, and about the MSM, too. […]

    The Anchoress » A tip of the hat to CBS (a936fc)


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