Patterico's Pontifications


Paul Krugman Prettifies His Own History of Misstatements

Filed under: Media Bias,Scum — Patterico @ 12:52 am

Paul Krugman has — ever so quietly — issued yet another correction to his recent misstatements about the 2000 election. And guess what? Mr. “Don’t Prettify Our History” has buried the correction online. It never saw the print edition, and has not been appended to the columns that made the original misstatements.

What an incredibly dishonest putz.

Here are the details:

I’m not going to repeat the entire background. I’ve written plenty of posts on the topic in which the whole sordid incident is set forth:

In my comprehensive August 31 post, I noted several problems with the following Krugman assertion:

Two out of three hypothetical statewide counts would have given the election to Mr. Gore.

Among the many problems with this statement, I mentioned this one:

Krugman’s formulation is a play on words that describes two standards favoring Bush (“two-corner detachments” and “clear punches”) as only one (“at least two corners detached”), making it seem like Bush won under only one standard.

As far as I know, I was the first to publicly make this observation. (I noticed it after Tom Maguire had brought Krugman’s likely defense to my attention.) I expressed the observation again in my follow-up summary post on August 31:

Krugman collapses two standards where Bush was the winner into one, using cleverly deceptive language. The original study actually examined four standards, not three — and Bush won two, not one.

As it happens, Don Luskin had independently picked up on this exact point, and verified my observation by talking to the former managing editor of the Miami Herald. Luskin published his findings on August 31, the same day I summarized my post from the day before. Luskin called for a correction — as did I.

Well, guess what? Krugman issued one, on September 2 — and it bore out exactly what Luskin and I had been saying:

In describing the results of the ballot study by the group led by the Miami Herald, I relied on the Herald’s own report, which listed only three hypothetical statewide recounts, two of which went to Al Gore. There was, however, a fourth recount, which would have gone to George W. Bush. In this case, the two stricter-standard recounts went to Mr. Bush.

Krugman also had to acknowledge that he had gotten something else wrong — his earlier assertion that “a more definitive study by a larger consortium that included The New York Times . . . showed Al Gore winning all statewide manual recounts.” As it turns out, no it didn’t:

The later study, by a group including the New York Times, used two methods to count ballots: relying on the judgment of a majority of those examining each ballot, or requiring unanimity. Mr. Gore “won” all six hypothetical recounts on the majority basis. He lost one – in this case, the one using the loosest standard – on the unanimity basis.

Why didn’t you hear about these corrections until now? Don Luskin reported the answer yesterday (h/t Malkin):

Krugman’s admission was never published in the print edition of the Times, so the majority of Times readers have never seen it. And archival versions of the three prior Krugman columns bearing his falsehoods about the consortium’s results remain uncorrected to this day on the Times’s own website and in the Lexis-Nexis and ProQuest databases. So generations of future readers of the “newspaper of record” will see uncorrected falsehoods, even when those falsehoods have been admitted to by their author.

This is pathetic. What is Krugman’s likely defense for this?

I think you can find the answer in Krugman’s barely whispered online correction, in which Krugman claimed that none of the corrections really mattered anyway:

None of this has any bearing on my original point, which was not that the outcome would have been different if the U.S. Supreme Court had not intervened – the Florida Supreme Court had not, in fact, called for a full statewide manual recount – but that the recorded vote was so close that, when you combine that fact with the effects of vote suppression and ballot design, it becomes reasonably clear that the voters of Florida, as well as those of the United States as a whole, tried to choose Mr. Gore.

Hmmm. Well, no, Paul. Your original point was this:

Two different news media consortiums reviewed Florida’s ballots; both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore.

But that was clearly wrong, so then you said this:

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.

But that turns out to be wrong as well — on both counts. The New York Times analysis didn’t show Gore winning all statewide recounts, and the earlier study showed Bush winning two out of four.

But your true overarching point was well stated in the title of your August 22 column: Don’t Prettify Our History.

Ironic, isn’t it, that a column bearing such a title would even today deliberately omit two separate corrections that undercut the partisan point of the column.

P.S. Feel free to write the Public Editor about this. But be prepared to feel like you’re beating your head against the trunk of a tree. They never responded to my e-mails on this, and they’re not gonna respond to yours, either.

UPDATE: Actually, after I wrote this post the Public Editor’s office did send me an e-mail noting that the Public Editor has written about this topic. Go here for details.

UPDATE x2: Tom Maguire, whose excellent research uncovered Krugman’s likely defense so that I could respond to it ahead of time, has more here.

5 Responses to “Paul Krugman Prettifies His Own History of Misstatements”

  1. First, if Al Gore had carried his home state of Tennessee, nothing in Florida would have mattered. But, fortunately for us, the people who knew Al Gore best rejected the native son and voted for George W Bush. Krugman’s sour grapes can’t change that no matter his crooked spin on the Florida recounts.

    Second, the way MSM tried to throw the election in Florida by calling it for Gore with only a tiny percentage of precincts reporting, and those showing Bush ahead, was as obvious an attempt at electioneering as it was premature. The panhandle precincts were still open because that part of Florida is in the Central Time Zone. Calling it early and wrong suppressed the turnout in those largely GOP and military strongholds.

    Third, Krugman doesn’t care about corrections. He looks down his nose at barbarians who don’t kneel and worship at the alter of MSM dogma. You see, Krugman’s the high priest of agenda journalism and those who don’t genuflect are dismissed as something akin to an inconsequential annoyance. Sort of like the illiterate, there, but beneath notice. The Pampered Princes of the Print Media are too busy with more lofty concerns to waste time explaining their lies to heathen doubters.

    Now, if you would only sign-up and pay for the NY Times new on-line subscription service, perhaps your concerns might make it to some entry level radar screen.

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  2. Constitution Day!

    Today’s dose of NIF – News, Interesting & Funny … Consitution Day edition

    NIF (59ce3a)

  3. Patrick – I think Mr. Calame may be on your side. Take a gander at this: Public Editor’s Web Journal.

    The question he poses at the end of this posting is, “A bottom-line question: Does a corrections policy not enforced damage The Times’s credibility more than having no policy at all?”

    My first question is, “what credibility?”
    My next question is, “who goes first? Krugman or Calame?”

    Regret (22cb76)

  4. That is a great job.

    Tom Maguire (3f7e6c)

  5. Anytime, someone’s defense is “that really didn’t matter to my point” you know tha it DID matter.

    Steve L. (b180ce)

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