Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Luskin: The problem with spear-heading a crusade is that once you're in full attack mode, you seldom pause to question whether your cause is just. With Luskin, there is no doubting his glee in playing "gotcha" with Krugman (side note: Perhaps shockingly, perhaps not, I have almost no first-hand experience with Krugman. Not because I don't like him, but simply because I'm unaware of him. I only read the NYT online, and then, only selectively.), but while he claims Krugman is dead wrong with his "Bush lies" campaign, Luskin is guilty of the same hyperbole in reacting to Krugman saying that NRO has only managed to find him wrong a small % of his columns: "A mind-boggling defense. Actually, it's not a defense at all — it's a confession. He is confessing that he lies — but, he has an excuse: He had to write 100 columns a year! He was too busy to tell the truth."

Language loses meaning when we overuse words or use them consistently in an incorrect way. Here's Merriam-Webster on the word "lie": "to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive". Krugman, like Luskin, like W, is an idealogue. He drapes himself in the clothes of an academic (like Luskin does in the clothes of a journalist; W, a politician), but in the end, he's going to use his pulpit to push an agenda. He wants to discredit Bush. Fine. Luskin wants to discredit Krugman. The point being that Bush isn't "lying" anymore than "Krugman" is. He's taking facts and information he thinks supports his conclusion and uses them. Sometimes he is wrong. Yes, there are better ways to display those facts (a la Bush and the great WMD hunt), but in the end, the goal is not to deceive, I don't think, but to argue, to convince. Stated differently however: if Krugman is lying, then so too is Bush. Luskin can't have it both ways (i.e. Bush as pinnacle of honesty; Krugman a snakey cheat).

Luskin claims to be in the "truth squad". I think he's lying.

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