Krugman: Our Silly Media Allow Politicians to Get Away With Most Absurd Lies
Why won't the media acknowledge and report the truth rather than made-up issues is the burning question on Paul Krugman's mind in his column Friday. He was spurred by Representative Kevin McCarthy, no longer in the running for Speaker of the House, who guilelessly boasted that Benghazi was all about hurting Hillary Clinton politically, which most sentient beings knew.
The media needs to stop giving politicians milking and pretending to care about issues a free pass, Krugman scolds. Amen!
Consider the example of an issue that might seem completely different, one that dominated much of our political discourse just a few years ago: federal debt.
Many prominent politicians made warnings about the dangers posed by U.S. debt, especially debt owned by China, a central part of their political image. Paul Ryan, when he was chairman of the House Budget Committee, portrayed himself as a heroic crusader against deficits. Mitt Romney madedenunciations of borrowing from China a centerpiece of his campaign for president. And by and large, commentators treated this posturing as if it were serious. But it wasn’t.
I don’t mean that it was bad economics, although it was. Remember all the dire warnings about what would happen if China stopped buying our debt, or worse yet, started selling it? Remember how interest rates would soar and America would find itself in crisis?
Well, don’t tell anyone, but the much feared event has happened: China isno longer buying our debt, and is in fact selling tens of billions of dollars in U.S. debt every month as it tries to support its troubled currency. And what has happened is what serious economic analysis always told us would happen: nothing. It was always a false alarm.
Not just a false alarm, he reiterated, a fake alarm.
The same is true for every pol pretending to care about deficits and proposing massive tax cuts for the rich. It's way past time to call 'bullshit' on that.
Once the fiscal "scare tactics" failed to resonate with the electorate, the issue mysteriously vaporized. Republicans had to find other ways to try to hurt Obama, which was the whole point anyway. Okay, that's politics. More than that, why isn't the mainstream media doing its job of actually informing people? Krugman speculates:
Sometimes I have the impression that many people in the media consider it uncouth to acknowledge, even to themselves, the fraudulence of much political posturing. The done thing, it seems, is to pretend that we’re having real debates about national security or economics even when it’s both obvious and easy to show that nothing of the kind is actually taking place.
The media need to tell the truth. Pure and simple. Not that hard.