…but I didn’t expect him to come out and say it. While failing miserably to demonstrate any such improper use of statistics or data by Krugman, former Times public editor and ongoing twit Dan Okrent did at least manage to explain how David Brooks (and yes, Maureen Dowd, as well) stays employed:
I also believe that columnists are entitled by their mandate to engage in the unfair use of statistics, the misleading representation of opposing positions, and the conscious withholding of contrary data. But because they’re entitled doesn’t mean I or you have to like it, or think it’s good for the newspaper.
Really? Columnists are “entitled by their mandate” to mislead and deceive in the New York Times? Clearly, it’s not the role of the just departed public editor to, well, act in the interests of the body public and guard it from deception bearing the Times’ imprimatur.(*) But shouldn’t the actual OP/Ed editor care about such things?
(*) I’m not claiming that some editorial columnists don’t lie and deceive all the time in the Op/Ed pages. But until now I had figured that the editors were for the most part too lazy, and occasionally too stupid, to see what was slipping past them. Apparently, noble geniuses that they are, opinion editors (and public editors) are fully aware of the deceptions by those that they employ, but — alas and alack! — are powerless before the awesome power of writers entitled by their mandates.
UPDATE: Do see Somerby for a nice dissection of Okrent.