Just as I’m praising him to the skies, uberjournalist Paul Krugman, not content with two fantastic columns a week, gives us a blog as well. And having discovered it, what is the first post I read on it? Krugman summarising the very point I drew attention to. That he has a subject – the facts and/or arguments about what they are, the truth or falsity of what important people are saying – rather than how what they are spinning is going down.
That’s why I called him an uberjournalist, rather than an uber-economic-journalist. Because so few of the journalists do anything other than comment on how the spinmeisters are spinning.
Here’s a slightly edited version of the post.
[S]ome of my journalistic colleagues seem to want to be in another business namely, theater criticism. Instead of telling us what candidates are actually saying and whether its true or false, sensible or silly they tell us how it went over . . . . During the 2004 campaign I went through two months worth of TV news from the major broadcast and cable networks to see what voters had been told about the Bush and Kerry health care plans; what I found, and wrote about, were several stories on how the plans were playing, but not one story about what was actually in the plans.
[T]his sort of coverage often fails even on its own terms, because the way things look to inside-the-Beltway pundits can be very different from the way they look to real people.Which brings me to the Petraeus hearing.
To a remarkable extent, punditry has taken a pass on whether Gen. Petraeuss picture of the situation in Iraq is accurate. Instead, it was all about the theatrics about how impressive he looked, how well or poorly his Congressional inquisitors performed. And the judgement you got if you were watching most of the talking heads was that it was a big win for the administration especially because the famous MoveOn ad was supposed to have created a scandal, and a problem for the Democrats.
Even if all this had been true, it wouldnt have mattered much: if the truth is that Iraq is a mess, the public would find out soon enough . . .
But heres the thing: new polls by CBS and Gallup show that the Petraeus testimony had basically no effect on public opinion . . . The whole story about how the hearing had changed everything was a pure figment of the inside-the-Beltway imagination.
What I found striking about the whole thing was the contempt the pundit consensus showed for the public it was, more or less, Oh, people just cant resist a man in uniform. But it turns out that they can; its the punditocracy that cant.
Follow his first link and get thoroughly depressed about the state of things.