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Krugman on Froomkin: If you’re right, you’re not a serious person

Dan Froomkin, dismissed for unseriousity

Dan Froomkin, dismissed for unseriousity

It’s odd that peopleon the left, like Krugman, can see the right-left dynamics so clearly but sometimes can’t see what’s going on within their own party.  Nevertheless, this blog post by Krugman is worth reading.  He lays out the unspoken laws of American journalism dynamics for the past decade.  Movement Conservatives were in and they were not to be mocked.  Lefties?  Ehhhhh, not so much.  Froomkin was an apostate.  He was a real journalist who did his job and exposed the follies of the Bush admin.  He was useful, for a time, as a sort of WaPo version of Alan Colmes.  The token liberal.  But Froomkin turned out to be right and that can’t be tolerated.

Now, you might think that the way things turned out — the total failure of movement conservatism in government, and the abrupt, humiliating end to the Permanent Republican Majority — would lead to some soul-searching. But that’s not how human nature works. Instead, it became more urgent than ever to assert that those who didn’t get with the program were flakes and moonbats, not worthy of being listened to, while those who believed in the right to the bitter end were “serious”.

Thus we still live in an era in which you have to have been wrong to be respectable. You’re not considered serious about national security unless you were for invading Iraq; you’re not considered a serious political analyst unless you spent the last 3 years of the Bush administration predicting a Republican comeback; you’re not considered a serious economic analyst unless you dismissed the idea that the Bush Boom, such as it was, rested on a housing bubble.

That’s why the firing of Dan Froomkin now makes a perverse sort of sense. As long as the right was in power, he was in effect the Post’s designated moonbat, someone who attracted readers but didn’t threaten the self-esteem of the self-perceived serious people at the paper. But now he looks like someone who was right when the serious people were wrong — and that means he has to go.

Yes, there’s nothing that will get you shunned so quickly as being right, even by your so-called friends. Heck, Krugman himself still cites Digby, even though she’s lost all credibility to those of us who were right from the beginning.  *We’re* still perceived as “flakes and moonbats” instead of way ahead of the pack.

We feel your pain, Dan.

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84 Responses

  1. Oh, but the dynamic in play is so much more serious here. It’s about journalistic intimidation, and it worked on Krugman himself. Froomkin was gone for a matter of days before Krugman jumped on the FAILboat. You think he didn’t learn the exact lesson he was supposed to learn from that firing? Which is that if you turn your critical eye to Obama, you’ll get fired?

    • Ya’ know, firing Krugman would be a serious mistake on the Times part and would cause nary a blip to Krugman’s popularity. I think if they told him to change his tune, he’d just say sayonara.

  2. I know this is kinda OT. But you have the link to Buzzflash and although I haven’t visited the site since the Primary battle, I took a look. They are still major supporters of Obama, then I see an article citing the sabatogue of the Healthcare plans by Senator Bob Dole and former Sen Tom Daschle. How funny. Their memory is short. Do they not remember that Daschle was Obama’s pick for HHS Secretary? We got very lucky that he didn’t make it in. But how in the world can these people still blindly support this administration while we see these types of things happening. I read the transcript of Obama’s speech to the AMA. I hear him saying that a Public Option has to be included. Its all a whitewash to say he tried but just could not get ‘er done. I’m beginning to wonder what its gonna take to give some pushback to the man in charge before we end up with something so confusing that even the system we have in place which is no system also destroys medicaid and medicare in the process. Just that they want to rush this along so fast makes me very afraid. No wonder reporters will not report. If they go against their advertizers, they’re going to be out of a job. I think we are becoming communists, not socialists, but straight up communists.

    • Communists? Obama is carrying on the Republican majority rule.

    • We are in no way even remotely approaching communism, much less socialism. I think people are confusing authoritarianism with communism because communist regimes were so repressive.
      If we look at a scale where communism is at the far left and fascism is on the far right, we are much closer to fascism. Our country is run by a bunch of old, wealthy, right wing white guys. The last thing they want is socialism in any form. They just want to control everything and let the majority fight for whatever scraps are left.
      Actually, it’s closer to feudalism.

      • Exactly

      • I’m not sure that it’s “closer to feudalism.” I’m not sure that it’s distinguishable from feudalism at all. Obama the Chicago Reagan fan works by trickle down influence and patronage. The only thing we don’t have is the titles.

        Yet, anyway.

        • Yep. I’m guessing they’re holding off on the titles part until Jeb gets in office.

    • I’m been wondering the same thing. And IMO it’s not just kool-aid that they’re drinking at BF. It’s run by a PR guy out of Chicago.

  3. What an insult to nerds!


    Obama was called a nerd at the correspondents dinner.

    • I self-identify as a geek. Nerds are our country cousins. Nevertheless, Obama is not a nerd. He’s one of the mean kids who manages to pass himself off as everyone’s friend until he ditches you for his new best friends.
      And I don’t think he’s that smart. He was just a really good mimic of everything Hillary said first.

      • He ditches you after you finish writing his term paper for him.

        • Yeah, like Bob Capone who I helped through Regents Biology in 10th grade and then ditched me for Patty Rankin at the cast party.
          See if I ever do that again.
          {{still fuming}}

  4. I’m a little disappointed in Krugman because I think he misses the mark. Am I oversimplifying by thinking that Froomkin criticized Bush during the Bush administration and kept his job but, once he started criticizing Obama, he got fired?

    Am I not connecting the dots correctly?

    • I think it’s a little of both.

      But Krugman misses the other point in that we still reward the Obama supporters from last year, even if they gave in only at the end. I can understand why these people don’t want to feel like fools but *we*, who were spot on about Obama and what he was going to do, are still out in the wilderness. We’re not taken seriously. People pat us on the head and tend to ignore us.
      We’re not serious because we actually had the nerve to say, “no huggy, no kissy til I get a weddin’ ring”. If you played hard to get and held onto your vote instead of giving it away for nothing, you get no acknowledgment. The powers that be are still working with the tepid Obama supporters. Somehow, they’re still more valuable.

      • It’s all about marginalizing the truth tellers so the propaganda can continue without interruption.

      • all true, but truth has a way of outing the offenders. it did for bush and it is already coming out about obama and not even 6 months has passed.

  5. Hey!

    You plagiarized my post I was thinking of writing.

  6. LOLOLOLO – 😆 I love you guys!

  7. Amen on the last paragraph! We are the only ones who were right all along.

  8. The prematurely anti-Obama are automatically unserious. After Obama’s center-Right (mostly Right) policies fail, then it will be serious to be anti-Obama, but only from the Right (they will use his failures as proof that liberalism doesn’t work).

  9. How did Digby somehow become the Confluence punching bag? You really think she was in the tank for Obama? Hardly. I wasn’t even aware she was voting for Obama – in fact, I’m pretty sure that by the time Digby voted in CA, Clinton had already dropped out.

    I know Digby, I really like her AND I respect her – which is more than I can say for the majority of A-listers after last year’s primary. (And she’s one of only a handful of big bloggers who ever came to my aid when I was in need. After all, I’m so not-serious – I write about girl stuff!) We exchanged many passionate emails about the out-of-control sexism in the blogosphere during that time and I can tell you, she was going ballistic.

    Sounds like you’re still angry about her not speaking out about it publicly. You know, not everyone is cut out for that kind of emotional firefight – hell, I remember her getting absolutely shredded by some of her commenters for making even the mildest criticisms of Obama. (I have a pretty thick skin myself, yet even I was pretty much an emotional car wreck during that time, for much the same reasons.)

    If you’ve been public enough as a blogger (I’ve always had my real name attached to my work, Digby for the past few years), it limits your “straight” career prospects and you end up depending on advertisers and donations. (And if you’re lucky, a writing gig at a progressive site, like Kevin Drum got.)

    Just imagine what happens when I apply for a job and someone Googles my name.

    Ad rates are based on readership; I lost almost half my readers over the primary and I still haven’t gotten them back. That means my personal donations are way down as a result, just as my unemployment’s running out.

    So yeah, I stood up. But life would be much easier if I hadn’t.

    • It’s not just the failure to speak out, it’s also allowing the comment threads to be taken over by blogosphere bullies.

      Maybe when the A-listers quit treating us with contempt and exercise some control over their comment threads we’ll lighten up.

      I lost respect for Digby when she stated that calling Obama “presumptuous” or “conceited” was a racist dogwhistle.

      BTW – Hillary dropped out after the last primary in June. We had our primary here in California on Super Duper Tuesday in February – Hillary won by 10 points.

    • Susie, we used to admire digby quite a lot. No matter who she supports, she is still a damn fine writer, one of our best.
      But she gave in last year. She had a big billboard and she caved to her users. I’m sorry, there’s just no excuse for giving in when you *know* it’s not what you really believe. Especially for a blogger and especially for a female blogger.
      Your ad revenue declined because of people like Digby. If she and Jane and Christy had stood up and done the right thing, there might have been enough critical mass to present a solid block of opposition. Yes, she would have lost some ad revenue, but *we* wouldn’t have taken her off our blogroll. There’s a good possibility that she would have picked up new readers because we would have directed them to her.
      Actually, I have no idea why you’re complaining. You got invited to meet with clinton, we didn’t, even though we were right from the beginning and never caved for an instant. You’d think someone would at least give us a gold star for that. But no, it’s Chris Bowers and BTD and Jessica Valenti (who sooooo doesn’t understand the feminism thing) who got rewarded with credibility and recognition. This is after we endured being called racists by the likes of Lambert and anglachel who should have known better. We hung in there.
      What you’re telling me is we need a better business model. I’m all for it. As you know, we don’t accept advertising but every one of the bloggers here has gone above and beyond and deserve some form of compensation.
      But please don’t make excuses for Digby. She didn’t have to pick a candidate. All she had to do was be fair and just. And sometimes, it is necessary to be a referee on your own site. It is an obligation to maintain your integrity.

      • Their worship of Obama is directly proportional to their racism.

      • The netroots and white Third Wavers are the racists. Bush III is their fault because they were overcompensating for their “defects.”

    • The job of journalists and wannabe journalists/bloggers is to expose the truth even if it’s from your own side. If Digby or any other blogger cares more about their ad revenue than writing what they truly believe, then they should just pick a side and apply to HuffPo, MSNBC, or FOX. The standards of journalism are nearly non-existent today because news networks care more about their revenue than reporting the facts and calling out politicians and their readers/viewers for (fill in blank here: race baiting, sexism, going to war based on lies, etc.).

  10. Yeah, whatever. So I have the dates wrong – that invalidates everything else? I’m telling you: I had no idea who she was voting for, and I write to her regularly.

    Jesus Christ. So now we’re responsible for everything our commenters say? LOL

    Yeah, she’s got some asshole commenters. Most of us do. She also has TONS of people who savagely attack Obama on a regular basis. Should she remove them to make the Obamabots happy?

    Sounds to me like you’re looking for an excuse to attack her and if so, nothing I say will change that.

    As to INTEGRITY….. dude, I could take your opinion a lot more seriously on that particular issue if you attached your real name to your words.

    Integrity: from the Greek integros. Wholeness. Unity. When your inside matches your outside.

    There’s integrity – and then there’s survival. Isn’t that why you don’t use your name? How do you lecture anyone on integrity when you’re lobbing insults from behind a mask?

    • I was a big fan of Digby back when she was Pseudonymous too. I lost respect for her last year, and it wasn’t because of who she voted for (I have no idea who it was anyway)

      We don’t let our blog get used for spreading misinformation or talking points. We delete comments from people we like and mostly agree with if they step out of line.

      I blog behind an alias primarily because I don’t want who I am to matter. I want to win with facts and logic.

      I don’t blog to be liked and I don’t get a dime for the effort I put into it.

    • First, I don’t have any problems with saying my name. I do it every week on blogtalkradio. Not only that but I have informed my supervisor and my HR department that I run a political blog. I feel it’s best to be straightforward and open. It’s the best policy. I try to stay away from topics that reflect my line of work and my industry. It helps that I work for a French company where arguing one’s point of view is default mode.

      Second, we aren’t attacking her. She was honest about what motivated her in the election. We think she was too influenced by group dynamics to make her a credible read anymore. That’s our opinion. Your mileage may vary.

      Finally, yes, I do think it is a blogger’s obligation to referee her site even if it makes people angry. We don’t let racists linger around here and we tell Republicans upfront that we’re a liberal site. But the main reason we ban people here is because we detect a whiff of propaganda or psychological manipulation. And we are really good at finding it and getting rid of it. That even applies to our own when it comes to sensitive subjects like Israel/Palestine. Readers can disagree with us all they like but the minute they start the emotional manipulation shit, they’re out of here. If more bloggers had done that during the primary, the blogosphere might have kept its fucking head.

      • Amen!!

      • Can’t argue with you there. Personally, I throw anybody off if they say something in comments they wouldn’t say to my face, in my living room – because that’s how I think of my blog, as my personal space.

        But many bloggers have a straight free-speech policy and won’t remove anything unless it’s criminal. I think it’s a distortion of free speech, but not my call.

        • But even with a straight free speech policy, it doesn’t mean that the blogger him/herself has to capitulate to the majority of users of her site. I understand that Digby might have been flooded by Obots. But she didn’t have to validate their point of view. She could have told them the truth about what was happening.

          One other thing that bothered me about Digby’s excuse is that she didn’t think people were taking her seriously because she was a woman. That made it all the more important that she didn’t back down in the face of so much negative crap. It’s the “bitch slap” theory all over again. The Obot hooligans *wanted* to silence her so they wrote things that made her feel bad. And you and I both know that women take insults to heart. It really hurts to be called stupid, old or uneducated or racists. You say you have a thick skin and I believe you. But in this medium, there is simply no reason why any woman blogger should take any of this to heart- at all. The trolls don’t know you personally, they’ve never seen you, they can distort pictures of you, they’re not anyone who counts in your life. And they cannot hurt you by typing nonsensical, hurful drivel on a monitor. They are only black dots. It takes only one well thought witty, biting remark to make them take their fragile egos somewhere else. Where else in the world do women have this power?

          • Maybe it helps if you don’t already know the people who are making the crazy comments. These weren’t trolls; they were people I previously thought of as friends and allies, and that’s what was so upsetting.

            I don’t usually pay attention to other people’s opinions. It might bother me for a little bit but I don’t ruminate over it. But this? These WERE people I knew. So not only was I being attacked, it was by people who used to be long-time supporters. It was emotionally challenging, to say the least.

            Since you were a new site, I don’t think you had that same problem here. You already knew who your detractors were.

          • Susie: I had that happen with friends and neighbors IRL. I can’t imagine it’s any less disturbing than most of us that had that same experience. I still have a friend that tries to convince me I was wrong … I hate going in her bar any more and I used to consider it like my second living room.

          • We’re new – but, we have had to sit on regulars now and then — even ban some. Luckily it didn’t happen that often. But, you are right, it’s a wrenching experience to have someone you feel you know suddenly start attacking you.

          • Getting denounced as racist Republican ratfuckers by people we thought were our friends was pretty traumatic.

            But that happened on the front pages of their blogs, not here.

          • Susie, we had people like that too. I was booted off DailyKos even though I used to regularly make the recommended list. One of the frontpagers told me he didn’t like me personally in a comment thread,
            We got email from people who lost their nerve part way through and turned on us. I had to sit at a lunch table and have people I work with insinuate that I was a racist because I didn’t jump on the bandwagon. Yes, I had to ruin this guy’s lunch when I went off on him.
            The reason why this site got milions of hits during the primaries is because we knew what it felt like to be shunned by our friends. If I had known you were getting so much grief, I would have offered you a cross posting account. i did that for a lot of people who suddenly found themselves on the outside looking in when their friends abandoned them.
            We had the same problems as every other blog site and voter who was standing firm in front of the tsumani. It was no less hard on us. We have the emails to prove it. But the reason we stuck it out is because we really did believe in the issues that held us together and we determined by observation that Obama did not. That is what made it easier to hang tight.

          • That’s so funny. Didn’t you know that RD originally started this site for those of us who were driven off dailykos? I spent more than four years at DK, and I loved and trusted many of the people there.

            But when I started to ask questions about Obama–just questions! I was attacked. When I did my own research and realized what Obama was, I knew I could never vote for him. Do you have any idea what it was like for people like me at DK? Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. To say that we don’t know what it feels like to have friends turn on us is just wrong.

    • Riverdaughter’s real name is out there, and she is the owner of this blog. For loyalty and sheer guts, there is no one better to have as a friend than RD either.

  11. I’m saying that having your real name attached to this work makes a difference in many, many ways it’s hard to anticipate, and it’s not fair to apply these high standards to what is mostly a volunteer calling.

    I go after people in the media all the time for wimping out – because they’re PAID not to wimp out. It’s their job. Volunteers get to decide just how much they want to put it on the line – yes, even Digby and Jane.

    RD, you have no idea why I’m complaining? I like what you do most of the time, and I hate when it devolves into personal crap. (Plus, as I said, I do like Digby, and I hate reading attacks on her every time I come here.)

    I had people who canceled their monthly donations because I had you guys on my blogroll. (And Lambert.) I agreed with enough of what you said on the issues to keep you – but there were times when it was a little nuts over here and it cost me.

    It was an easier decision for me because I don’t have anything to lose.

    As to the Clinton meeting: I don’t care about stuff like that. You think it was recognition of my work? I don’t think so. I never even heard of some of the other bloggers. (I was upset because I thought it was a luncheon, and I was hungry!)

    From what I remember, Armando defended Clinton a lot; and Chris Bowers seems to have seen the errors of his ways. Open Left’s Natasha Chart is as brave and bold a blogger as I’ve ever had the pleasure to know and a wonderful feminist, to boot.

    I appreciate you both taking the time to share your thoughts on this. I hope I’ve added at least a little insight.

    • We had a lot of people take us off our blogroll. We think the folks at Corrente were responsible for spreading a rumor about Dakinikat’s first post. They obvious didn’t take the time to actually read it.

      I think you missed the point I was trying to make about Digby and Jane. We got the same people they did. They tried to wheedle their way in and shape the conversation. But we knew what they were up to. Yes, it is scary being on the outside but there were so many people who preferred to be part of a the group that they were willing to swallow their misgivings. And look what we ended up with for president.

      Think about that, Susie. As crazy as you think it got over here, the convention went down with barely a whimper at how stacked and unfair it was to the average voters. It was reprehensible. And there was barely any outcry except from the few crazy bloggers like us. There’s a whole country in turmoil over the exact same thing and they think it’s their civic duty to do something about it. We just rolled over.

      It’s people like Digby and Jane and Chris Bowers and BTD and Taylor Marsh who *knew* what was happening but chose to not rock the boat that have put us in a very precarious situation. What’s going to happen next year when we want to elect new Democrats who will actually make Obama do something? Are we going to see those people pressured, coerced, blindsided by Chicago style tactics? And when it happens, what are those bloggers going to do about it? Are they going to worry about their ad revenue again?

      And yes, you were recognized by that meeting. Every one of you had the privilege of writing an account of it. That’s a very exclusive little club you belong to.

      Also, if I’m not mistaken, Natasha Chart is an ex-Jehovah’s Witness kid. She probably can smell the bullshit from a mile away.

      • Let’s not forget Chuckles Lemos warning that we had better STFU and get on the bandwagon if we wanted to remain in good standing.

        Taylor Marsh did that and all she got was an old cold tater.

        I’m not a progressive, I’m a liberal.

        Liberals have principles.

        • OMG! Yes, I almost forgot about Charles Lemos. Manoman, the Obots did a number on him. We have the emails to prove it. They would curl your hair. Charles Lemos totally went off the deep end. He was so promising too. I’ll never trust him again.

          • that’s the issue for me, RD, it’s a trust thing … once you put your word out there and you do something to compromise your trustworthiness, I think your total value will keep heading, asymptotically to zero.

        • Taylor Marsh is now begging for donations.

    • but there were times when it was a little nuts over here

      Can you be more specific?

      You can’t be talking about the fauxrages over darkened video, the muslim madrassa, the Somali clothing photo, Tuzla airport, the RFK assassination comment, cuz we didn’t play that game.

      We banned all discussion of the “Whitey tape” and Obama’s birth certificate, along with any suggestion of racism.

      Exactly when and how was it “a little nuts over here?”

      • I’m willing to guess that the craziest it got here was right before the general election so between October and December 2008? Yes, there were still a lot of raw emotions from the primaries so people wanted Obama to lose really bad. I still didn’t think it was as bad as the sexist filth I saw from the so-called liberal sites during the primary.

        • There was a lot of emotion, but we kept a lid on how it got expressed.

          We still do – people wishing harm to Obama get squished, and we rebut anyone who says they want him to fail.

          If he fails we all suffer. We really wish we were wrong about him and he turned into FDR.

          Being right sucks

          • I don’t trust Obama to be anything other than what he is, which is a “safe” corporate choice. Maybe he’ll grow into something more, but I won’t hold my breath.

        • Craziness is in the eye of the beholder, I guess. I’d have to say it got crazy at dailykos. We never had anything here approaching that madness, and they’re still “A-list?” Give me a break!

      • Oh, please. Not that same documentation game the A-list boys always play with the “sexism” crap. I’m trying to engage in a real dialogue here.

        I don’t shock that easily, so whatever it was, if it bothered me, it was bad.

        • I didn’t ask for documentation – I asked you to be specific.

          What did we say that bothered you?

        • Susie, I hope in the future you’ll call us on “bad” when it happens. It’s just not possible to address it when none of us know the specifics.

          • I think this all started over Digby. Digby and TC obviously don’t see eye to eye on things and we (as well as other pro-Clinton blogs) DO have documentation about Digby selling r@ce-baiting crap among other things (such as her extreme dislike for Palin beyond politics). I understand if Susie and Digby are friends that Susie would be offended by some of the comments said about Digby here.

        • Or could it be that your perception was shaped? We have nothing to hide, Susie. Our archives are still available. You don’t have to document anything but if you want to go back and read what we wrote, you might find that in hindsight we were prescient.

          • Frankly, Obama has turned out to be far worse than I ever expected. In that sense, we may not have been “crazy” enough.

      • Don’t forget LBJ/MLK.

  12. Asking me to be specific IS asking for documentation. I don’t remember, and I’m not going to spend hours looking for examples. I’ve repressed a lot from that painful time.

    • You accuse us of craziness and then you don’t want to say why? You don’t remember what you mean?!

      • I didn’t accuse any individual of craziness. I said it got a little crazy over here, because sometimes it did and as a result, I had readers hounding me to take the site off my blogroll.

    • Then perhaps we didn’t do it. Perhaps you have us confused with someone else.

      • I’d just like an example of how we personally attacked Digby. As far as I know the discussion about Digby was based on the quotes she gave to Eric Boehlert.

        • You’re both right. I simply imagined the whole thing and bow to your obviously superior “gotcha!” skills.

          • You’re sure we said all these terrible things but you can’t remember what any of them were?

          • No one is trying to play gotcha. At least I’m not. But I get tired of people throwing out these general attacks on The Confluence and not having a clue what they are referring to.

            I’m sure you were shocked by something. I’m not saying you imagined it. Just maybe it wasn’t as bad as you thought at the time?

          • I think the question should be, did you vote for Obama? Because anyone who could stomach voting for Obama probably would’ve found some of the comments here during the general election “offensive” simply because we did not support Obama and most if not all of the people here did not vote for him. I think a lot of the people who could be defined as “crazy” left for the Widdershins. Personally, I found AngieNC to cross the line many times when she told people who weren’t regulars here to f*ck off. But other than some fights that broke out in the comments (most notably in my mind is the fight between someone from Alegre’s Corner and AngieNC) I didn’t find the posts here to be offensive.

      • Possibly heard it through the grapevine. Or maybe TC didn’t adequately hate Palin and spread enough lies.

  13. I never did any of that crap and if you read my site, you’d know that I’m down on personal attacks in general.

    I do occasionally step across that line, but it’s rare. It doesn’t serve my goals.

    I go after people on issues, not personality. And I can’t ignore what happened in the primaries just because I’m a Democrat – my first allegiance is to the greater good.

    Attacking people personally only allows people to write you off as credible. That’s why I prefer to stick to issues and policies.

    • I know and I consider you credible because of that.

    • We’re not accusing you of anything.

    • We know that and we respect you for it. But now you’re saying we attacked Digby personally and you won’t be specific. I think we deserve some respect for standing up for what we believe in and being loyal to our friends. I don’t think TC has anything to be ashamed of. We’ve been through some turmoil here exactly because we have refused to back down on our principles.

    • Susie – a little background might help you understand our reaction.

      For 9-10 months now we’ve been accused by a variety of people of vague offenses and when we press for specifics we get nothing.

      How are we supposed to rebut or defend against that?

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