Paul Krugman Calls Mort Zuckerman a Liar

Mort Zuckerman

Mort Zuckerman

Mort Zuckerman is a liar. Like the vast majority of conservative commentators he lies through his teeth on a regular basis and his sloped-forward mouth-breathing readings go, “Yup. Uh-huh.”

Well today, Paul Krugman calls out Zuckerman for a recent op-ed he wrote in the Financial Times. Zuckerman sprinkles right-wing lies throughout the entire story, but one Krugman found particularly interesting was his total bullshit out-of-context accusation that President Obama was bashing the business community in a recent speech.

Here’s what Obama said:

Too much regulation or too much spending can stifle innovation, can hamper confidence and growth, and hurt business and families. A government that does too little can be just as irresponsible as a government that does too much — because, for example, in the absence of sound oversight, responsible businesses are forced to compete against unscrupulous and underhanded businesses, who are unencumbered by any restrictions on activities that might harm the environment, or take advantage of middle-class families, or threaten to bring down the entire financial system. That’s bad for everybody.

Nothing shocking here, right? Well, here’s what Zuckerman wrote:

The predilection to blame business was manifest in one of President Barack Obama’s recent speeches. He was supposed to be seeking the support of the business community for a doubling of exports over the next five years. Instead he lashed out at “unscrupulous and underhanded businesses, who are unencumbered by any restriction on activities that might harm the environment, take advantage of middle-class families, or, as we’ve seen, threaten to bring down the entire financial system.”

This kind of gratuitous and overstated demonization – widely seen in the business community as a resort to economic populism on the part of Mr Obama to shore up the growing weakness in his political standing – is exactly the wrong approach.

Obama wasn’t “blaming business.” What he said is that without some government regulation, we’ll have a race to the bottom. One company may want to do the right thing by the environment, but if their competition doesn’t care and doesn’t have to incur the costs associated with caring, well, the good company can’t compete. This is pretty basic stuff. It’s something that the Financial Times should be able to recognize.

Here’s what Krugman had to say:

I think this is telling. This is the only actual example of Obama’s alleged demonization of business that Zuckerman offers — and it’s essentially a mini-Breitbart, a quote taken out of context to make it seem as if Obama was saying something he wasn’t. That’s typical of the whole argument.

Oh, and one more thing: are there no copy editors at the FT? When I quote someone in my column, I supply the source material, and my copy editor checks, not just to be sure that the quote is accurate, but that it’s not taken out of context. But I guess such rules don’t apply if you’re a conservative.

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