by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Kevin D. Williamson argues in a new National Review Online column that a well-known Nobel Prize-winning economics professor falls short of the mark, when that mark is the pinnacle of poor economics writing.
Ask a conservative who is the worst and most destructive writer on the subject of economics, and the answer is bound to be Paul Krugman, which I suspect is very good for his ego. But with all due respect to Professor Krugman, I’d like to suggest that he is nowhere near as destructive a force in our public discourse as is Martin Crutsinger.
Mr. Crutsinger is not a celebrity on the order of Professor Krugman, and he has no Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences to recommend him. What he is is the principal economics reporter for the Associated Press, a position he has held for a very long time. That gives him a reach and influence that Professor Krugman can only envy. Anybody who is paying attention knows what he is getting when he takes up a Paul Krugman column, but the men and women who produce the endless sludge of dreary grey copy of the Associated Press are largely unknown to the general public, and what they write is not, in the minds of most readers, tendentious commentary — it is simply “the news.”
Crutsinger’s name first entered my consciousness sometime during the late Paleolithic era when I was editing wire copy at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal and was struck by his combination of faulty reasoning and Clinton cheerleading. His work has not improved over the years. There is a good deal of liberal bias in the newspapers of even our most conservative cities (Lubbock’s member of the House, Representative Randy Neugebauer, is proud to have been named the most conservative congressman by National Journal in 2011), and the Associated Press is the main conduit of that liberalism. But Crutsinger’s main offense, beyond his unbearable prose, is not his sneaking sympathy for Democrats, but his shallowness.