Friday, September 16, 2016

Chris Cillizza vs. Paul Krugman on How to Judge a Presidential Candidate

Krugman often declares that facts have a well known liberal bias. Here's the rub. The MSM doesn't much care about facts. Remember Chuck Todd grading that Commander in Chief forum?

Trump was bad on substance but Hillary's style in taking relentless questions on emails somehow was wrong on style. Then Todd suggested she just needed to apologize. Gee, if only she had done that.

(She has done it 100 times give or take).

Krugman argues that on the 'character question' which became a big deal it should be remembered during the Clinton 90s-is based on policy.

"... here’s a pro tip: the best ways to judge a candidate’s character are to look at what he or she has actually done, and what policies he or she is proposing. Mr. Trump’s record of bilking students, stiffing contractors and more is a good indicator of how he’d act as president; Mrs. Clinton’s speaking style and body language aren’t. George W. Bush’s policy lies gave me a much better handle on who he was than all the up-close-and-personal reporting of 2000, and the contrast between Mr. Trump’s policy incoherence and Mrs. Clinton’s carefulness speaks volumes today.

"In other words, focus on the facts. America and the world can’t afford another election tipped by innuendo."

What's interesting is that Chris Cillizza sees it about 180 degrees differently, give or take a degree.

"I guess I would argue that writing and reporting about what Clinton did as Secretary of State and since she left office IS a good indicator – perhaps the best indicator – of how she would govern. At the heart of governance is judgement. At the end of the day, your judgment going into office matters a whole heck of a lot more than what your policy proposals are. Why? Because so much of being president is having to make calls on things that you had no idea might be put on your plate when you were running for the office. Policy proposals are great. But they aren’t terribly instructive – at least to me – on how and what a candidate will do as president."

I have to say, having read Cilllizza during this campaign season, he practices what he preaches. I can't think of a single post he's done on any issue.

Now we see it's by design. I'd argue that this is why it always feel to Democrats like the press is actually biased against Dems despite what Rush Limbaugh has preached.
Now it's clear why. If Krugman is right that facts have a clear liberal bias-clearly do on something like climate change or on gay rights-then it's clear that if the media scores policy substance less important than 'optics' or what someone has done while they weren't President-this clearly favors the GOP who is wrong on the issues-on most issues they have the less popular view and on climate change they are clearly at odds with what climate scientists say just as morally they are out of step with the public on gay rights.

Cilllizza is in a sense a Beltway outlier as he is almost a protoype of conventional wisdom, where most decent journalists are a little better than the prototype.

But basically the basic idea is that Krugman is wrong: innuendo is what matters. 

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