For those who don't follow the news like I do, the New York Times' outgoing Public Editor, a man named Daniel Okrent, left his post in a bit of an odd way. He fired off a big shot at my dawg Paul Krugman, accusing him of "shaping, slicing and selectively citing" statistics to serve his political agenda. The accusations listed no specifics, and it seems a troubling thing for the Public Editor -- a position created to facilitate self-examination and reader service at the Times in wake one the Jayson Blair scandal -- to level criticism at one of the paper's columnists only after leaving his post and not when his objections would have, say, had the better effect of correcting any misleading statements.
That is, assuming of course, that there was any substance to Okrent's charges. As the dialog has progressed on the new Public Editor's page, it has become apparent that there isn't.
If you want to read the back-and-forth, I recommend Brad Delong's annotated version of the exchange. Okrent does not come off looking good.
I'm trying to imagine how this happened. It would seem that Okrent sort of fell for a lot of right-wing hooey. The leading theory is that that this might have something to do with the purported 40,000 word correspondence with conservative activist Donald Luskin (not an economist) who writes at the National Review. Okrent seems to have absorbed not only the faulty substance of Luskin's critique, but also his poisonous style. He repeatedly caricatures Krugman as playing to his "acolytes" with his work, effectively striking out not only at Prof. Krugman, but anyone who would bother to support him.
My comment? It's a shame the Times hired such a fucking bitchy little lightweight. Sure he invented Rotisserie League Baseball, and that's cool and all, but his ability to wade in the waters of 21st Century Politics are clearly for shit.