The latest blogger to find himself in an internet shitstorm is New York Time’s opinion columnist Paul Krugman. Yesterday morning he posted a short article to his NYT blog, “The Conscience of a Liberal,” that has sparked quite the controversy.
Of course, yesterday was the 10th anniversary of 9/11. And that’s probably why Krugman’s blog post, entitled “The Years of Shame” became such a hot button issue. That’s not to say that the piece would have gone unnoticed if published on a regular day, but the timeliness definitely stoked the fire. And no doubt, that was part of Krugman’s decision.
In the post, he blames “fake heroes” like Rudy Giuliani and George W. bush for using 9/11 for political reason immediately following the attacks. He says that the memory of 9/11 “has been irrevocably poisoned.” The post is pretty short, so here’s the whole post for your perusal –
Is it just me, or are the 9/11 commemorations oddly subdued?
Actually, I don’t think it’s me, and it’s not really that odd.
What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.
A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?
The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.
I’m not going to allow comments on this post, for obvious reasons.
The post quickly ignited both the blogosphere and Twitter, with many denouncing the post as “vile,” “treasonous,” and worse. The conservative blog Big Journalism called the posts “venom,” saying it was “sanctimonious and self-righteous.”
Mr. Krugman couldn’t contain his vindictive hatred of the President and had to rush to the “blog of record” to let his venom flow. The sanctimonious and self-righteous tone of Krugman’s post is something we’ve grown used to by now: “and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not”. But this use of the 9/11 memorial as an occasion to accuse President Bush and Mayor Giuliani of political war profiteering is beyond the pale, even for Krugman.
This tweet from former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld drew a lot of attention –
After reading Krugman’s repugnant piece on 9/11, I cancelled my subscription to the New York Times this AM.
On the flip side, Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald defended Krugman on Twitter, comparing his remarks and the reaction to the Dixie Chicks’ attack of then President Bush’s Iraq war decisions while overseas.
Michael Moore & The Dixie Chicks were just as right back then as Krugman is today – but today the taboos (& their enforcers) are much weaker
Columnist David Weigel also defended Krugman in a post on Slate –
On a day when everyone else was flashing back to 9/11/2001, I was flashing back to the days and months later, when criticism of the Bush administration returned, and the practioners of it became, briefly, Emmanuel Goldsteins. Remember Susan Sontag? Remember the Dixie Chicks? Remember the campaign to “revoke the Oscar” from Michael Moore? There hasn’t been much criticism of the substance of Krugman’s remarks; denying that 9/11 and counterterrorism strategy became “wedge issues” is denying a few years of political history. The criticism is of Krugman for expressing it.
Krugman posted a follow-up article of sorts about an hour ago on his NYT blog. In that post, he didn’t back down for his previous post, though he said that he should have made some things clear –
Now, I should have said that the American people behaved remarkably well in the weeks and months after 9/11: There was very little panic, and much more tolerance than one might have feared. Muslims weren’t lynched, and neither were dissenters, and that was something of which we can all be proud.
But the memory of how the atrocity was abused is and remains a painful one. And it’s a story that I, at least, can neither forget nor forgive.
Many feel that Paul Krugman was correct in his characterization of political profiteering following 9/11. Conversely, many feel that his comments were completely untrue and baseless. If you agree with Krugman, do you think that the 9/11 anniversary was the proper time for the comments? If you disagree with Krugman, how has what he said affected you, and your relationship with the New York Times? Let us know in the comments.
[Lead Image Courtesy Forbes]