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Journalistic Incentives

In a Naked Capitalism post extremely critical of this Ezra Klein piece, I was struck by this part:

We then get to more dictation from the Ministry of Truth via Klein:

What’s remarkable about the financial crisis isn’t just how many people got it wrong, but how many people who got it wrong had an incentive to get it right. Journalists. Hedge funds. Independent investors. Academics. Regulators. Even traders, many of whom had most of their money tied up in their soon-to-be-worthless firms. “Inside Job” is perhaps strongest in detailing the conflicts of interest that various people had when it came to the financial sector, but the reason those ties were “conflicts” was that they also had substantial reasons — fame, fortune, acclaim, job security, etc. — to get it right.

Huh? He can write this with a straight face? He has the incentives 100% wrong. Asset bubbles are very popular. They look like increased wealth to the community. That’s why regulators are reluctant to intervene. If they do, they make people look less prosperous immediately, and they can’t prove the counterfactual, if they had left things alone, the damage would have been worse. [. . .] Did Klein miss the rise of access journalism? Clearly so.

(Emphasis supplied.) I doubt Ezra is unaware of the dangers of access journalism, but he is incentivized to ignore it at this point. But I am not big on motive-based analysis and critiques. I'd rather read the "reporting" and analysis on its own terms. More . . .

It so happens that I have largely disagreed with Ezra Klein's policy and political analysis for many years now. But I've never felt the need to criticize him personally for what I believe is flawed analysis. My criticisms of him were entirely based on what I felt was his perpetuation of a falsehood -- that his analysis of the health care debate was the "progressive"/Left leaning one. It was not. It was wrong of him to allow folks to pretend it was.

At this point, it seems silly to rely on journalism and analysis for much, either for reliability or perspicacity. Read it all with a grain of salt. The incentives are irrelevant to this I think. People just do not know as much as they pretend to.

Speaking for me only

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    Noone (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by lilburro on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 09:58:05 AM EST
    would put up with Ezra if he hadn't been a Netroots blogger once upon a time.

    Ironically, bringing ObamaCare to Medicare is an obvious long-term compromise on health care. If Republicans can make their peace with the Affordable Care Act and help figure out how to make the Affordable Care Act's exchanges work to control costs and improve quality, it'd be natural to eventually migrate Medicaid and Medicare into the system. Liberals would like that because it'd mean better care for Medicaid beneficiaries and less fragmentation in the health-care system. Conservatives would like it because it'd break the two largest single-payer health-care systems in America and turn their beneficiaries into consumers. But the implementation and success of the Affordable Care Act is a necessary precondition to any compromise of this sort. You can't transform Medicaid and Medicare until you've proven that what you're transforming them into is better. Only the Affordable Care Act has the potential to do that.

    link

    Reading Ezra is like reading someone who has been trapped in a conference room full of Republicans for the past four years.  

    Evil Ezra (none / 0) (#1)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 08:51:04 AM EST
    Strikes!

    That post of criticisms was very silly.  The guy just hates Ezra and was looking for a way to blast him.  He stretches the meaning of almost every Klein quote to the breaking point and then attacks it.

    Bad show.

    The "guy" you refer to (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:07:28 AM EST
    is not a guy at all, but a woman, Yves Smith, who knows her stuff inside-out and backwards, and could run rings around Ezra in her sleep; Ezra Klein is someone who thinks he knows, but doesn't.  

    And he has been so consistently wrong on so many aspects and issues, for so long - and has been shown, repeatedly why and where he is wrong - to no effect - that at some point, it becomes impossible to maintain a tactful and respectful tone.

    What Yves does in her usual thorough and well-supported way is reveal that Ezra writes access-journalist fairy tales that continue to protect those responsible for much of where we are.

    Parent

    True (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 08:55:50 AM EST
    The ad hominem detracts from the piece.

    That said, the substance has a lot of merit. Much more than Ezra's piece, which was an extremely silly exercise in "nobody could have node!"

    Parent

    Not Ezra's (none / 0) (#3)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 09:10:39 AM EST
    best work.  I will certainly concede that.

    Honestly, Klein is hit and miss.  He does a fairly good job of explaining complicated econ concepts in layman's terms.  Don't agree with everything he says, but he usually makes a decent point or two.


    Parent

    Meh (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 09:14:32 AM EST
    I think he is particularly weak on economics myself.

    He was informed on health care. Wrong in his analysis, but informed.

    On economics, I think he really does not know what he is talking about at the most basic level.

    Parent

    Krugman (none / 0) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 09:25:56 AM EST
    explains Econ 1000 times better than Ezra. Ezra sounds like he's doing the Paris Hilton version of economics.

    Parent
    FYI: Yves Smith is a woman. (none / 0) (#10)
    by Joan in VA on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 09:59:42 AM EST
    Ezra (none / 0) (#5)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 09:24:58 AM EST
    has never taken an Econ 201 course I guess or either he subscribes to the Chicago Supply Side School of Economics.

    Even people who do know what they're (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 09:31:45 AM EST
    talking about occasionally get things wrong.

    Not wrong (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 09:37:32 AM EST
    but missing the import. Krugman writes:

    "As Carroll said, this is wrong in part because Ryancare would dismantle the much better system -- Medicare -- that seniors already have, while Obamacare would provide insurance to those who would not have it otherwise.

    But beyond that, the subsidies in the health care law are supposed to make care affordable; the vouchers in Ryancare are not, and in fact would be grossly inadequate."

    On the first part, when you argue that RyanCare is good reform for the problem, then you open up the argument that it can be acceptable for dealing with the alleged Medicare crisis.

    On the second part, it invites this alternative - ObamaCare in place of Medicare.

    For a guy who understood the political and
    policy risks of inadequate stimulus, it is strange he does not see how "inadequate reform" poses the same risk.

    I may write this up in a post.  

    Parent

    Yves may have been a little too ad hominem (none / 0) (#12)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:16:58 AM EST
    but I can see her head exploding as she read Ezra, especially with the reliance on Michael Lewis.

    I think her point holds though - most mainstream journalists are reluctant to bite the hands that feed them. It is exacerbated in the story of the financial crisis because journalists themselves were part of the story.

    This Feels Like Bizzaro World (none / 0) (#13)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:19:01 AM EST
    on the Superfriends cartoon.

    Klein isn't right on everything but he is highly respected amongst his peers (online and offline) and is where he is today in large part because he actually is very good at what he does.

    You can disagree with someone without asserting that they are horrible at writing folks or completely ignorant.

    Two smart, rational people can know their stuff and come to opposite conclusions.  That's a possibility too!

    It doesn't have to be "the agree with me" or "they are stupid".

    You're talking about the guy who founded Journolist and was able to pull Krugman and almost every other prominent left wing blogger/writer into discussions of econ policy and healthcare. His peers, who you think would know as well as any of us, respect the hell out of him.

    Disagree with him, but the "Evil Ezra" business is over the top.  He's a guy for the most part putting the liberal message out in the streets.  There are better people to dislike.

    "Highly respected among his peers" is (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:55:55 AM EST
    not a compliment, in my opinion, nor is it any proof that what he writes reflects a solid grasp of the issues.  He writes well - it's easy enough to read, grammar is good - but it is the content that people take issue with.  This is a substance issue, not an Ezra-is-a-good-guy-with-a-great-resumé argument.  It bears a lot of resemblance to the policy-not-political-fortune argument that many of us have with you.

    And yes, two smart people who know their stuff can come to different conclusions - but of the two people in question, Yves and Ezra - one of them is an economics lightweight, and it isn't Yves.

    If you read the entire post at Naked Capitalism, you would understand that this was not an agree-with-me-or-you-are-stupid response, it was a precise and well-supported dissection of Ezra's assertions.

    So, Ezra founded Journolist - that makes him ambitious, it makes him "savvy," but it does not speak to the accuracy of any of his analysis.  Access bloggers/journalists may respect him, but that's not saying much, it's really, really not.  

    And Ezra most certainly is not putting out a liberal message; if anything, he is floating trial balloons for the administration, and applying generous coats of Teflon to Wall Street, the banksters and others who have done terrible harm to this country and to the economy.  He is a shoulder-shrugger who doesn't care whether he really knows a subject: as long as he knows who the players are, he knows what to write.

    Is he "evil?"  Perhaps not intentionally so, but when one has been so thoroughly co-opted by interests that are for the most part adverse to those of the majority of the population, one really has to accept part of the blame for the negative consequences that result.


    Parent

    It takes guts (none / 0) (#20)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:20:10 AM EST
    to say that your opinion is superior to a liberal Nobel prize winning economist.

    Ironically, Krugman just wrote the write up for Klein's seection as one of the 25 best bloggers.  Key quote:

    "Ezra does real analysis of issues: the kind of thing that you really need to know to make an informed judgment, but that's all too rare even in financial journalism. No dueling quotes. Not much in the way of up-close-and-personal stuff that adds color but not comprehension. Instead, it's serious policy discussion -- mercifully short on jargon, but deeply well informed -- all the way.
    Ezra was absolutely invaluable during the health care debate. He really knew the issues, including the thornier stuff like how exchanges were supposed to work, and managed to present all of that in a way that was comprehensible to the layman without seeming oversimplified to the professionals.

    If I had to choose a single best feature of the blog now, it would be his morning "Wonkbook," a daily summary of the substantive issues on the front burner. I don't bother with the various political playbooks out there. I read Ezra, usually around the time I have my second cup, and I know what's really going on today."

    Link

    But what does Krugman know about the healthcare debate or economics?

    Nothing if he's reading that fool Klein I guess.

    Parent

    Krugman's wrong imo (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:35:28 AM EST
    He is veyr good at what he does (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:23:07 AM EST
    I do not disagree. What he does is not good analysis though.

    The respect of his peers is not a badge of honor imo.

    YM obviously varies.

    Parent

    You've got some high standards (none / 0) (#18)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:03:37 AM EST
    "The respect of his peers is not a badge of honor imo."

    I think the respect of Krugman and others of that level means something.  I don't think anyone here is an economist, so if a Nobel Prize winner, who has often disagreed with Klein, thinks he's pretty good on econ and that's dismissed, we're dealing with a crowd unlikely to be persuaded by anything.

    Parent

    Krugman is not his peer (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:37:39 AM EST
    Krugman is wrong on Ezra imo.

    You must know by now appeals to credentialism are not effective with me.

    Parent

    If we can't use a third party frame of reference (none / 0) (#31)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 12:39:01 PM EST
    we're playing a more eloquent version of "I know you are but what am I", Pee Wee Herman style.

    If opposing points are made and we have no way of determining whether those points are valid (future predictions for example), the credentials of supporting resources are important generally IMHO.

    But I take your point. Krugman saying that Klein has one of the best finance/econ blogs on the planet doesn't mean that Klein knows anything about finance for you.

    Nowhere I can really go after that.


    Parent

    And mutual admiration societies (none / 0) (#36)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 12:52:05 PM EST
    do not necessarily improve either the discourse or the policy, even if they feel really, really good to those who participate.

    Parent
    I am fairly certain (none / 0) (#37)
    by lilburro on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 12:52:53 PM EST
    Krugman also greatly respects Yves Smith.

    Parent
    And obviously he does not (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:25:15 AM EST
    put the "liberal" message out at all.

    He is not a liberal. Neither am I BTW.

    The one thing he did wrong imo was to pretend he was during the health care debate. He is not and was not.

    Truth in advertising would work for him and not damage his career.

    Once he does that, I think folks will have less of a problem with him.

    Parent

    Agree to disagree (none / 0) (#19)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:06:13 AM EST
    Klein was a liberal during the healthcare debate. He was just a pragmatic one.

    Parent
    He was wrong about health reform, too. (none / 0) (#21)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:21:12 AM EST
    And that was supposed to be his area of expertise.

    I think you would find most liberals - real liberals - did not find him at all liberal on the issue.

    Parent

    Klein was "a liberal" (none / 0) (#22)
    by lilburro on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:26:16 AM EST
    without being reflective of what the majority of liberals wanted.  I don't recall the average liberal being obsessed with Wyden-Bennett.

    Parent
    Fine (none / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:36:31 AM EST
    let him carry the Pragmatic Centrist label if he likes.

    As I say, I think that would help his career, not hinder it.

    Parent

    Do I sense an inconsistency? (none / 0) (#17)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:58:30 AM EST
    (l) "the guy (sic, Yves Smith) just hates Ezra and was looking for a way to blast him..."  and (2) "You can disagree with someone without asserting that they are horrible at writing folks or completely ignorant."---"It doesn't have to be agree with me or they are stupid".    Perhaps, assertions of hate about a critic and critique are somehow different.  Otherwise, Bad Show.

    Parent
    OK (none / 0) (#23)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:33:00 AM EST
    1. I don't read Yves Smith. Let me concede also that there are more than likely other bloggers I don't read.  

    2. The tone of her posts (and there are multiple posts bashing Klein) tells me that she doesn't just disagree with his policies, she has a fundamental problem with him.  BTD acknowledged that she probably went a little overboard in her tone.

    In other words, there is a reason that I said she hated Klein.

    Parent
    Since you don't read Yves, you (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:56:55 AM EST
    don't seem to grasp that she is not "bashing" him - she is critical of his analysis, his thinking and his understanding of the issues and events; there's a difference.

    Yves has a fundamental problem with anyone who purports to be some kind of expert, but whose writing consistently reflects that that person is not; I don't think that's wrong, or bad - what's the point of allowing bad analysis based on less than the full picture to stand as some kind of beacon of truth?

    One more thing: I don't think what Yves wrote qualifies as ad hominem - at least not in my understanding of what that means.  Ad hominem is not a synonym for negative, or sarcastic; it is more along the lines of "you are an ignorant person, therefore your arguments are wrong."  It is not, "your arguments are wrong, therefore you are ignorant."

    Ad hominem is using someone's personal quality to attack their argument (you're a jerk, so you much be wrong); attacking the argument, however forcefully, or sarcastically, and concluding that the person making it is ignorant/foolish/co-opted - whatever - is not ad hominem (you are wrong about a, b and c, which shows that you are ignorant of the facts).

    Parent

    Sorry, if I seem confused (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 12:16:35 PM EST
    but if you do not read Yves Smith, how are you able to mine the depths of her writings so as to detect that the tones of  her posts go beyond his work to personal animus?   BTD's comment seems to support a focus on the argument and  avoidance of motivations, which would include a motivation of hated for Mr. Klein.

    Parent
    Dan (none / 0) (#30)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 12:21:31 PM EST
    You and I both know this, but I'm just going to come out and say it anyway - ABG defends Ezra Klein for one reason only - because Ezra writes favorably about the Obama administration, particularly Obama's core legislative program, his healthcare reforms, whereas Yves Smith, to the extent that ABG is familiar with her work, is highly critical of the Obama administration.

    Parent
    ABG appears to embody the opposite (none / 0) (#33)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 12:49:41 PM EST
    of ad hominem: "Ezra/Obama is [insert good quality here], therefore he/they are right."

    Parent
    Easy (none / 0) (#32)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 12:41:20 PM EST
    I did a google search and pulled up like 5 articles she wrote on Klein and all five of them are filled with the same semi-personal attacks she makes in the post referenced here.

    I know that you may have been expecting some more complicated answer there but that's it.

    Anyway, I have no horse in this show other than the fact that I like Klein and though the criticisms weren't very good.

    If Yves is a great person, loves Klein and was just trying to make legit criticisms, you can win.  Have at it.

    Parent

    She has to love Klein (none / 0) (#34)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 12:49:52 PM EST
    before her criticism of him can be legitimate? I don't think that's the test.

    She dislikes Klein because she thinks he is wrong, not the other way around. I doubt that she's ever met him or knew anything about him until she read his writings on economics and politics.

    I've lost track of the number of comments you have posted in this thread, but I have noticed that not once have you defended Klein on the merits of his post. And I'm not talking about his previous posts about healthcare, I'm taking about his review of 'Inside Job', that was the subject of Yves Smith's post.

    Parent

    The criticism of her criticism (none / 0) (#38)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 12:53:17 PM EST
    was just too easy. Take the quote BTD referenced.

    Klein says that the journalists for example had conflicting interests.

    Yves responds by saying that journalist access is an interest that impact the situation in some kind of weird "GOTCHA" to Klein.

    My response is "no kidding".  That is one of the interests that were at conflict. Klein's whole point is that there were competing interests. Yves seems to be saying "no, there was only one".

    Parent

    With all due respect to BTD (none / 0) (#39)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 01:02:31 PM EST
    I think the meat of Smith's criticism of Klein is the following:

    And then we get to Klein giving everyone (most importantly the elites!) a free pass:

       And ultimately, that's what makes the financial crisis so scary. The complexity of the system far exceeded the capacity of the participants, experts and watchdogs. Even after the crisis happened, it was devilishly hard to understand what was going on. Some people managed to connect the right dots, in the right ways and at the right times, but not so many, and not through such reproducible methods, that it's clear how we can make their success the norm.

    This is worse than useless, since Klein incorrectly throws up his hands and effectively says no one can understand what happened and therefore there's no answer. One of the reasons the crisis has been so "difficult to understand" is that the government and banking elites have been taking extraordinary efforts to obscure the truth. The AIG bailout, the GSE bailouts, the alphabet soup of Fed facilities, the con game of the "stress tests", the refusal to release information, the ridiculous government programs to "restart" the market, the efforts to deny the mortgage crisis, HAMP, the ongoing efforts to prop up the banks even though the are insolvent, they are all massive efforts at obscuring what really happened and what is still going on. This is not a coincidence; it is a deliberate effort orchestrated by the banks, the Fed, and the Treasury.

    I think Smith's criticism of Klein is right on the money here and has nothing to do with personal animosity toward Klein but with the total wrongness of his argument.

    You should also familiarize yourself with the writings of William K (Bill) Black on the issue of control fraud. Klein is completely out to lunch with his 'whocouldanode' approach to the disaster.

    Parent

    It is completely possible (none / 0) (#42)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 01:30:57 PM EST
    and I think likely, that no one person or group of people had enough of a perspective of moves being made simultaneously by others to completely understand the ramifications of the various activities taken as a whole.

    That does not mean that everyone was blameless. I think it means that people likely knew that they were gaming the system a bit but we didn't have a critical mass of people who knew what the individual actions could result in.

    To some degree that concept is supported by the number of people who should have known to pull their money and did not.

    Parent

    Yves Smith, (none / 0) (#43)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 01:44:24 PM EST
    Bill Black, Matt Taibi and others have long demonstrated that this view is false. Many important players, including all the big Wall Street investment banks, were well aware that the situation was a disaster waiting to happen. They just didn't care.

    Their plan was to get as rich as possible by pumping up their loan volume and dumping the toxic crap onto suckers, and diverting as much wealth as possible into their personal accounts as the bubble expanded, while secretly shorting the market and expecting that the government would bail them all out when the thing collapsed under the rubric of 'too big to fail' and 'whocouldanode'.

    With the exception of Lehman Brothers, they all got exactly what they wanted. And in spite of not getting exactly what he wanted, Dick Fuld is still a very rich man. Ezra Klein is a useful idiot on this topic.

    Parent

    Investment Banks (none / 0) (#44)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 02:12:54 PM EST
    Are not monoliths of united evil.  I am sure that there were plenty of investment bank employees who knew and in some cases there were probably banks that had people in positions of power who knew.

    But there is one thing I know absolutely for certain:

    They did not all get exactly what they wanted. Lots of those shops took company destroying hits as a result of this.  Lots of jobs lost. Lots of cash lost.

    The complexity of the products involved is mind boggling.  There are still derivative bombs in balance sheets that people can't get a handle on.

    Parent

    You're sure (none / 0) (#45)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 02:22:25 PM EST
    of nothing. You don't even read Yves Smith or Bill Black. All you have is faith, not facts.

    Company destroying hits? Read Bill Black. They didn't care about destroying the company because the people who run it aren't the company. The company to them was an open pit mine. It was all about personal profit for them and screw the company.

    You really are a joke around here.

    Parent

    Meh (none / 0) (#49)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 02:34:48 PM EST
    If you think that calling me a joke makes a lick of difference to me, you don't know me very well.

    I didn't read the particular experts that agree with the point of view you advocate and that means I have no facts?  Because there are no legitimate economists on the planet?  And if there are, there are no legitimate economists that believe things other than what Smith and Bill Black think?  

    I could throw out economist X or expert Y and demand that you read them or be considered a joke, but I see how ridiculous the tactic is when you do it, so why make myself look stupid to match you?

    Bottom line: If it was that obvious that the crisis was likely, you'd have more people that made money off of it than you did. Did people know what was coming? Yes. Did the number of people who knew hit a critical mass where it became relevant? Less clear.  I don't think we will ever really know the truth.

    I do know that pretending we know the truth gives us a better bad guy to hate than hating unpredictable disaster.

    Parent

    I made no judgment on what was important (none / 0) (#55)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 04:56:20 PM EST
    merely described what caught my eye.

    Sometimes the insignificant does.

    Parent

    Yeah I know (none / 0) (#56)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 05:15:30 PM EST
    I was quoting that part in response to AGB not because I thought you missed the point of Yves Smith's article.

    Parent
    I think you should spend more time (none / 0) (#46)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 02:27:37 PM EST
    reading Yves, following her many, many links, which will take you to even more sources, and less time parsing one paragraph without the surrounding context  - or doing a quick Google-and-skim - so that you can believe you have a complete grasp of what she's saying.

    Reading Yves takes time - and patience, and a willingness to be educated on some very weedy/wonky subjects that do not always bring instant understanding.  No one is saying that she is the Economics Oracle, but it is hard to argue with her depth of knowledge.  Yves is, in my opinion, more of an educator; Ezra is more of a propagandist - he's selling the conventional wisdom he obtains via his access, and doing so without much criticism that might jeopardize it or the nice paycheck he gets for maintaining it.  

    See the latest trial balloon he's floating on Social Security...it's a winner!  And so, so liberal.

    Or maybe not.

    Parent

    He's not interested (none / 0) (#48)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 02:33:09 PM EST
    in the issues. His over-riding concern is the re-election of Barack Obama and the silencing of his critics.

    Ezra Klein is a useful and seemingly-wonkish defender of the Obama administration and Yves Smith is not. It's really that simple and that's all that matters to ABG. It's transparent and laughable.

    Parent

    Fine, I'll read Yves. (none / 0) (#50)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 02:46:35 PM EST
    No sweat for me. I'm the one in favor of more information, not less, remember?  Give me more access to people I may disagree with.  That's how you learn.  But my google reader is telling me that I read 6-10 econ blogs.  

    It seems to me that Yves says what people here like to hear and so she's treated like she sh*ts magic dust or something.

    Anyway, I read Krugman, Klein, Salmon, McBride, McArdle, and some other names that aren't as popular.  I'll add Yves to the list.

    The difference between me and others is that I don't sensor my sources on the basis of whether they bolster my predisposed positions.

    Parent

    censor (none / 0) (#51)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 02:47:06 PM EST
    For Gawd's sake (none / 0) (#54)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 03:03:17 PM EST
    give it a rest. If anyone has been claiming that his favorite pundit sh*ts magic dust its you in your defence of Ezra Klein ('but but Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman just loves him!')

    "The difference between me and others is that I don't sensor my sources on the basis of whether they bolster my predisposed positions." This is why you are a joke, because you can post such comments and not see the rampant hypocrisy. Your list is thoroughly MOR and calculated solely to bolster your predispositions.

    Megan McArdle? LMFAO. She's one of THE dumbest pundits on the interwebz. Seriously. You'd be better off reading Kevin Drum.

    Parent

    Thank you for the gracious (none / 0) (#40)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 01:19:33 PM EST
    offer, but I was not looking for a win.  I just find arguments that are tinctured  with accusations of personal or semi-personal animus to be strong medicine to take.  Either Ezra Klein presents a good case or he doesn't; either Yves Smith effectively rebuts Mr. Klein's opinions or he doesn't.  Not sure hate belongs in this mix.

    Parent
    Regrets, gender correction: (none / 0) (#41)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 01:22:31 PM EST
    ..or she doesn't.  

    Parent
    You are right (none / 0) (#52)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 02:49:07 PM EST
    But I think personal feelings are well entwined with many opinions around here.

    I can't say I am amused. I am an Obama Kool-Aid drinker from back as far as 2004 and I see where that taints some things.

    Funny thing: Out of all of the commenters here, it appears that I am the only person who has any biases.

    Funny indeed.

    Parent

    She dislikes Klein (none / 0) (#27)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:42:01 AM EST
    because she believes he is wrong much of the time about issues that fall within her area of expertise.

    Or are you suggesting it's because he snubbed her at that cocktail party?

    Parent

    I have no idea (none / 0) (#35)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 12:49:52 PM EST
    why she writes pieces that are bordering on personal attacks.

    I do think it's interesting that both Naked Capitalism and Klein's blogs are on the list of the top 25 econ blogs by Time.  She's ranked 17 and Klein is 10.  She also contributed to the listing so surely even Yves believes that it has some value.  And actually if I go back to before the healthcare debate started in earnest in 2008, Yves referenced Klein regularly for his thoughts on healthcare (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2007/04/health-care-reform-proposals-still-off.html).

    Parent

    Life is too short to waste time with Eza Klein (none / 0) (#47)
    by hilts on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 02:30:42 PM EST
    Ezra Klein has never been anything but a tool.  I've always found it nauseating to see Keith Olbermann and Rachel Madow kissing Ezra's ring.  Ezra is a very smug, glib writer who pretends to know everything, when in fact he's just an empty suit.

    Nothing personal of course? (none / 0) (#53)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 02:55:35 PM EST