Being a conservative in any predominately liberal environment is difficult. Being a conservative at Newsweek is likely prohibitively difficult. And being the conservative whose message lands on Newsweek's cover seemed, until this week, to be nigh impossible.
Enter Niall Ferguson, the rogue columnist responsible for the recent Newsweek cover story calling for President Obama to be voted out of office. Ferguson's article has been slammed by several different sources for what those sources claim are factual inaccuracies and/or arguments in bad faith. Ferguson first acknowledged these attacks when he hit back against New York Times columnist Paul Krugman for misconstruing an argument that Ferguson had made about the Congressional Budget Office.
Well, now Ferguson has extended his attack beyond Krugman to the entire academic Left in a blistering four page blog entry countering numerous claims that Ferguson considers unfair. Most of the entry gets very deeply into the policy weeds, and if you want to read them all, you can look at Ferguson's full take-down here. However, we do want to call your attention to the end, where he mockingly hands out "prizes" to his critics for specific varieties of ridiculousness:
First prize goes to Berkeley professor Brad DeLong, whose blog opened with the headline “Fire-His-Ass-Now.” “He lied,” rants DeLong. “Convene a committee at Harvard to examine whether he has the moral character to teach at a university.” My own counter-suggestion would be to convene a committee at Berkeley to examine whether or not Professor DeLong is spending too much of his time blogging when he really should be conducting serious research or teaching his students. For example, why hasn’t Professor DeLong published that economic history of the 20th century he’s been promising for the past six years? It can’t be writer’s block, that’s for sure.
Runner up is James Fallows of The Atlantic for his hilariously pompous post “As a Harvard Alum, I Apologize.” Well, as an Oxford alum, I laugh.
In third place comes Krugman with his charge of “unethical commentary … a plain misrepresentation of the facts” requiring “an abject correction.” The idea of getting a lesson from Paul Krugman about the ethics of commentary is almost as funny as Fallows’s apologizing on behalf of Harvard. Both these paragons of the commentariat, by the way, shamelessly accused me of racism three years ago when I drew an innocent parallel between President Obama and “Felix the Cat.” I don’t know of many more unethical tricks than to brand someone who criticizes the president a racist.
And, finally, a consolation prize for righteous indignation goes to Dylan Byers of Politico (“ridiculous, misleading, ethically questionable”).
Ouch. That is going to leave a mark.