By: Greg Mitchell
Speaking at an afternoon panel at the enormous Netroots Nation convention in Austin, Texas, on Friday, Paul Krugman, The New York Times columnist, predicted, with seeming confidence, an Obama victory in November — but added that “within three months of taking office, no, less than three months” the media would be out to get him, as much as they had at the high point of anti-Bill Clinton bashing.
Krugman was responding to a questioner who had stated that the media was “in the pocket” of the “government.” Krugman pointed out that this was hardly the case when Clinton was in the White House and would be proven again when Obama took over. “Get ready for it,” he warned.
He pointed out that this was not necessarily the case when a Republican came to power. In fact, much of his presentation was based on the alleged lack of “symmetry” in how the media goes after Democrats and Republicans. Look at the most recent example of “outrage” over Nancy Pelosi saying that President Bush had totally failed, he said. Would the media, he asked, have batted an eye if a conservative had said the same of a Democratic president?
Krugman also said that there were relatively few prominent academic liberals such as himself because the liberal think tanks only get a fraction of the money that goes to the conservative ones. “There are more rightwing billionaires,” he declared.
Other panelists included Duncan Black of the Eschaton blog and Rick Pearlstein, author of “Nixonland,” along with the blogger known as “Digby.” They all added insights on the title of the panel, which was “How the Media Learned to Bend Over Backward to Please the Right.”
On Saturday Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Vice President Al Gore — and current Libertarian candidate for president Bob Barr — all attended the conference (and the first two spoke).
Greg Mitchell’s new book is “So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits — and the President — Failed on Iraq.”