Nobel Prize Winning NYTs Journalist-Paul Krugmans Language Gap


This is a great story from NewsBusters. It shows how Nobel Prize winner can lie to his readers, forgetting any semblance of real journalism. You know, I think journalism needs a good dose of what hermeneutics teachers. In fact, may I say this generation of graduates have been taught how not to think.

Michele Bachmann was given the Krugman treatment in a column on Monday. Krugman had this to say:

And it’s the saturation of our political discourse — and especially our airwaves — with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence.

Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be “armed and dangerous” without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P.

Krugman defined “eliminationist rhetoric” in this context as “suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary.” Bachmann’s statement was the only example he provided.

But true to form, Krugman quoted Bachmann out of context, and completely turned around the meaning of her statement in the process. What did she actually say? Here’s PowerLine’s John Hinderaker:

As it happens, I–unlike Krugman–know all about Michele’s “armed and dangerous” quote, because she said it in an interview with Brian Ward and me, on our radio show. It was on March 21, 2009. The subject was the Obama administration’s cap and trade proposal. Michele organized a couple of informational meetings in her district with an expert on global warming and cap and trade, and she came on our show to promote those meetings. She wanted her constituents to be armed with information on cap and trade so that they would understand how unnecessary, and how damaging to our economy, the Obama administration’s proposal was. That would make them dangerous to the administration’s left-wing plans…

For the record, here is what Michele said: “I’m going to have materials for people when they leave. I want people armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax, because we need to fight back.” Yes, that’s right: she wanted Minnesotans to be armed with “materials”–facts and arguments–not guns. If this is the best example of “eliminationist rhetoric” that the far left can come up with, you can see how absurdly weak the claims of Krugman and his fellow haters are.

Bachmann wanted her constituents to be engaged and knowledgable in the political process. This, apparently, was the only example Krugman could come up with, and it doesn’t actually support his point.

…(read more)…

I think seminary grads have a LOT to offer these political “mavens” (really, red herrings). For instance, what does the typical Bible student learn about how to interpret properly. Here is some of a larger paper I wrote a while ago entitled, “Biblical Inerrancy Defined,” on this topic:

The internal test utilizes one Aristotle’s dictums from his Poetics. He said,

They [the critics] start with some improbable presumption; and having so decreed it themselves, proceed to draw inferences, and censure the poet as though he had actually said whatever they happen to believe, if his statement conflicts with their notion of things…. Whenever a word seems to imply some contradiction, it is necessary to reflect how many ways there may be of understanding it in the passage in question…. So it is probably the mistake of the critics that has given rise to the Problem…. See whether he [the author] means the same thing, in the same relation, and in the same sense, before admitting that he has contradicted something he has said himself or what a man of sound sense assumes as true.

LANGUAGE GAP

…Consider how confused a foreigner must be when he reads in a daily newspaper: “The prospectors made a strike yesterday up in the mountains.” “The union went on strike this morning.” “The batter made his third strike and was called out by the umpire.” “Strike up with the Star Spangled Ban­ner.” “The fisherman got a good strike in the middle of the lake.” Presum­ably each of these completely different uses of the same word go back to the parent and have the same etymology.[1] But complete confusion may re­sult from misunderstanding how the speaker meant the word to be used…. We must engage in careful exegesis in order to find out what he meant in light of contemporary conditions and usage.

[….]

[….]

Eight Rules of Interpretation ~ …the Eight Rules of Interpretation used by legal experts for more than 2500 years.

1) Rule of Definition: Define the term or words being considered and then adhere to the defined meanings.

2) Rule of Usage: Don’t add meaning to established words and terms. What was the common usage in the cultural and time period. When the passage was written?

3) Rule of Context: Avoid using words out of context. Context must define terms and how words are used.

4) Rule of Historical background: Don’t separate interpretation and historical investigation.

5) Rule of Logic: Be certain that words as interpreted agree with the overall premise.

6) Rule of Precedent: Use the known and commonly accepted meanings of words, not obscure meanings for which there is no precedent.

7) Rule of Unity: Even though many documents may be used there must be a general unity among them.

8) Rule of Inference: Base conclusions on what is already known and proven or can be reasonably implied from all known facts.

  • [1] Etymology: “the study of the origins of words or parts of words and how they have arrived at their current form and meaning” (Encarta Dictionary).

Paul Krugman could use a fat dose of what journalism SHOULD BE, maybe by going to a seminary.

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