So here’s Paul Krugman describing his journalistic intrepidity and victimization by an evil corporation:
Predictably, the letter from Corrections Corporation of America has arrived, demanding a correction on yesterday’s column. Strangely, though, it demands that I correct statements I didn’t make, just things CCA claims I implied. I don’t think that passes the test; maybe they’ll find an actual error on second pass, but I was pretty careful precisely because I knew they’d be looking for something, anything.
According to the letter, by the way,
CCA does not and has not ever lobbied for or attempted to promote any legislation anywhere that affects sentencing and detention — under longstanding corporate policy.
Pure as the driven snow, they are.
A word about this sort of thing: anyone who steps on the toes of either corporate interests or major conservative institutions (which are often more or less the same thing) has to expect to run into a buzzsaw. The purpose of that buzzsaw is not so much to get specific corrections as to intimidate — to deter the journalist and his or her colleagues from going there again.
And it works. I’ve seen it over and over: some commentator says the obvious, gets hit hard, and thereafter steers away from such issues and is very, very careful not to offend the hard right.(And when the other side points this out, they get very upset — they thought they were safe).
I won’t pretend that I don’t get rattled myself. But I decided a long time ago that it’s precisely the areas that make you nervous that most need addressing.
Wow, I’m dying to see what those jackals threatened him with. Libel suits? A visit from Luca Brasi perhaps?
Here’s the letter:
Dear Mr. Krugman,
We are requesting that you publish a print-edition correction to several errors in your column, “Lobbyists, Guns And Money,” published in The New York Times on March 26.
The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is not a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as you assert. It ended its membership in 2010.
You also severely mislead your readers by suggesting that CCA is involved in seeking to influence, promote or lobby for immigration detention policy through former membership in ALEC. That association was as a non-voting member only to monitor policy and not participate in discussions or votes.
In fact, CCA does not and has not ever lobbied for or attempted to promote any legislation anywhere that affects sentencing and detention — under longstanding corporate policy. Any statement to the contrary is false. The original basis for the falsehood in your column was a story by National Public Radio (NPR) in late 2010 that has been subsequently corrected by NPR, as you note in your corrective blog this morning. Indeed, if you choose to research the topic further, you will see that NPR broadcast a report in the months prior to its own correction of the 2010 report that identified the author of the Arizona detention legislation.
We will be following up with your office to see if you have any issues or concerns with our request to keep the public record straight and want to thank you in advance for your time and effort to correct the error.
Holy cow, how does Krugman do it? Is he in the NYT writer protection program at this point? (Go look at Krugman’s column and how serious the charges–which may be true, for all I know–are that he leveled against these people, to then gauge the tone of their letter to him.)
The funniest thing about all this is that Krugman’s post opens with: “Update: OK, by popular request, the text of the letter after the jump.”
So I’m assuming that means he initially did his whining without even posting this completely innocuous letter.