28 Dec 2011

Death and Toxics: Krugman’s Botched Commentary on Mercury

Krugman, Shameless Self-Promotion 25 Comments

Those who already think Krugman is slippery may nonetheless be astounded at what happened in this episode. To be clear, I don’t think Krugman consciously distorted anything here. As I said to my colleague on this, Krugman is usually pretty good at writing something totally misleading but technically defensible. Here, because he trusted a Grist writer, I believe Krugman ended up repeating a factoid that is as messed-up as anything he complains about from right-wing think tanks talking about Fannie Mae.

There’s no point in summarizing it. Just read my post, if you are interested.

25 Responses to “Death and Toxics: Krugman’s Botched Commentary on Mercury”

  1. JFF says:

    Bob, FYI: One of the definitions of “factoid” is “a non-truth.”

  2. MamMoTh says:

    Bob, stop obsessing with Krugman! Cold fusion can’t wait.

    Also, you should lose some weight.


    • Joseph Fetz says:

      Wow! Murphy is buff everywhere but his belly and his face. Krugman looks smug, but it is clear that Bob “The Killer” Murphy would whoop his arse. Just don’t punch him in the belly, otherwise his defense is gone (a la King Hippo in ‘Punch Out!’).

      • Dan says:

        Nice, not often you see Punchout references pulled off at econ blog sites.

        • Joseph Fetz says:

          Considering the cartoon, how can you not (make that reference)?


    • Major_Freedom says:

      It’s always funny when a person is obsessed with another gets jealous when the other person doesn’t reciprocate the obsession back.

      What Mammy’s trying to say, in his signature awkward passive aggressiveness, is that he wants you to stop paying so much attention to Krugman, and start paying more attention to Mammy.

      I mean, he’s been trying really hard to get your attention by coming up with his own pedantic and economically illiterate diatribes.

      • MamMoTh says:

        You’re really really sick. Try getting some help.

        I know a surgeon who could disconnect your bowels from your fingertips and reconnect them back to your mouth. Not sure it will improve your life, but it will improve ours.

        Was that passive enough? I wouldn’t mind trying active with you, any time.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          OK guys, chill out. I don’t want to get my site suspended again.

          • MamMoTh says:

            Sorry, I didn’t know my herculean efforts to avoid all the pornographic references I had in mind were in vain.

          • Joseph Fetz says:

            Whoa! Now it’s Bob “The Babysitter” Murphy. Sorry, I can’t stop doing it.

            Honestly, I think it is probably the spammers that hit up the comment sections of your older posts that probably caused the problem. Although, Man-moth does like to talk dirty in French.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          This is when the passive aggressive victim of being obsessed takes his self-image and throws it at anyone who dares pointing it out to him, and then tries to hide it by claiming he is on some large team with others (“it will improve ours“), while the person who pointed it out is stated to be on his own, thus enabling you feel like you transferred the feeling of isolation onto them instead.

          • MamMoTh says:

            Kid, if you are going to do amateur psychoanalysis it helps to have at least passed your intro course.

            Murphy is smarter than you, and has a sense of humour. He doesn’t need an ass-licker like you to defend him from something that no normal person would consider an attack.

            Which brings up a more important question: are you an ass-licker by nature or training?

            Sorry for the porn, Bob!

            • Bob Murphy says:

              MF don’t answer him. I don’t want to start zapping comments but you guys are getting close.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                OK, I won’t. I don’t want to provoke Mammy into causing your blog to be suspended yet again.

            • Joseph Fetz says:

              Salad tossing isn’t porn, it’s meal prep.

              • Joseph Fetz says:

                oops, sorry Bob.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Mammoth, who is this David Parkins? I would like to meet this man, and smoke with him.

    • Jack the Ripper says:

      If you kids are going to do amateur psychoanalysis it helps to have at least passed your intro course.

  3. Tel says:

    Only Very Serious People (VSP’s) bother to look up the reference and figure out where those numbers come from. Krugman knows his readers will lap it up, he really doesn’t need to try too hard these days.

  4. JM says:

    Krugman committed what I call the “Tom Friedman Fallacy”: when you talk about something that isn’t your area of expertise, you’ll eventually wind up looking like a bit of an idiot. (Normally the Friedman Fallacy comes with badly mixed metaphors, because it’s Friedman himself committing it. Krugman disappointed on that front.)

    In fairness to Krugman, the tens of thousands figure did not appear in his subsequent Times column on the same subject, which I assume is much more widely read that his blog post. He mentioned a potential benefit of 90 billion as a result of “the rules” — by which it is clear he is referring to the whole package of new EPA rules.

  5. Jack the Ripper says:

    Bob if your worried about your blog getting taken down again, but don’t want to turn on comment moderation try ctrl+f (or command+f if your on a mac) searching for the word evil. If and when it comes up more than twice outside of your post you’ll know your comment thread has run into dangerous territory.

    • Joseph Fetz says:

      Holy crap! Thanks for sharing that. That is freaking awesome!!!

      • Jack the Ripper says:

        One must do something when not prowling the streets of London… Annoying Dr. Murphy with obvious advice does fall somewhere on the list.

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