Paul Krugman and Nate Silver agree: New York Times reporting is ‘lazy’ and ‘stupid’

Gregg Re Editor
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New York Times columnist Paul Krugman agreed with fellow New York Times blogger Nate Silver earlier this weekend that the paper both men work for is “stupid” and “lazy,” adding that its purpose must surely be to “entertain.”

The surprising statements came in separate blog posts from Krugman and Silver.

“Quite simply, many of the ‘analysis’ articles being published in these final days leave readers worse informed than they were before reading,” Krugman bellowed on Saturday, in a blog post titled, “Reporting That Makes You Look Stupid.”

“Reporting that suggests that this is a too-close-to-call race … [is] just lazy, and a disservice to readers,” he added. “It’s not OK to report campaign spin as the truth, which is what these stories are doing.”

Silver, whose “FiveThirtyEight” election blog currently predicts a nearly 85 percent chance of an Obama win on Election Day, concurred.

“You should abandon the pretense that your goal is to inform rather than entertain the public,” Silver wrote, if you propose that “the leader in the race is ‘too close to call.'”

Early Sunday, the front-page headline on the New York Times print and Internet editions read, “With Time as Tight as Race, Romney and Obama Zero In.” The article, written by Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, calls the race “close,” “competitive” and “deadlocked.”

Narrow margins in swing state polls are “producing equal shares of hope and fear amid conflicting signals about the outcome,” the article states.

In an Oct. 31 story, titled “Storm Pushes Presidential Politics Aside, Mostly,” authors Michael Barbaro and Michael Shear also described the race as a “close contest.”

On Nov. 1,  an article “After Storm Hiatus, Presidential Race Back In Full Swing” declared that polls from NBC News, The Wall Street Journal and Marist showed “tight races” in key battleground states and only “narrow” margins elsewhere.

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