Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Alex Beam apparently thinks fellow journalists Andrew Sullivan, Mickey Kaus and James Taranto are nuts because...er, they have blogs in addition to their regular gigs. Alex doesn't, for reasons that remain unclear. Okay, just kidding. But he isn't:

[He] is completely crackers. Ever since he assumed the most visible perch in journalism, Krugman seems startled to learn that people will take potshots at him. Krugman devotes considerable energy to tilting with his "enemies"—many of them simply Internet kooks—whom he perceives to be persecuting him. In addition to penning his Times columns, he writes frequently for his personal web site (www.wws.princeton.edu/pkrugman), a nutty, score-settling tote board where he fires his rhetorical blunderbuss at the gnats buzzing around him.

Here is the beginning of his latest entry, titled "The Smear Machine Cranks Up Again": "Unbelievable. The smear machine cranks up again. They've done it to me before, they did it to Joseph Wilson, and now they're trying to do it again." In an e-mail, Krugman explains that "the `nonentities' who go after me include Taranto at Wall Street Journal Online—he was the main source for the claim that I was in Mahathir's pay—Andrew Sullivan, Mickey Kaus, etc."

Paul, nine out of 10 New York Times readers have no idea who you are talking about.


No idea? Since Sullivan used to write for the Times, that seems a rather startling thing to say. Mickey Kaus for Slate, and formerly of the New Republic, if I'm not mistaken. And James Taranto for the WSJ—certainly a paper most Times readers avoid like the plague, no doubt.

What is it with Alex? Resentment? Laziness? Is he having a hard time coming up with ideas for columns? There are times when his already meager writing assignments seem like they were the result of root canals. Again, put me on record as one of those who think Alex Beam should be writing his own blog. What better way to build an audience? Especially if you're selling your own books....

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