October 20, 2003,
A month on the New York Times best-seller list must be going to Paul Krugman's head. He's getting sloppy perhaps even unraveling, as it were. He's saying things he shouldn't say, some of them very dirty and very damaging.
Krugman has gotten away with comparing the Bush administration to the "totalitarian regimes of the 1930s" in his book, The Great Unraveling. Now he's accusing a fellow journalist me of being a stalker.
On nationwide television last Friday night, Paul Krugman falsely accused me of committing the felony of stalking. On the popular Hannity & Colmes show, Krugman said of me,
That's a guy, that's a guy who actually stalks me on the web, and once stalked me personally.For some time now Krugman has used a multi-tiered rhetorical strategy: To disagree with his opinion is to lie, to advocate policies that conflict with his own is to be "political," and to hold a vision of America's future that is different from his vision is to be part of a "radical regime." But this is a new twist. Now, to criticize Paul Krugman is a crime.
I am not now nor have I ever been a stalker. What I am is Krugman's most persistent critic. I criticize him in my regular "Krugman Truth Squad" column for National Review Online, and on the blog of my forthcoming book, The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid. Is that stalking on the web?
As to stalking him personally, the one and only time I've ever even seen him in person was on October 6, 2003. I attended a lecture he gave at the University of California at San Diego as part of his tour to promote his book. I listened to the lecture. I videotaped parts of the event with a personal camcorder. Like many members of the audience, I submitted a written question to Krugman. And like many members of the audience, I stood in line to have him sign a copy of his book. I asked him to inscribe it to me, in the process of which he (naturally) realized my identity. He made the inscription, and I said to him, "Now you keep up the good work, Paul," and walked away. Krugman continued to sign autographs.
Having written so much about Krugman, I had long been curious to see him with my own eyes and take his measure. It's the reporter in me. Maybe, if given the chance, I could throw him a tough question (as it turned out, I had to submit my tough question in writing, and he chose to answer it). I thought a signed copy of his book would make a fun souvenir. But the evening turned out to be a sad and disturbing experience: I witnessed Krugman deliver his ultra-leftist conspiracy fantasies to a packed house of admirers. All in all, I wish I hadn't gone.
But it sure as hell wasn't stalking. Stalking is a felony under section 646.9 of the California Penal Code. Attending a public lecture, taping it, submitting a written question, asking to have a book inscribed, and uttering one sarcastic sentence are not acts that fall within the scope of that law. And neither is the act of disagreeing with Paul Krugman.
Here's the context of Krugman's statement about me. It's in an exchange with Mike Gallagher, who was sitting in for co-host Sean Hannity. Gallagher confronted Krugman with one of the more trivial matters I've raised in my many critiques. Krugman challenged Gallagher on his source:
PAUL KRUGMAN: I don't know where you are getting that from ...This lends new meaning to something Krugman said in his New York Times column of October 3. He wrote of the "right-wing media slime machine, which tries to assassinate the character of anyone who opposes the right's goals." He added, "hey, I know all about it." He certainly does. I've just been slimed big-time by the Krugman media machine. And I've seen enough to know that lies can do a lot more personal damage than truths.
I demand from Paul Krugman a full, immediate, and public retraction, as well as an apology. And I would welcome the opportunity from Fox News to appear on the Hannity & Colmes show in order to set the record straight.
"America's most dangerous liberal pundit"? Yes, indeed.