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Pol/Econ Government
Pol/Econ: New York Time's Paul Krugman vs. FOX News's Neil Cavuto
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Friday, 09 March 2007 Written by Jeff Stewart
This video appeared on Youtube entitled "Neil Cavuto mops the floor with NYT Loon Paul Krugman". Quite a claim- Krugman has been an internationally respected, award winning economist for decades, and since he started writing about the fraudulence of then-president elect George W. Bush's economic policies in 2000, become one of the most important political commentators of our time. Cavuto, on the other hand, is a lowly hack at the Conservative American Fox News Channel, who gets his marching orders from memos on how to "spin" the news when he comes into work each day.

At first, I was even more confused when I saw the video. Krugman talks about the "Joyless Economy" in America, about how despite the fact that many corporations are posting record profits, so many Americans feel left behind and are unenthusiastic (you can read one of Krugman's columns on it here- well worth your time). Krugman argues that the average opinion is on the mark- While the rich continue to get richer, adjusted for inflation, Americans are worse off than they were 30 years ago, and in a depressing sign of the times, Wal-Mart has become the country's biggest employer, paying an average of 18,000 a year and little or no benefits. He comes with the facts.

Cavuto, on the other hand, speaks in generalities, calling Krugman a Bush Hater, challenges him to say something nice about Bush while he's trying to explain his position, and claiming in solemn, condescending tones, "Paul, what you are doing is lying to people". Lots of little potshots and no substance. When Krugman tries to quote the facts he talks over him with more BS.

The FOX news crowd ate it up though. The comments on Youtube are along these lines-

"Neil Cavuto RULES!!"

"Cavuto exposes Krugman for the true fool that he is. Paul "people are stupid" Krugman."

"haha, ouch"

"Go Neil!!!!"

And amazingly-

"This just proves that many people like this Krugerman really have no cohesive argument, just ideology. And they cling to it like a religion."

Were we watching the same argument? It doesn't make sense...but try watching the video with the sound off. Going by body language, you might see a different story.

In print, Krugman is a master. But he's not suited for the television age. He stammers. A man of fairly short stature to begin with, he slouches in his chair, like he's taking up as little space as possible. He allows people to talk over him and interrupt him to get in their little bon mots and sidetrack him from his reasoned arguments. Most damningly, he has trouble making eye contact, and often looks away and down at the table when he speaks, which could give the impression that he's dishonest.

Cavuto, on the other hand, is in rare form. He has nothing intelligent to say, but as an anchor on FOX news he knows how to look like he does, voice low, posture confident, all the little jabs coming at the right times. If a tribe of baboons was watching the debate and they had to choose one of the two men to be their alpha male, you can be sure they would choose the cheeseball television anchor over the nerdy college professor.

But just consider who was watching- the type of people who get their news from FOX.