But as reported by The Hill, a Beltway political gossip organ, the most important scandal today is not that the collapsed electrical grid had deliberately been primed for destruction by the austerity measures imposed from on high by the US government and predatory Wall Street creditors on the say-so of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The real scandal of Trump's stage-managed visit is that he rudely snubbed his latest Twitter nemesis, the female mayor of San Juan, when he proffered his gratuitous thanks to the military and other dignitaries.
He wouldn't even say her name. Carmen Cruz apparently isn't doing a heckuva job. She is sadly not a Perfect Ten.
So to protect all the guilty, the media emphasis has been duly placed upon how doubly unappealing Donald Trump is whenever his serial misogyny collides with his serial racism. Cue the outrage. And definitely change the subject, which in a just and sane world would be the hidden human suffering of serially ignored people.
In other news which serves to direct all the blame toward Donald Trump, and to deflect it from cruel, longstanding bipartisan US policy decisions adversely affecting the economic and social well-being of Puerto Ricans, New York Times pundit Paul Krugman has created a nice little journalistic side-scandal of his own.
It seems that the good professor and Laureate of a generous bank-issued Nobel prize had falsely claimed that not only is there an outbreak of deadly cholera in Puerto Rico, Trump himself had caused it! (Trump's ramping-up of Barack Obama's terroristic drone wars with the help of the US-weaponized Saudis has indeed caused an actual cholera outbreak in Yemen, but that saga of human suffering has, for the most part, been dutifully ignored by American media.)
On September 30th, Krugman feverishly tweeted:
Cholera. In a US territory. Among US citizens. In the 21st century. Heckuva job, Trumpie.He later partially retracted this false information by allowing that it was not (yet) confirmed.
Not Paul Krugman, though.
But he finally did respond publicly today in a terse "explainer" in the Times' deliberately obscure new "Reader Center" section - complete with a fawning introduction by his editors, who gratuitously mention his academic bona fides in the apparent hope of softening the credibility blow to one of their star columnists. Krugman will not apologize - he will merely be thoughtfully rueful as befits his status:
The Reader Center is a newsroom initiative that is helping The Times build deeper ties with our audience.
In this piece, Paul Krugman, an Op-Ed columnist for The Times and a Nobel laureate, reflects on (my bold) sending an inaccurate tweet about the presence of cholera in Puerto Rico.
As of this writing, I am the only reader to become distracted enough by his distraction from all the distractions to take advantage of these deeper audience ties and actually reply to his pabulum. My published comment:"On cholera, in the heat of the moment, I got sloppy. I saw a tweet about cholera from someone I usually take seriously, assumed there was reporting behind it, and tweeted it out. I was wrong, and admitted the error.That’s a warning about Twitter, and how easy it is to be careless; I will be more careful next time.What’s important is not to let some exaggeration distract from the terrible reality in Puerto Rico."
"Reader Center" is not a worthy substitute for the now-defunct Public Editor's position. Margaret Sullivan probably would never have allowed Paul Krugman to get away with this flippant pseudo-apology.
He tries to blow the whole thing off with a "let's move on, nothing to see here, folks" excuse for his Tweet, which displayed not so much compassion for Puerto Ricans as it did gratuitous contempt for Trump.* Correction: I'd assumed, in the heat of the moment, that because PolitiFact's link to Krugman's original false tweet led to nothing, that the professor had probably wisely deleted it. Then I double-checked. I was wrong; it's still posted on his account, and it's more popular than ever. I apologize for the error! (and hopefully the Twitter execs will include it in the cache of fake news that Congress is so intent upon acquiring.)
Additionally, he only partially retracted his original Tweet, with a shoulder-shrugging "OK, cholera not confirmed. Conjunctivitis yes; lack of clean water (situation worsening, not improving) makes it a risk. But not certain."
Moreover it took him
days to actually scrub*the original Tweet, after it had garnered more that 32,000 "likes" and about 14,000 retweets. In other words it went about as "viral" as an epidemic of dysentery. His choleric correction, on the other hand, got only 1600 likes and 500 retweets.
It's telling that Mr. Krugman has only chosen to address this issue after the CDC, PolitiFact, and Princeton called him out on it. When such dicey outlets as Breitbart and Infowars instantly raised the alarm, it apparently was a matter of nasty Fake News sniping about virtuous but "oops" Fake News. No need to delete, let alone deign to reply.
The damage to credibility is already done. Heckuva job, Professor.