Sigmund Freud described “projecting” as the act of attributing your own shortcomings to others, supposedly as a coping mechanism. These columns don’t quote Freud often, but we couldn’t pass up this description of Paul Krugman’s latest screed, only because it is so deliciously apt.
In it, the New York Times columnist goes after The Heritage Foundation for, among other things, “creating false impressions” and attempting to “delude the right-wing faithful.” He also castigates conservatives for being cut off from reality in general because they supposedly read only stuff they agree with. The title was “The Wonk Gap,” meaning that the left is just so much more wonky, apparently.
What caused Mr. Krugman to fulminate with such righteous ire? A couple of weeks ago, Heritage put up on our Facebook page an image in which we said that 57 percent of Americans wanted to stop Obamacare. Talking Points Memo, a liberal site, tweeted that we were misquoting a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, which showed that 57 percent did not support defunding Obamacare.
I called the TPM writer and told him that, no, he had assumed wrong. We were quoting a Basswood poll commissioned by Heritage Action for America. Even TPM, which makes no pretentions about impartiality or objectivity, subsequently ran a story which observed “in fairness to Heritage, they did trumpet the Basswood poll when it was released.”
Mr. Krugman, who writes for a paper that does insist that it sticks by journalistic standards, even in its avowedly liberal editorial pages, repeats the canard that we created false impressions about the popularity of Obamacare by putting out a Facebook image just after the Kaiser poll. “Did the experts at Heritage simply read the numbers upside down? No, they claimed, they were referring to some other poll. Whatever really happened, the practical effect was to delude the right-wing faithful.”
If I may, it is Mr. Krugman who is doing a disservice to his readers by knowingly trading in these falsehoods. His readers, incidentally, really ought to know that he uses the liberal Talking Points Memo as the source of his “research”—in a column decrying that conservatives read only their own press, no less.
Mike Gonzalez is Heritage’s vice president of communications. You can follow him on Twitter at @Gundisalvus.