Economist blog

by Henry on November 3, 2006

I’ve received an email chivvying me into linking to the new “Economist blog”:http://www.economist.com/debate/freeexchange/ with the irresistible hook that now I “can attack [them] directly.” The new blog would appear to be at least in part a subdivision of “Megan McArdle industries”:http://www.janegalt.net/archives/009529.html. Consider it linked.

{ 21 comments }

1

BGat 11.03.06 at 1:05 pm

The Bush bunch seems to be failing spinmeister. The news out of Iraq is bad but far from devistating. Even Chris Matthews of “Hardball” MSNBC is now backing off “democracy” for Iraq and noticing that a strong man government, dictator favorable to the US is the best we can hope for. If that happens then Iraq may well be worth the cost in the final analysis. Democracy is impossible anywhere religion dominates anyhow. No one should know that better than the Bush gang.

2

Barry 11.03.06 at 1:18 pm

I ripped that post on the Lancet article (‘Good News for Mr. Bush’) a good one; I posted a number or URL’s for further information.

Let’s see if it gets through.

I wonder if that spreadsheet is a McArdle trademark – a blizzard of numbers, which don’t necessarily mean squat. It’d fit for a Chicago MBA who’s career is a string of failures, until she ended up as a propagandist (i.e., she can’t hack competitive situations where her numbers would be examined by quant jocks).

3

abb1 11.03.06 at 2:07 pm

…strong man government, dictator favorable to the US is the best we can hope for. If that happens then Iraq may well be worth the cost in the final analysis.

“If that happens” – if that could happen it would’ve already happened. That was their initial plan and it went up in smoke in the first few months – Ahmed Chalabi, remember? That always was and still is their best case scenario with ‘somewhat representative’ puppet government distant second.

4

Barry 11.03.06 at 3:12 pm

Somebody made the analogy that staging a coup to ‘take over’ the government of Iraq would be like stealing a car that’s already been stolen, stripped, and is up on blocks. As far as we know, nobody *has* a claim to the loyalty of enough forces to do more than to control small areas. And that’s frequently with other forces making raids of various types on a frequent basis.

In addition, the US hasn’t (again, AFAIK) supplied the Iraqi Army with much in the way of armored vehicles, aircraft or heavy artillery, so there’s very little concentrated firepower in Iraqi hands. The US could, of course, provide such support to the strongman of the administration’s choosing, but the various factions also have options such as interdicting US supply lines, increasing attack tempo against US forces, or simply fading away and playing guerrilla – what things in Iraq could a coup seize, which would give it control of anything?

5

Barry 11.03.06 at 3:35 pm

Well, my post got through.

6

engels 11.03.06 at 4:33 pm

The new blog would appear to be at least in part a subdivision of Megan McArdle industries

Can someone explain to me why the words “lunatics”, “asylum” and “taken over” are starting to swim in front of me?

And Barry’s right about her post. It’s pretty bad, even by the Economist‘s standards; which is to say, par for the course at mcardle.nitwit

The reaction to the study has been reliably partisan. Those who favoured the war have denounced the researchers and their methodology, while those who opposed it have denounced the denouncers with equal fervour.

That’s a teeny bit of a porkie, isn’t it? I, for one, know more than a few people who “favoured the war” and who, in the light of subsequent evidence, such as this study, have now recognised their error of judgment, and are happy to accept its conclusions as, if not incontestable, a sound scientific study which provides the best estimate of overall mortality we have. McArdle on the other hand is one of those for whom support for the war is, like her belief in the market and the literary merits of Ayn Rand, an article of faith on which no mere empirical evidence can possibly cast any doubt. She is entitled to her views on that, but she is not entitled to let them corrupt her summaries of public opinion. Posts such as these are hardly worth reading except for the evidence they provide that the Economist is now firmly in the US school of “fair and balanced” journalism.

7

Barry 11.03.06 at 4:40 pm

There was some discussion on Brad DeLong’s blog, that the people running The Economist seem to have decided that flattering the upper-middle and upper classes of the US was the way to make money in the US. They’re probably right :(

8

dsquared 11.03.06 at 5:31 pm

McArdle’s post is clearly much worse than the actual Economist coverage of the Lancet report, presumably forsaging a very bad trend.

9

MQ 11.03.06 at 6:01 pm

Megan McArdle is a political propagandist through and through. Her writing style seems to consist of smug, patronizing lectures about how her view is clearly correct if we would just examine the evidence impartially and rationally, followed by botched and biased analysis which clearly demonstrate that she has not examined the evidence impartially. A very irritating writer.

10

Barry 11.03.06 at 6:21 pm

And I expect her to have a successful career. We’ll see her byline on The Weekly Standard, TNR, NR, WSJ (editorial page, of course), Forbes, and others. She’ll probably do a stint as a ‘scholar’ at someplace like AEI/CEI/Hudson/Manhattan Institute
(not Hoover, though – I’ve heard that they have standards).

11

dsquared 11.04.06 at 5:14 am

Oh good god, there is now an even stupider one above the post Henry linked to, in which she not only demonstrates complete lack of understanding the concept of a standard error, not only (presumably purposefully) ignores the published confidence intervals, but presumes to patronise people who know more than her by pretending that a collection of bar-room platitudes and fallacies is “basic statistics”.

I think it is perhaps unfortunate for Megan that the Economist blog has comments registration, as it means that I am going to have to carry out my complaints about this blatantly misleading rubbish through the medium of letters to the editor.

12

Jane Galt 11.04.06 at 7:16 am

I quake in my boots.

13

Barry 11.04.06 at 8:22 am

Daniel, go ahead and register; whoever is moderating the comments let mine through. Megan, I’m sure that is sarcastic. You operate in the world of propaganda, where you can never actually be wrong, unless you miss changes in the political whims of those who write the checks.

I do notice that you didn’t address Daniel’s critique of your article.

14

asg 11.04.06 at 11:37 am

Nothing like a nice Two Minute Hate right before Saturday lunch to stir up the appetite and keep the vitriol warm and bubbling for the week to come.

15

John Emerson 11.04.06 at 9:35 pm

Conservatives sneer at letters to the editor, d^2. Letters to the editor are for birdwatchers and librarians. Conservatives only understand being whacked with a 2×4 (whatever that is in metric).

16

Walt 11.05.06 at 12:18 pm

If conservatives would try to be less contemptible, asg, this wouldn’t come up. You bring it on yourselves with your contempt for right and wrong.

17

ricardo 11.05.06 at 6:28 pm

“…a Chicago MBA who’s career is a string of failures…she can’t hack competitive situations where her numbers would be examined by quant jocks”

Those quant jocks could probably poke holes in your grammar, Barry.

18

Walt 11.05.06 at 10:23 pm

There are no binomial option pricing methods that correct grammar.

19

Barry 11.06.06 at 8:35 am

Thank you for conceding defeat, ricardo. It must be interesting being you, reading something carefully, and then throwing it in the trash can, after finding a who’s/whose error.

Good thing that I didn’t make an it’s/its slip; then I’d be in really deep doo-doo.

20

Roy Bland 11.06.06 at 2:30 pm

“Megan McArdle is a political propagandist through and through. Her writing style seems to consist of smug, patronizing lectures about how her view is clearly correct if we would just examine the evidence impartially and rationally, followed by botched and biased analysis which clearly demonstrate that she has not examined the evidence impartially. A very irritating writer.”

how anybody can write that on this blog without their heads exploding I don’t know.

21

stefan van der wel 11.06.06 at 5:43 pm

“Democracy is impossible anywhere religion dominates anyhow.” – bgat

Amusing, last time I checked, democracy was still alive and well in the United States, a rather religious state (by western standards at least).

As for your arguement that replacing one strongman dictator with another more pro-US one, for the cost of a few hundred thousand lives makes it “worth the cost in final analysis”. Just remember, Saddam was a pro-US strongman dictator in the 1980’s so whoever gets his job isn’t neccessarily going to stay pro-US.

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