Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tina Brown: Niall Ferguson Wrote an Opinon Piece

     I think that's one thing you can't deny-what he wrote was little more than what you see by the hacks on the Wall Street Journal editorial page. Whether or not Newsweek is supposed to be more than that however, Ms. Brown evidently has not considered.

     "Newsweek Editor Tina Brown is standing by Niall Ferguson following his controversial cover story about President Barack Obama's handling of the economy, even as she said that she did not agree with many of the opinions he voiced in the article."

      "In an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" today, Brown acknowledged that Ferguson could have done a better job clarifying that his own conclusions about the cost of Obama's Affordable Care Act were not the same as those of the Congressional Budget Office — an issue that has driven a great deal of the criticism leveled at Ferguson since the article was published earlier this week."

     "What Niall was saying there was his skepticism about those conclusions — not that they were the CBO's conclusions," Brown said. "That could have been a little more clear, but the fact is he's clarified that in his rebuttals."

    "That is not quite true. In his first response to Paul Krugman, Ferguson edited the CBO report, changing its meaning in order to make the CBO match his own conclusions. I have noted the edit multiple times this week. He has not addressed this in his rebuttals."

     "Brown also sought to distance herself from Ferguson's take on Obama (Newsweek has labeled the article "opinion") and defend Newsweek's controversial covers as being in the greater service of public debate."

    "He was trying to say this president has been a failure on this economy, has been a failure on jobs and has been a failure with regard to the deficit," Brown said. "I actually don't agree with most of what he says in the piece, but I do think the cover of Newsweek is a place to have a war of ideas, to have battles of ideas, and that is certainly what happened."

     When all is said and done you wonder if Brown is thinking about her own magazine which has already had a number of knocks against it lately. At some point the brand simply becomes watered down. Niall's peice and her standing by it certainly is doing a lot by itself to water it down.

      If you think that people will want to read Newsweek so it can see Niall's Ferguson's rather shoddy opinions, ok. But to put it on the front page with a headline attacking the President, 'Hit the Road, Barrack'-she says it's wasn't her opinion but the layout implies it is Newsweek's official opinion.

     One of Ms. Brown's more unfortunate lines was this:

     "Niall is a swashbuckling, very, very aggressive thinker," Brown replied. She said Ferguson was expressing "his skepticism" about the CBO's conclusions, not saying that this is what the CBO had concluded. "That could have been a little more clear," she said.

      Swasbuckling, aggressive, thinker?!

      "She also defended the broader purpose of the piece. "He really has tried to ... have a discussion about the economy," she said. "I actually don't agree with a lot of, most of what he says in the piece, but I think the cover of Newsweek is a place to have a war of ideas, to have battles of ideas, and that is certainly what happened."

       He wants a discussion on the economy. So does Mitt Romney supposedly. But if Niall's piece was what happens when Obama haters write about the economy maybe it's just as well Romney can't get any traction at it.

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