AS DANIEL OKRENT WINDS DOWN AS PUBLIC EDITOR, PAUL KRUGMAN GETS IN A PARTING SHOT. BUT IT'S NOT THE LAST WORD. (6/1/05--Update below)
This could get interesting.
In Sunday's Letters to the Editor in The New York Times, the final letter came from none other than Paul Krugman, who objected to getting less-than-star treatment in Daniel Okrent's final column as public editor.
Okrent accused Krugman of selectively using stats to bolster his argument in his Bush-bashing column that is ostensibly about economics but has come to mean something much more in stridently liberal precincts.
Krugman called the criticisms "simply wrong" and wrapped up by proclaiming "This should be the end of the story."
But it's not.
An editor's note at the bottom promised Okrent and Krugman will be going at it again on new public editor Barney Calame's blog later in the week, www.nytimes.com/byroncalame.
It's not the nature of the Times to have feuding columnists air out their spats in public. It conjured a whiff of nostalgia to the Village Voice of the 1970s, when columnists and writers would regularly snipe at each other or their employer in the letters page rather than yell at each other in the office.
It was alternately sad or amusing to see the likes of Howard Smith, Nat Hentoff and Richard Goldstein get all in a huff over some calamity (Robert Christgau only gave the new Pere Ubu album a B-minus? Horrors!) while those who may have actually paid for the Voice -- back when such a thing was mandated -- were allocated less space to rant.
You felt like shouting at them "Take it outside, guys." Which is pretty much the purpose a blog serves nowadays. Which will make the Okrent-Krugman steel-cage smackdown a must-read.
JUNE 1 UPDATE:
Here's the link to the online slapfight: