Newsweek’s latest cover story is certainly provocative. In the piece, Harvard professor and former McCain advisor, Niall Ferguson argues that America needs to elect a new president because Barack Obama has failed to live up to his promises.
In his inaugural address, Obama promised “not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.” He promised to “build the roads and bridges, the electric grids, and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.” He promised to “restore science to its rightful place and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost.” And he promised to “transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.” Unfortunately the president’s scorecard on every single one of those bold pledges is pitiful.
Ferguson goes onto take the president to task for the slowly recovering economy, asserts the Affordable Care Act will add to the deficit not lower it, and claims half of Americans are footing the bill for the other half.
Welcome to Obama’s America: nearly half the population is not represented on a taxable return—almost exactly the same proportion that lives in a household where at least one member receives some type of government benefit. We are becoming the 50–50 nation—half of us paying the taxes, the other half receiving the benefits.
Ferguson’s article is a searing indictment of the Obama administration that sounds like it came straight from the GOP playbook, and apparently others are calling foul as well.
While many pundits–Conservatives, Liberals, and Moderates alike–have been very critical of Ferguson’s commentary, leading econonmist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman took it a step further, calling Ferguson’s article “unethical.”
We’re not talking about ideology or even economic analysis here — just a plain misrepresentation of the facts, with an august publication letting itself be used to misinform readers. The Times would require an abject correction if something like that slipped through. Will Newsweek?
While Krugman and Ferguson continue to trade barbs, an interesting development came to light. According to a media reporter at Politico, Newsweek doesn’t fact check its articles, so the numbers which Ferguson so handily relies on weren’t verified by anyone else; they took his word for it.
Although the debate surrounding whether or not President Obama should be reelected is a valid one and definitely should be had, entering the debate with faulty facts or skewed points of view does little to further intelligent conversation.