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Monday, June 21, 2004

NY Post Irony Alert

Ralph Peters says we should shut down Al-Jazeera in "Killers with Cameras", a column with a typically restrained headline:

Press freedom is a treasure of our civilization, but it's also distinctly a product of our civilization--one that doesn't always export well. It works in our society for numerous reasons.

First, despite undeniable excesses, there's a fundamental respect for facts in our media. Second, our press is not rewarded for encouraging mass murder. Third, we have libel and hate-crime laws that work. Fourth, the great majority of journalists take pride in the standards of their profession--despite popular notions to the contrary.

Yes, a columnist at the NY Post is giving a lecture on journalistic ethics here, laughably proclaiming a dedication to facts (in the same piece he makes numerous assertions without any evidence backing them up). Our press may not exactly encourage mass murder, but cheerleading the president's push for an unnecessary war isn't so far from that.

One more item and then I'm done complaining about media for the day, but I can't let Jim Glassman's Friday TCS piece on inflation pass without comment. After telling us that, "Reagan whipped inflation," Glassman explains:

It was Paul Volcker, the talented and courageous Federal Reserve chairman, who raised interest rates and brought inflation below 4 percent by 1982, triggering a recession in the process. But it was Reagan who supported and encouraged Volcker and gave him what David Stockman, then the budget director, called "the political latitude to do what had to be done."

You may think from this description that Reagan appointed Volcker, but you would be wrong. Volcker was first appointed in August 1979 by Jimmy Carter, who went on to lose the 1980 election to Reagan, partly because of Volcker's anti-inflation policies that sent the country into recession. Then in 1987, how did Reagan show his gratitude to Volcker for helping to revive growth in the 1980s? By forcing his resignation from the Fed, leading to the beginning of the Greenspan era. How the White House brought this about is detailed in the introduction to Bob Woodward's book on Greenspan, Maestro. This was executive meddling in monetary policy, something that is a clear no-no in our system. Reagan shouldn't be given credit for a monetary policy success or failure regardless, and Glassman is recklessly politicizing the Fed in this article (if he wants to make the progressive critique that says monetary policy should be made in the Congress, that's fine, but I don't think Glassman will be going there any time soon).