Thursday, October 30, 2003

previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (2)

Catching up on my correspondence

Two quick notes for today (go read this Mark Kleiman post for some background):

Dear Atrios,

What I said last week about anonymous blogging?

I take it back.


Daniel W. Drezner

Next letter:

Dear Donald Luskin,

I have certainly expressed misgivings about Paul Krugman's punditry in the past. I can certainly sympathize with some of your critiques. Hey, I've even linked to some of them.

But dude, you need to chill. Legal action and the blogosphere do not mix well. At this point, your criticisms of Krugman are so over-the-top that they are counterproductive. Take a day off. Get some perspective.


Daniel W. Drezner

P.S. I've glanced through your blog. Intellectually, yes, you're stalking Paul Krugman.


Kevin Drum, Armed Liberal, Brad DeLong, Andrew Sullivan, and Glenn Reynolds also weigh in. Actually, a lot of bloggers weigh in. Atrios follows up here, here, and most amusingly, here.

UPDATE: NRO's Jonathan Adler, Robert George, and Jonah Goldberg weigh in on Luskin's behavior. I agree wholeheartedly with George:

Wasn't Don paying attention during the Fox News v. Franken debacle? There's nothing worse than when someone who has a certain amount of success by sharing his opinions in a forceful, straightforward, manner, then running to the lawyers when he feels like he's getting tweaked himself.... Luskin['s] action can't help but garner sympathy for Atrios/Eschaton -- particularly in the blogosphere -- regardless of where someone falls on the political spectrum.

Goldberg tries to explain Luskin's actions as a result of being new to the medium:

I feel for the guy. Yes, he was wrong to start Litigating the Eschaton -- which, still, isn't as bad as immanentizing it. But it seems to me he made a classic new-to-the-web blunder. This sort of thing happens when you're new to the hurly-burly argy-bargy of the interent and you think you have to take every little thing seriously....

The ironic thing is that Krugman himself is a great example of this sort of thin-skinnedness. Remember how he freaked out about Andrew Sullivan's criticism, talking about his site like it was some sort of neo-Nazi compound?

Goldberg is right about Krugman but dead wrong about Luskin. He's not new to the web. In fact, today is the one-year anniversary of Luskin's blog. In terms of the blogosphere, that's a pretty long time to be around. Long enough to know the very simple rules of the game -- no tears, no legal action.

posted by Dan on 10.30.03 at 12:47 AM


Thanks Dan, you're really screwing with my perceptions of the right.


But thanks.

posted by: spartacus on 10.30.03 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

I have to say, in a dispute between Luskin and Atrios, I've got to root for the least despicable party: in this case, that'd have to be the lawyer. (In fairness to Atrios, if Luskin was representing himself I'd give the nod to the blue-blogged-one. But having a member of the bar involved adds someone slightly higher on the evolutionary food chain to the dispute.)

posted by: Chris Lawrence on 10.30.03 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

Donald Luskin is intellectually ripping Paul Krugman to shreds. The latter gentleman possesses a reputation which is not warranted. The very recent economic growth figures are making a fool of Krugman. However, Luskin is admittedly going off the deep end----and yes, he needs to take a chill pill. My guess is that Luskin is frustrated by the unearned glory and financial rewards Krugman receives from the liberal dominated intellectual establishment. Oh well, nobody ever said that life was fair. But it does not do Luskin any good to become embittered by this reality. Paul Krugman is already being perceived as a fool. His glory days are rapidly coming to an end. There are rumors that the next national economic report will show growth of around 7%. Does anyone really want to be in Paul Krugman’s shoes if this does indeed occur? He will be the laughing stock of academia.

I do not mind in the least that Luskin is intellectually stalking Krugman. Heck, somebody should do this necessary task. We must also not forget that the Princeton economist is a nasty person who does not hesitate to slander Republicans. After all, didn’t he call President Bush a liar? But Krugman's hatefulness does not justify luskin’s overreaction. One should never let someone like Krugman encourage you to become just as disgusting as he is.

posted by: David Thomson on 10.30.03 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

David, you are of course entitled to your opinion on Paul Krugman. As is Donald Luskin entitled to stalk make a fool of himself write about Krugman in whatever terms he wishes. But what does this have to do with the foolishness of Luskin's threat to sue Atrios?

posted by: Jesurgislac on 10.30.03 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

Whoops. Sorry. Clicked "post" too soon. Ignore previous post.

posted by: Jesurgislac on 10.30.03 at 12:47 AM [permalink]


I think your original point is still correct, though. Atrios attacks Easterbrook and is not really botherd at all by the bad things that happen to him. That makes Atrios cowardly, but prudent in respect to Luskin's ridiculous lawsuit.

As to Luskin, your dead on.


posted by: Richard Vagge on 10.30.03 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

Luskin and his idiot attorney are learning how dangerous the blogosphere can be. Atrios got Luskin to zero in on the comments on Atrios' blog, as opposed to Atrios' own statements, asked Luskin to identify the specific comments Luskin wanted deleted, and Luskin refused. Refused. Luskin instead demanded that all the comments be deleted.

Atrios then raised and called with this:

"Here specifically is what I wrote to him [Luskin]:

There are a lot of comments. I'm sure not all of them fit your definition, and I cannot determine which ones do. I can't delete all of the comments without deleting the post, and deleting them one by one would take a very very long time.

If you would like to send me the links to the specific comments (the "#" after each post in the comments box) that you consider troubling, I'd be happy to take a look."

Luskin should cut his losses and run at this point, but I predict he won't given the genius of his counsel.

This could be as much fun as the Wilson/Plame affair.

posted by: Tom Holsinger on 10.30.03 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

This only goes to prove what my father said: All the entire blogosphere consists of is 25,000 people all reading what the other 24,999 are saying and commenting on it. The rest of the 5 billion people in the world couldn't give a damn. This is a big story? Pooh.

posted by: Dan on 10.30.03 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

So is "Sullywatch" intellectual "stalking" too? To call someone focusing on criticizing a certain columnist in the world's most influential newspaper "stalking" in any way does tremendous damage to the political discourse. I'm not sure how Luskin suing Atrios suddenly makes Krugman right in his attempts to shut down the debate by hurling accusations like "stalking" around.

posted by: HH on 10.30.03 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

HH, what makes you say Krugman is trying to "shut down the debate"? Luskin doesn't seem to object to accusations that he was "stalking" Krugman - see Luskin's May 7 column, "We Stalked, He Balked". I haven't been paying any attention to Luskin's criticisms of Krugman until this recent stupidity of Luskin's with regard to Atrios's blog: as far as I can see, however, Krugman has done nothing whatsoever to prevent Luskin from saying whatever he likes. If Luskin is entitled to criticise Krugman, presumably Krugman has an equal right to criticise Luskin - which, again so far as I can see, he hasn't exercised nearly to the extent that Luskin has.

If you've got evidence that Krugman has attempted to "shut down the debate" - not evidence that Krugman has criticised Luskin, but evidence that Krugman has, for example, paid a lawyer to write a threatening letter to Luskin - then post the link here. If your implication is that it's just fine for Luskin to say what he likes about Krugman, but if Krugman retorts this is "shutting down the debate", perhaps you should say so out loud?

We'll then be clear about how evenhanded you think public debate should be.

posted by: Jesurgislac on 10.30.03 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

Think of it this way; Does anyone really consider that given the chance, the leftists would be trying the same thing? An interesting turn of events, using their social weapon of choice... the courts... against them.

posted by: Bithead on 10.30.03 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

Well, Krugman has accused Luskin in so many words of "literal stalking" - which would be a crime in many jurisdictions, if it were true. Such a remark does put a chill in the air, although to the best of my knowledge Krugman has neither sued nor filed a formal criminal complaint. So he gets the nod here.

posted by: jaed on 10.30.03 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

Thanks, Dan, though actually I'm not entirely sure what this has to do with the anonymity issue. I'm glad you've changed your mind on it, but I'm not sure why *this* issue changed it.

If Luskin and his lawyer were to attempt to discover my identity, they wouldn't have much problem - I've left enough trails that someone would cave to a subpoena. So, the anonymity doesn't really protect me from the lawsuit.

posted by: Atrios on 10.30.03 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

Indeed, I don't think this has anything to do with anonymity at all. Atrios didn't manage to evade a lawsuit despite blogging anonymously.

posted by: A. Rickey on 10.30.03 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

Post a Comment:


Email Address:



Remember your info?