Write what you know

Posted: March 31st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Journalism, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Media pundits who build a reputation for expertise in one field have a tendency to make dangerous forays into other fields and eventually wind up writing gibberish. That’s especially true on the NYT opinion page, where my three favorite columnists are now playing musical chairs:

Tom Friedman=foreign policy wonk turned economic wannabe
Paul Krugman=professional economist turned political ideologue
David Brooks=political critic turned foreign policy poser
Brooks and Friedman can perhaps be forgiven but Krugman, an expert in the economics of trade, really ought to know enough about comparative advantage to stick to his field. The stakes for his musical-chairing are much higher too: I went to see him speak last night and found that his new celebrity has gone to his head, and that he talks more politics than policy. The result is that his audience no longer takes his policy prescriptions seriously, even when they are right.