Letter from Paul Krugman to Dan Okrent, Outgoing Public Editor of The New York Times

SYNOPSIS: Paul Krugman responds in a letter to The New York Times to an unsubstantiated cheap shot by outgoing TimesPublic Editor Dan Okrent in Okrent's last article

In Daniel Okrent's parting shot as public editor of The New York Times, he levied a harsh charge against me: he said that I have "a disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults."

He offered no examples of my "disturbing habit," and maybe I should stop there: surely it's inappropriate for the public editor to attack the ethics of one of the paper's writers without providing any supporting evidence. He responded to my request for examples with criticisms of specific columns. Those criticisms were simply wrong: in each of those columns I played entirely fair with my readers, using the standard data in the standard way.

That should be the end of the story.

I want to go back to doing what I have been doing all along: using economic data to inform my readers.


Princeton, N.J., May 24, 2005

The writer is an Op-Ed columnist for The Times. He and Daniel Okrent will be addressing this matter further on the Public Editor's Web Journal (nytimes.com/byroncalame) early in the week.

Originally published in The New York Times, 5.24.05