CBS Sunday Morning, February 15, 2004


CHARLES OSGOOD, host: The biggest news stories of the week aren't always the ones that get the biggest play. At least that's the opinion of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, author of "The Great Unraveling."

PAUL KRUGMAN ("The Great Unraveling"): Over the last few weeks, we've had a lot of news. The government's lead investigator said that Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction and those weapons are why we went to war.

(Footage of American soldiers; soldiers carrying a wounded person)

KRUGMAN: (Voiceover) In Iraq, violence flared and reports warned that civil war is a real possibility. At home, the government announced that it's running the biggest budget deficit in history. Mr. ALAN GREENSPAN (Chairman, Federal Reserve): You've got to craft...

(Footage of Greenspan)

KRUGMAN: (Voiceover) Alan Greenspan told us that this deficit threatens the economy's future, but that we shouldn't reverse the tax cuts, we should cut Social Security benefits instead. And employment numbers came in way below expectations. More than two years after the economy supposedly began recovering, the lost jobs still haven't come back. So what was the big news story on evening newscasts and newspaper headlines and even in Congress?

(Footage of newspaper clippings; Janet Jackson performance)

KRUGMAN: (Voiceover) Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl. Now I enjoy a silly scandal as much as anyone. It's bad for your health to be serious all the time, but the scary thing was that so many people treat Ms. Jackson's exposure as if it was serious. I even read columnists saying episodes like that are why 9/11 happened. People, get a grip.

(Footage of Senator John Kerry; President George W. Bush)

KRUGMAN: (Voiceover) This is an election year and it's possibly the most crucial election in decades. Whichever side you're on politically, this November the nation is going to make crucial decisions about its future. Now is the time for all good men and women, too, to pay attention to the state of the country.

OSGOOD: The opinions of Paul Krugman.

Originally published in the New York Times, 2.15.04