Periodically, Jon Chait and Kevin Drum worry about "the hack gap"--the willingness of conservative intellectuals to sacrifice their credibility by making transparently-false arguments to advance the interests of their political masters, and the lack of willingness of liberal intellectuals to do the same.
Today we have "good" news of a sort about the hack gap!
But, first, Jon and Kevin:
The Hack Gap: "I think this phenomenon is best understood within a larger context...:
...Conservatives have developed an ideological critique of a wide swath of elite institutions that serve a mediating role -- media, academia, even science. In the right wing view, all these institutions are bastions of liberalism hiding behind a facade of disinterestedness. Conservatives have developed their own alternative networks, whose members operate under a far more partisan and ideological ethos, on the view that they're merely offsetting the liberalism of their counterparts. Thus the political culture is tugged right by the asymmetry of liberal elites trying to act objectively and conservative counter-elites making no such attempt.
Obamacare and the Hack Gap: A Case Study: "Obamacare is a great example of the famous hack gap...:
...I read lots of lefties who write about health care, and they've generally been willing to acknowledge Obamacare's problems. The federal website rollout was a disaster. The insurance pools so far seem to have fewer of the young and healthy than we'd hoped. Narrow networks are a significant problem.... Etc.... You simply see nothing of this sort on the right. Their coverage of Obamacare is simply an endless search for increasingly strained ways to deny that anything even slightly positive has happened. The Obama administration is lying about its numbers. If they're not lying, the figures are meaningless anyway until they've been unskewed. Premiums are skyrocketing. People are being tossed off their plans and thrown in the street. The budget projections are a joke. Cancer patients are dying for lack of doctors to see them. Hours are being cut back and part-time workers are being fired. Fewer people have coverage now than before Obamacare started up. I could go on. And on. And on. This is the hack gap in all its glory...
Today we have news from Sean Wilentz: the hack gap is closing!
Admittedly, it's not an economist or a cost-benefit analyst but rather an intellectual historian. And, admittedly, he's not burning his intellectual street cred to advance liberal interests relative to conservative, but rather taking a centrist whack at the left in the form of Bernie Sanders. But you can't expect to have everything at once, can you?
And shame on you, New York Times, for publishing this dreck...