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Scam talk



Here’s an interview I did with Megan McArdle in re the law school scam and my new book on the subject.

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  • merl

    nothing having anything to do with her is worth reading.

    • LarsMacomb

      While I’m not a fan of Ms. McArdle, she does an excellent job with the interview. It is surprisingly good.

      • Really?

        I mean it’s not wrong or anything, but it’s hardly a tough or (if you’ve read anything by Paul) interesting interview.

        Good to get the message out, but it’s exactly Paul’s public, repeated message. She could have achieved the same effect by linking to some posts.

      • Anonymous

        Why do men always refer to published or famous or slightly contentious women as “Ms.” So-and-so? It’s a weird form of banal sexism that needs to die.

        • Landru

          Absolutely. “That lying, Koch-funded scam artist, McArdle” would be much more descriptive, in addition to having the clearly relevant benefit of gender neutrality.

          • Anonymous

            You’re being a bit of a shit, but yes. That would do. She is all of those things.

            Again, dudes at L,G&M seem not to understand that sexism, even when applied to Bad, Naughty Women (eg McArdle or McCarthy) still hurts all women, all the time.

            • Timb

              When equality comes to LGM, it will finally come everywhere! It is here that sexism, practiced in a banal, fiendly manner that keeps women enslaved to the patriarchy

              • This is why I critique McArdle despite the fact that she makes my eyeball bleed. Every time someone points out her dishonesty another person cries sexism.

                The things I do for my country.

                • Anonymous

                  Nobody did that here.

                • You are right. What they did was say that it’s sexist to use Ms. when Ms. was/is the title of choice for liberated women, and by doing so derail the conversation from McArdle to sexism in general.

                • So, first, it’s clear that it’s not the us of “Ms” per se (e.g., over “Mrs” and “Miss”), but the sarcastic use of an honorific. This tactic, they claimed, is highly asymmetrically used on women (there were some counter claims; I’ve certainly seen it used for just about any honorific) and thus is, in effect, sexist.

                  Now they could be doing it to derail criticism of McArdle, but it seems a little outre and didn’t really derail the criticism.

                • BTW, since this is an opportune moment, I’m a fan of your work and appreciate the eye-bleed inducing service!

                • Thanks.

                  I understood that it was common in journalism to refer to both men and women by their last name, with the notable exception of The New York Times but not everyone will do that. I suppose one must look at context to determine if the honorific is sarcastic or not. I use it both sarcastically and straight-forwardly when addressing someone directly (so to speak) or when I want to be a little more polite than usual.

        • Linnaeus

          I can see why that would be a kind banal sexism, depending on context, but I often see the use of the “Ms.” as corrective of the tendency to address women informally (using first names, typically) when in similar circumstances, men would usually not be addressed in such a manner. I’ve heard arguments that this discrepancy is also an example of banal sexism.

          I suppose we could avoid both by just using surnames.

          • I sometimes see “Mr. Blargle” as either an anachronistic formality or as an attempt to poke fun. “Ms. Blargle” is the same thing. I don’t know if this trope has been disproportionately applied to women in recent years though I wouldn’t be surprised.

            I jump all around in how I refer to people, but definitely try for surnames as a neutral form (when the person isn’t involved in the conversation).

          • Anonymous

            So, benevolent sexism then. The use marks women as Other, and suggests that their egos are daintier and in need of extra fluffing.

            • Linnaeus

              Again, I think the context matters. I definitely agree that use of the honorific can (and is) used in a mocking way that is gendered.

              • Linnaeus

                er, that’s “can be (and is) used…”

                • rea

                  Mr. Linnaeus may, however, be wrong about authorial intent in this instance.

            • Lyanna

              I don’t think so?

              I mean, maybe you’re right, I haven’t done a tally, but I see contentious men being referred to as Mr. So-and-so all the time. Mock-formality, as Mr. Parsia suggests above.

              Even more “mock” would be the use of “Brother” So-and-so, which I’ve seen on occasion (and which irritates the hell out of me).

              • Excuse me, but it’s Dr. Parsia.

                If you are going to mock me with an honorific, please at least have the common courtesy to use the most pompous one that I might legitimately command!

        • Boudleaux

          I would require some proof of how exactly it is “sexist” before deferring to that suggestion. I accept that such treatment is overwhelmingly reserved for women. But so is referring to people as “she” or “her,” which must then be equally sexist?

          I’m not sure that I can see a way that “Ms.” is degrading or dismissive.

          • Marek

            Agreed. My wife prefers “Ms.” Where does the idea that “Ms.” is sexist come from? Pretty sure there is a magazine that disagrees.

            • It’s not the use of “Ms” over “Mrs” or “Miss” (that’s great!), it’s the use of an “honorific” where one wouldn’t ordinarily use on.

              So, if in an exchange with Erik, I were to say, “Dr. Loomis, you are a fool”, it’s clear that I’m not using “Dr.” to indicate my respect (especially as I habitually use “Erik”).

              In a context where I referred to everyone by their surname but said “Megan” (and didn’t know her personally), that would be (almost certainly) sexist. Similarly, a context where I used everyone’s surname and said “Ms McArdle” that would likely be sexist. It’d be somewhat worse to say “Miss McArdle”, but the use of “Miss” vs. “Ms” isn’t the only objectionable bit.

              • Marek

                So how would you refer to her then? Just “McArdle”? Who talks like that, outside of legal pleadings?

                • Anonymous

                  Try every instance a man is brought up in these here fora. Are you saying folk are regularly calling Ryan and Romney Messrs? Doubt it.

                • Yeah I would use McArdle (or I might vary a lot depending on what other people use, as I did in the Yglesias threads). Wouldn’t you? If she were participating in the conversation, didn’t indicate otherwise, and it was the trend, I’d probably use Megan.

                  The use of honorifics straight is very odd and dated. There’s some exception for certain classes of public figure.

                  Most academic writing uses last names without honorifics since, afaik, about the 1960s.

                • (Also, look throughout this thread.)

                  (To anonymous, you are wrong about the incidence on LGM, as this search shows. Some post titles:

                  “Tonight at the Non-Sequitur Theater: Mr. David Brooks!”

                  “The Anti-Semitic Idiocy of Mr. Brooks Bayne”

                  “Article 1 Did Not Enact Mr. Paul Ryan’s War on the New Deal”

                  From, “I Fear for the Future of the New Republic” we have “You might ask “How could it get any worse?” To that query, I reply “Mr. James Kirchick.” (“Mr. Kirchick” is used throughout.)

                  And used positively: “And a Happy Birthday to Mr. Neil Diamond!”

        • Warren Terra

          The use of the honorific is almost always meant sarcastically – a sort of heightened formalism to convey contempt. Except, of course, when the writer is being excessively formal in order to distinguish themselves from an atmosphere of disrespect. It’s a minefield. At the least, though, it almost always conveys a distance, a lack of affection (Doctor and Professor, being of higher status, sometimes but not always bely this, as when people refer to Dr. Maddow to remind people that the MSNB host and author in question is a serious and accomplished person).

          But given that someone has decided to use the honorific, for whatever reason, so far as I’m aware “Ms.” is a perfectly correct honorific to use. The sexist choice would be “Miss”, or perhaps even “Mrs.”. It definitely is not a choice that necessarily betrays sexism.

          • Anonymous

            There’s never a reason to use an honorific when you’re disparaging someone, except to sarcastically underline disdain. When men quarrel with one another on the interwebz, they never trot out a Mr. or Mister to get their point across. I personally have never seen it, and the dudes whinging above ought to provide some proof of their claims that it’s common.

            Ms. is an old-fashioned attempt at a slight, suggesting that your interlocutor is uppity and is putting on airs. When applied in real life, it’s generally accentuated, pronounced “Mizzzzz” in an ironic tone. “Look at this lil liberated lady, shoulder pads in tow, she thinks she’s people” routine. It’s tired, and it’s sexist, and it smacks a bit of good, old-fashioned male terror.

            It’s regularly used by male trolls on women’s blogs, with an air of meek submission, despite the women asking, over and over again, that said trolls stop calling them Ms. Whoever and just get to the point of the comment. It may be subtle to men, but women catch on to such tactics quite early in a discussion, particularly if its heated. I’m not too bothered about all the protesting up above. It sorts of proves my point.

            • Warren Terra

              1) If you are interested in having a serious discussion – and by all appearances you are, your comments are cogent and reasoned, even as I don’t agree with them – please adopt a pseudonym. Anonymity is confusing, and a barrier to communication.

              2) It may interest you to know that a Google search of LGM for “Mr. Goldberg” finds 15 hits; this isn’t a lot, but the same search for “Ms. McArdle” finds only 4. So I’m a bit skeptical when you say you never see arch use of the male honorific.

              I for one have used both Ms. and Mr. to achieve exaggerated formality, both to convey sarcastic disrespect and to appear superficially respectful in the hope my comments will be taken seriously, rather than dismissed as a low slur. It can of course be difficult to tell which is which.

              You protest that “Ms.” necessarily means the stereotyped contemptious “Mizzz” – but I believe it is also, when sincerely used, the preferred and perhaps the only female honorific for a woman who lacks a doctorate or some title based on profession (Professor, Senator, Judge, etcetera). I have no idea what other honorific you think can safely and appropriately be used. And it’s hard to tell the two apart in writing.

            • Hogan

              When men quarrel with one another on the interwebz, they never trot out a Mr. or Mister to get their point across.

              Unless it’s Lord Saletan.

              • I do it all the time. In fact, I’m much more likely to do it to male interlocutors than female ones. It’s a distancing tactic, a signal that the often-false informality of internet conversations should not apply.

            • L2P

              That’s . . . just not true.

              When I’m in roll call and I like an officer, I call him/her either “McOfficer” or “Officer McOfficer.” If I think he/she is an idiot, I generally call him “Mr. McOfficer” or Ms. McOfficer.” With a LOT of emphasis on the “Mr.” or “Ms.” It’s an easy way to show disdain.

            • Boudleaux

              So, that people don’t agree with you is proof that you are correct?

              That trolls do it to make [anonymous posters who purport to be] women mad is proof that you are correct? On an anonymous online forum? Do you know whether these trolls are male or female, Ms./Mr. Anonymous? I didn’t think so.

            • Lyanna

              There’s never a reason to use an honorific when you’re disparaging someone, except to sarcastically underline disdain.

              There is, however, every reason to use an honorific if you’re critiquing them without reaching the level of “disparagement.”

              Which is what LarsMacomb was doing in that comment when he called her “Ms.” All he said was tat he’s not a fan, but that her interview was good. Which falls pretty short of disparagement.

              • Oh, that’s an excellent point that I totally missed. It’s entirely possible that LarsMacomb was being sincere in the use!

        • Cody

          Wait until we’re all speaking Russian, and you’re going to have to make us all use gender neutral adjectives and verbs. Otherwise, it’ll be sexist!

          (I’m not even sure there are gender neutral words for most applications though…)

  • SP

    Law school people- give me your take on the latest right-wing shiny object about Elizabeth Warren committing fraud:

    • Paul Campos

      Non-story that shouldn’t be fed any media oxygen.

      • SP

        What do I tell my right wing friends (yes, that’s my first mistake) on FB to refute it?

        • Paul Campos

          Tell them that since she’s a Native American the state bar doesn’t have jurisdiction over her.

          • Marek

            Now that’s funny.

            • Jameson Quinn

              It is. But not useful.

              • arguingwithsignposts

                neither is trying to refute RWFOFB’s with logic and reason.

                • John

                  The point is not to convince the Right Wing Friend on Facebook, but to convince the Apolitical friends of Right Wing Friend on Facebook, surely.

          • SP

            Apologies for threadjacking on the second comment.

            • Hogan

              Yeah, please don’t distract us from the real business of “McArdle: spirochete or gonococcus?”

        • Leeds man

          There’s this:

          In making his arguments, Professor Jacobson makes a fatal error by assuming that merely preparing legal briefs in (seemingly non-Massachusetts) federal cases or providing advice on federal law while located in Massachusetts and maintaining a primary office in Massachusetts constitutes the “practice of law in Massachusetts.”

          • SP

            Thanks, that will do.

        • Warren Terra

          I’m not a lawyer, but a quick scan of the link shows no evidence to substantiate the author’s claim that Warren practiced law in a Massachusetts court – only that she was a lawyer resident in Massachusetts and practicing law in federal courts. There are a lot of claims in the linked post to the effect that a lawyer with an office in Massachusetts but not practicing in Massachusetts courts must nonetheless be accepted to the Massachusetts bar to maintain their office; this seems profoundly dubious to me, and also seems to rest on a very questionable interpretation of what it means when the law talks about a person who “practice(s) law (in Massachusetts)”.

          As I said, I’m not a lawyer. And Mr. Jacobson unaccountably is. Then again, I’m also not an idiot, and Mr. Jacobson indisputably is. I’ll wait until someone more plausibly qualified both as a lawyer and a non-idiot promotes this controversy.

          • Richard

            Unless she made an appearance in a Massachusetts case (which doesn’t appear to be the case), I dont believe she violated any law.

          • Hogan

            But then the backup argument is that QUESTIONS REMAIN, therefore Warren must spend the next month and a half releasing all details of her “private law practice” so that we can BE SURE.

            • somethingblue

              Exactly. She hasn’t been vetted!

          • Katya

            Generally, you do not have to be a member of the state bar of the state in which you reside or practice if your practice is in federal court. Federal courts have their own rules about who is qualified to appear before them. For example, government attorneys routinely appear in federal courts located in one state (or many states) while being licensed in a different state. If she’s not advising people on Massachusetts law or appearing in Massachusetts courts, she’s probably fine.

        • L2P

          You tell them you doubt the Attorney General of the United States of America is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in Massachusetts, and then tell them to stop being such dumbasses. (You can add that the Chief Counsel of the Treasury, the Chief Counsel of the FTC, the Chief Counsel of the FEC, and a bunch of other agencies also, too, are probably not routinely violating the ethics laws of the state of Massachusetts by filing federal actions in those states.)

          Who is this Professor Jacobson guy? Does he really think that EVERY SINGLE ATTORNEY at the DOJ routinely violates state ethics laws almost every day? Christ, what a moran.

          • Timb

            He’s a republican moron

            • Cody

              He’s a republican moron


        • Hogan

          So Scott Brown had evidence that Warren committed serious professional malpractice, and insted of calling the state attorney general or the bar association, he rolled it out at the end of a political debate. Yeah, that’s the kind of guy I want in the upper house of my national legislature.

  • arguingwithsignposts

    Did you bring a big person’s calculator? (I won’t give the Daily Beast the benefit of a click, no matter who’s the subject of an interview)

  • I thought the whole thing was perfectly lucid. She seemed to be taking seriously, and even accepting, the problems you raised. This is progress.

  • Warren Terra

    I understand that you have a worthy message to distribute, and she has a platform from which you can deliver it. Still, the reason her absurd career retains a semblance of credibility is because people – meaning, people like you – collaborate in perpetrating the fiction that she’s not a national disgrace, in return for favors like this one.

    Maybe you might the right choice, to get your message to Newsweek‘s audience. But please don’t pretend that this accomplishment didn’t come at a price – even a price measured in your own respectability.

    • Jameson Quinn

      Loss of respectability from linking mcardle: 2 pancakes. Worth it.

      • Warren Terra

        Not from linking McArdle. From conducting an interview with her, from treating her as if she were a journalist who had not so thoroughly and repeatedly discredited herself. From contributing to her veneer of respectability, to the illusion which she uses to distort and disgrace the national discourse.

    • Leeds man

      Hope you have your equestrian body protector on, Warren. A fall from that height could be nasty.

      • Because he’s right? The bigger danger is the “law school is a scam” argument being conflated with the “all higher ed is a scam” argument. One reason McArdle might want to participate in the interview is that she is more than happy to be doing such conflation in the future.

        • sparks

          One of the first things I thought is how far McMegs can ride such a conflation. The “higher education is not worth it” ground has already been plowed. She’ll add more seed to that. If she could find a way to extend it to educating the handicapped, I bet she’d be on that in a second.

          • arguingwithsignposts

            Well, if McCardle is going to argue that “higher education isn’t worth it,” in her case I would tend to agree.

            • arguingwithsignposts

              McArdle – edit button, plz

        • Leeds man

          Any interview comes with a price. Conflations can be made by anyone; the interviewer has no special standing there.

          • Just gotta acknowledge the game within the game.

        • rea

          The bigger danger is the “law school is a scam” argument being conflated with the “all higher ed is a scam” argument.

          All higher ed IS a scam. This is not to say that the education part is a scam, but it’s all absurdly overpriced.

    • Zachary Smith

      I believe I agree. A “worthy message” delivered via Rush ‘druggie’ Limpaugh or Sean Hannity might make some sort of sense, but in the long term it’s not going to be without cost.

    • swearyanthony

      To be fair: if the subject is scams, mccardle is something of an expert.

    • brad

      This is what I cannot find a polite way to say, although the truth is PC already lost my respect long ago. And while I’m just one jackass in the wild (I know), I can sadly say I’m not alone in that loss.

  • sparks

    Wow, first it was Jane Hamsher with Grover Norquist and now it’s this.

  • Linnaeus

    It’s “McArdle”, by the way, not “McCardle”.

  • MPAVictoria

    “nothing having anything to do with her is worth reading.”
    Indeed. What the hell Paul? Would you do an interview with Erik son of Eric? Megan is no better.

    • Matt

      People around here often forget, or don’t know, that Campos went on O’Reilly and argued that Ward Churchill, a state employee, should be fired for his constitutionally protected speech. It wasn’t about the other issues that came up about Churchill later, either. That wasn’t known yet. It’s worth saying again. Campos went on O’Reilly’s show and argued that a state employee should be fired for his constitutionally protected speech. That tells you pretty much all you need to know about him.

      • BobS

        That’s pretty shitty if true. I’d like to hear Mr. Campos’ version of the story.

        • spencer

          As would I.

      • BobS

        I probably should have taken a few minutes to search before I commented. I found a link to a somewhat disgusting site called DiscoverTheNetworks.org, where the Ward Churchill pile on included links to articles by Paul Weyrich, Bill O’Reilly, Linda Chavez, and David Horowitz, as well as linking to an article by Professor Campos at FrontPageMag.com, which is apparently where David Horowitz is a resident crazy and where the current issue features an article by Michelle Malkin as well as one titled “Collaborators in the War Against the Jews: Norman Finkelstein”.
        Thanks for the heads up, Matt.

        • spencer

          I had forgotten all about DiscoverTheNetworks …

      • Leeds man

        People around here often forget, or don’t know, that Campos went on O’Reilly and argued that Ward Churchill, a state employee, should be fired for his constitutionally protected speech.

        I knew nothing about it, but found the O’Reilly transcript pretty quick, and nowhere in there does Campos say what you say he says. He mentions an investigation into academic fraud, which I believe resulted in Churchill’ dismissal at a later date.

        The key Q/A:

        O’REILLY: Maybe. I mean I don’t want to go beyond the evidence.

        Last question. Do you agree with me that the board of regents will probably fire him based on competency? I think that’s where they’ll get him.

        CAMPOS: I don’t have a good sense of that at this point. I believe that given what I know, and given what I’ve learned by studying the situation vis-a-vis Ward Churchill, that that would be the appropriate decision, although it’s not my decision to make.

        This person won’t quickly forget that Matt goes around making questionable accusations.

        • BobS

          O’REILLY: Am I being unfair to this Churchill guy?
          CAMPOS: No, I don’t think so. I think it would be very difficult to be unfair to him actually.
          O’REILLY: But what is his agenda? What is he trying to do? I mean, it’s so over the top and so hateful, it’s hard to believe.
          CAMPOS: Well, it is incredibly over the top. And I would encourage everybody who’s interested in this debate to actually read his essay, which is widely available on the Internet so you can decide for yourself whether these characterizations of it are accurate or not.
          Once I actually went and read the entire thing, I was so appalled, that I wrote a column about it, decrying and denouncing the idea that the University of Colorado would have as a tenured member of its faculty somebody who could be spewing this kind of disgusting nonsense in the context of a supposedly academic environment.
          O’REILLY: But then you go over to the — you know, I want to tell everybody you do write a column for “The Rocky Mountain News.” But then you go into the freedom of speech area. And that’s where all these academics are hiding.
          They’re basically saying OK, we all deplore what Professor Churchill says, but it’s freedom of speech. He has a right to do it and all of that. How do you answer?
          CAMPOS: Well, yes, he does have a right to do it in the sense that the government does not have the right to stop him from publishing what he wants to publish. And in that sense, yes, he has a First Amendment right, like all other Americans do, to say what he wants to say.
          That does not mean that if he engages in conduct, including publishing things that bring into question his professional competence that the University of Colorado, his employer, cannot sanction him for behaving in that fashion.

          • Leeds man

            Ah, I assumed only one O’Reilly interview. My bad. Sorry, Matt.

          • Lyanna

            I guess, if I were going to defend Campos based on that interview alone, I’d note that he said “sanction,” not “fire,” and he specifically said it was okay only if Churchill’s conduct brought his professional competence into question.

            So, read as generously as possible, he was saying that if Churchill outrageous speech crossed some academic/professional line, he could be reprimanded. Maybe.

            • That’s pretty generous given:

              Once I actually went and read the entire thing, I was so appalled, that I wrote a column about it, decrying and denouncing the idea that the University of Colorado would have as a tenured member of its faculty somebody who could be spewing this kind of disgusting nonsense in the context of a supposedly academic environment.

              To say the least, this wasn’t a robust defence of academic freedom. I think a better move would be to say, “Tenure appropriately protects wackadoodles like Churchill, but both the university community and the university itself can condem his content. After all, Churchill only speaks for himself. Note that this is a stronger commitment that first amendment protection, but one universities have to embrace. What’s interesting are cases where the speech at least prima facie violates the campus code or whether such speech pre-tenure should be a negative factor in the tenure decision.”

              Not a shining moment, Paul. Do you stand by that interview?

  • MFA

    IANAMC (I am not a media critic), but this interview’s exchange of legitimacy for exposure replicates quite precisely, though in a small way, the rot at the core of contemporary journalism.

    And so a real and worthwhile story becomes tainted.

    • Julian

      Look for McArdle’s next book: “‘The Law School Scam’ Scam,” about how some law professors are pumping and dumping an unsustainable story that attacks the very foundations of our Free Market.

    • Paul Campos

      It would be helpful if LGM commenters could provide a list of approved journalists who can interview LGM bloggers without loss of legitimacy (I note no one has raised any objections to the actual content of the interview).

      Is Andrew Sullivan OK?

      Glenn Greenwald?

      Jane Hamsher?

      David Brooks?

      So many lines to draw!

      • Ooo! Ooo! I know this one!

        Is Andrew Sullivan OK?

        What are you, racist? No!

        Glenn Greenwald?

        And support Ron Paul, c’mon! No.

        Jane Hamsher?

        Why would you want to make Obama cry? No.

        David Brooks?

        OH COME ON! Just eat a baby, why don’t you. No!

        Keep your bodily fluids pure and don’t forget: Vote Nader.

        • But what am I saying!?!? Everyone knows you are beholden to Big Sugar anyway!

          • Arthur Anderson, LLP

            Yea, but McMegan is in deep with Big Two-By-Four.

          • Paul Campos

            Foiled again.

            Seriously, here’s an interesting glimpse into the habits of journalists: I’ve done probably 200 interviews on the fat stuff — possibly more — and I’ve been asked exactly once if I have any financial interest in regard to the positions I’m taking. Now I’m taking a contrarian view, and there are all kinds of people who one would suspect (wrongly it turns out) of trying to subsidize that view. But no one ever asks!

            If they’re not asking ME, how often do you suppose they ask Dr. Prof. Harvard Guy who’s just repeating the culturally approved view if he has any conflicts of interest?

            • That seems like crappy journalism to me. But I don’t know what the standards are. Perhaps they’ve researched you and decided that you’re just ornery.

              But, for realz, no interviews with Brooks! The comment section couldn’t handle the traffic.

              • Anonymous

                Look, I am the resident Sully hater here, or at least I can’t recall anyone chiming in last time I complained about him, and I wouldn’t have a problem with an interview.

                Why? Because when Sully is linked to for his analysis, that’s a problem. Here, interview means no direct analysis. Sully could take the results of that interview and add in his lousy analysis, but he could do that with any content from anywhere.

                There is also a danger of a just lousy interview because the interviewer tries to twist the questions into getting what he or she wants out of the discussion, but this is not a problem in this case.

                Why is Sully’s analysis a problem? Because he is in the right-wing tank despite saying somewhat reasonable things at times. Promoting him as an analyst is not a positive thing. Sully believes the debt is one of our biggest problems, he believes inflation is a serious danger, and that Fanny and Freddie were responsible for the housing crisis and/or QE2 had no effect and/or any other idiot GOP talking point. Or rather I should say he holds 80% of the above GOP idiotic ideas of the moment, because he is such a independent thinker you know.

                Links to Sully should be of the ‘even Sully can figure it out’ variety.

                But my real comment is that this seems a bit snarky. Look, with this group you are going to get some sh*t from people.

                Deal with it. People have opinions. Some ideas and some people are just toxic, they must be rejected, because they freaking multiply. If someone was an active global warming denier, would you want to give him some link-love for his post about French wines?

                Paul wanted a platform. He got it, in the form of M McArdle. He got sh*t for it here. Oh the horrors of it all!

                I am just surprised she could do a straight interview. But I knew she could I suppose. She will conflate the information later, but again that’s something she could do anyway.

                • RhZ

                  that was me

                • I’m not sure why you are replying to my funsy reply to Paul. Obviously, I don’t think that doing an interview with Brooks is the same or worse than eating a baby.


      • spencer

        McArdle’s a journalist now?

        • Uncle Kvetch

          McArdle’s a journalist now?

          Yes. But then again, so’s Paul Guckert.

          • Leeds man

            So is David Gregory. So is Candy Crowley. The list goes on.

        • sparks

          Even Barry Ritholtz seems to believe she’s not.

          She’s a plant what needs watering from the Kochs.

      • MPAVictoria

        Is there anyone who you would refuse to allow to interview you regarding this book Paul?

      • sparks

        If you don’t know which dogs (i.e. propagandists and loons) not to lie down with, and it seems you don’t, have at it and have fun. I know I won’t be reading you in future. Same thing happened with Hamsher, I just ceased reading, and lo, my sinuses cleared, my scalp stopped itching, and I lost weight.

      • Jeffrey Kramer

        It would be helpful if LGM commenters could provide a list of approved journalists who can interview LGM bloggers without loss of legitimacy

        It would only be “helpful” in the sense of providing you with the comforting perception that everybody who has qualms about the McArdle interview is the kind of left-McCarthy purist fanatic who actually keeps a list of who’s on the wrong side of the toleration line.

        As opposed to what actually happened, which was people saying “I don’t like the idea of giving implicit approval to somebody like McArdle.” As people say, all the time, stuff like “I don’t like the idea of giving publicity/money/prestige to that kind of person/company/government”: without being expected to have a list handy.

        • OK, how about “I don’t like the idea of giving publicity/money/prestige to thatany kind of person, company or government?”

          • Jeffrey Kramer

            Everyone’s got problems, but some are more problematic than others, I think. The possibilities seem to be:

            1) There’s no problem: this is a non-issue no matter who plays the “McArdle” role here. It wouldn’t matter if it was Rush Limbaugh or Bryan Fischer or [Godwin violation]. So get off Paul’s case.

            2) There would be a problem if the person in the McArdle role was Limbaugh or Fischer or [Godwin violation]. So we should draw the line somewhere, but McArdle is obviously well short of that line. Get off Paul’s case.

            3) We should draw the line somewhere, and it looks to me like McArdle is either close to the line or on the wrong side of it. Maybe get on Paul’s case, maybe not, depending on where you draw it.

            4) McArdle is obviously well over the line. Get on Paul’s case.

            • RhZ

              Get on his case, but its a fact-based interview.

              Again, surely McArdle will twist and turn Paul’s findings into her own magical creation, but she can do that whenever she wants, the info is on his site.

              I suppose there is giving her credibility, and that is actually quite sad.

              Because she really needs to be out rather than in, that’s for sure.

            • rea

              I would add, that if you have the rhetorical chops to go on Limbaugh’s show and hand him his ass, you by all means should do so.

      • Halloween Jack

        Only one of the people that you list writes for the Beast, AFAIK, and yes, he’s less objectionable than Ms. Let Them Eat Pink Himalayan Salt.

        • RhZ

          Whoa you are calling McArdle worse that Andrew ‘the leftists in their coastal enclaves’ Sullivan?

          What has Megan actually ever done besides irritate numerate people? When has she attacked liberals as traitors?

          She should be thrilled to hold Sully’s codpiece when it comes to rank hackery.

          • She did advocate violence against anti-war protesters.

            • RhZ

              Pshaw! She’s a rank amateur!

              Shall we check the record, Mr. Value-Added Commentor (that’s in jest, I thought it was really funny when it happened):

              From his website:

              (SOME BIN LADEN STATEMENT):One of the amazing things about the far left’s embrace of the anti-American ideology… Liberals of all people should be the most serious about fighting this scourge. Is their hatred of America that deep?

              APPEASEMENT WATCH: …But we might as well be aware of the enemy within the West itself – a paralyzing, pseudo-clever, morally nihilist fifth column that will surely ramp up its hatred in the days and months ahead.

              RETRACT WHAT?: Tim Noah of Slate asks me to retract the following sentences from my recent piece for the Sunday Times of London: “The middle part of the country–the great red zone that voted for Bush–is clearly ready for war. The decadent left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead–and may well mount a fifth column.” Noah doesn’t elucidate why this should be retracted, presumably because he doesn’t really know, except that his left-wing friends find it abhorrent. Note what I didn’t say… What I was clearly saying is that some decadent leftists in “enclaves” – not regions – on the coasts are indeed more concerned with what they see as the evil of American power than the evil of terrorism, that their first response was to blame America, and that their second response was to disavow any serious military action. If this was their attitude in the days after 5,000 civilians were killed, what will they say and do when we have to take real risks and incur more civilian casualties weeks and months from now? These people have already openly said they do not support such a war, and will oppose it. Read Sontag and Chomsky and Moore and Alterman and on and on, and you’ll see that I’m not exaggerating. Go to any campus and you’ll find many, many academics saying the same thing. If anything, I’m minimizing their open hatred of the United States. So why should I retract? Noah’s quote is a deliberate smear to obscure my larger point.

              THE FIFTH COLUMN: I hadn’t received Tim Noah’s email yesterday when I wrote “RETRACT WHAT?” below. It got lost in cyberspace. He re-sent me it this morning. I retract nothing, since the point I thought he was trying to make is simply untrue. I have absolutely nothing against the countless patriots in the blue zone, as my tribute to New Yorkers and the rest of the essay shows. I was talking about a few intellectuals and their cohorts who clearly do feel ambivalence about America fighting and winning this war. But these broad categories of “blue” and “red zones” can be misleading and unhelpful. I won’t use this shorthand again. Ditto the shorthand of “fifth column.” I have no reason to believe that even those sharp critics of this war would actually aid and abet the enemy in any more tangible ways than they have done already. By fifth column, I meant simply their ambivalence about the outcome of a war on which I believe the future of liberty hangs. Again, I retract nothing. But I am sorry that one sentence was not written more clearly to dispel any and all such doubts about its meaning. Writing 6,000 words under deadline in the heat of war can lead to occasional sentences whose meaning is open to misinterpretation.

              (SOME BLOGFIGHT): I will point out that the dubious loyalty of some on the fringe left does not amount to a “disgusting diatribe” but a mere statement of fact. A movement to oppose all and every Western response to terrorism is already afoot, and it is based on the notion, widely held in these quarters, that the United States is morally inferior to the hoodlums who killed thousands, or is so morally crippled that it has no right to a robust response.

              And for dessert, the ‘apology’ column, 9 years later, which begins by quoting the RETRACT WHAT? post above, which he describes as attempting to defend himself, then saying:

              “[But] I really was thinking of far left academics [When I wrote RETRACT WHAT]. But even then, I quickly realized this was a step too far and apologized” and then quotes THE FIFTH COLUMN, i.e. the one where he said ‘I retract nothing’. Twice.

              Oh my, ‘far left academics’! That’s you, buddy. Did you know that you are a dirty traitor because you don’t agree with Sully’s optimal policy choices? A fricking green-card holder telling us that, peoples. Where is the outrage???!!?1?

              Anyway, here is his actual complete apology:

              Let me take one more chance nine years later to apologize again, and to say that, in retrospect, my vitriol for the academic left should not have veered into that territory, and I am ashamed I went there. But also to clarify some myths about it: I was not describing half the country (really, truly), and I was not describing opponents of the Iraq war (that was way in the future).

              Come to think of it, Sully did exactly what Mitt just did: in a foreign policy crisis, he attacked ‘his own’. He should be shunned for it.

              Its interesting, each time I do these rants I have to look everything up again, and I learn new things. This time it was the ‘I retract nothing’ column that he calls an apology later, last time was the revelation that he recently explained his early support for Bush as stemming from a belief in these words from Bush:

              It’s worth remembering that I endorsed George W. Bush in 2000 partly because of his insistence on a humble foreign policy and a lower defense budget than Al Gore.

              What an amazing political commentator! So very incisive!

              • There will be a high stakes multiple choice test on this thread.

                I remember the Sullivile stuff. But it falls short of outright advocacy of violence, doesn’t it? (It’s there by implication, natch.) And there is a half hearted apology of sorts (as with McArdle).

                If you want to say that Sullivan is worse, I won’t really argue, but it’s not like they aren’t in the same general category. Sullivan seems less consistently bonkerly wrong.

                (He’s clearly done more substantive damage to the public discourse…primarily the Bell Curve and ClintonCare. The latter probably caused way more direct harm than anything else he or McArdle did. To be fair, McArdle is still early in her career.

                The fifth column stuff was hardly the worst that was written and not just by Coulter.)

                • Oh, and of course she is a rank amateur! At just about everything!

  • The Dark Avenger

    You shouldn’t be interviewed by her, because unlike the other folks you mentioned, Ms. McArdle has a record of having the intelligence of a horseshoe.

    Quite frankly, I’m surprised that McMegan didn’t finish that last “quitcher whining” harangue with a triumphant “Q.E.D. Case closed. In your face. Suck it.”.

    So …. to summarize the libertarian response to how we treat our wimmens:

    Government should use “non-coercive” methods to shame women about choosing a perfectly legal medical procedure

    Government has the right to mandate a medically unnecessary photo-op with the maybe baby prior to the perfectly legal medical procedure

    Government has the right to impose a waiting (or call it a ‘cooling off’) period before women are permitted to have their perfectly legal medical procedure.

    Government has the right to shove a foreign object up a woman’s vagina to take another picture because it is not near as bad as that perfectly legal medical procedure and – you know, what – there are worse things in life so just shut the hell up, lie back and count your blessings.

    Because you can’t make a libertarian omelet without breaking a few privacy eggs.

    You really jumped the shark, Mr. Campos, giving an interview to a woman who can’t even apparently use a calculator correctly.

    Koch Brothers Shill.

    In 2010, McArdle wrote about how she bought a house in a low-income black neighborhood in Washington DC that was in the process of being gentrified, and claimed she’d met an anonymous black man on a bus who told McArdle he (and presumably many more) blacks fully approved of their neighborhoods being gentrified and pushed out by wealthier whites. McArdle quoted the anonymous pro-gentrification black man telling her: “‘You know, you may have heard us talking about you people, how we don’t want you here. A lot of people are saying you all are taking the city from us. Way I feel is, you don’t own a city.’ He paused and looked around the admittedly somewhat seedy street corner. ‘Besides, look what we did with it. We had it for forty years, and look what we did with it!'”

    In December 2010, McArdle attacked a New York Times investigation into the dangerous effects of formaldehyde, which causes cancer in humans. McArdle mocked those dangers: “It’s a chemical! Indeed it is. You’re surrounded by chemicals. Your couch is made of chemicals. So is the table. So is the hand-carded wool sweater you bought from the woman who raises her own sheep on organic feed. Distilled water is a chemical. Fine wine is full of them.” Once again, McArdle ran cover for Koch Industries’ business interests: According to an investigation into the Koch family by New Yorker reporter Jane Meyer, “Koch Industries has been lobbying to prevent the E.P.A. from classifying formaldehyde, which the company produces in great quantities, as a ‘known carcinogen’ in humans.” [ 6 ]

  • JBJ

    Wow, I am surprised by the direction this thread has taken, though maybe I shouldn’t be.

    The de facto definition of “journalist” is changing fast, but “has a prominent spot at the Daily Beast/Newsweek site” would seem to qualify. I don’t think highly of McArdle either, but I don’t think Paul should be held accountable for Tina Brown’s hiring decisions.

    Here’s one vote for, It was a perfectly good interview, on a prominent MSM site. Congratulations, Paul.

    • Richard

      I second that congratulations. Fine interview. Paul got across the points he intended to make. People with a point of view to push like Paul shouldn’t be restricted to interviews with people they like or people who agree with them or even people they respect. No need to preach to the converted.

      • Cody

        I would say this is an important point.

        If you’re looking to sway minds, you don’t write in the tea party web newsletter about how awesome 0 government regulation is.

        You have to go into “hostile” territory, and you get the bonus of extra exposure in this case. I don’t think this interview is exactly upgrading McArdle to “greatest journalist ever” status.

  • dl

    On the merits of this law school “scam,” PC seems to be right. But the support from libertarians who are out discredit non-profit educational institutions per se makes me, and I bet other readers of LGM, quite uncomfortable.

    • Bingo

    • brad


      Why is just before how, on the list.

  • Grant

    All of you complaining about the interview with McArdle are forgetting that to make any progress in this world, you have to make compromises and get your hands dirty, like serious people.

    -What’s that on your hands?
    =Uhh, blood.
    =Real world. Got to make compromises.
    -Wait! WAIT! Why is there severed kitten head bobbing on your erect penis?!!?!
    =REAL WORLD, MAN. Are you a serious person or not. You got to make compromises!

  • brad

    Here’s what I don’t get.
    She’s a bad source, well known as one, and has no profile outside the “inside baseball” crowd.
    The Daily Beast has a comparatively tiny readership, is also generally poorly regarded, and Newsweek has been reduced to obvious trolling for attention, which is hardly a sign of good trends in circulation.

    Where is the gain here? Those few who haven’t already come across discussion of this topic but do come across the interview will, imo, be inclined to take it extremely critically, if not worse.
    And in the meanwhile, McMegan has a new 2×4 with which to beat back the unwashed hordes who want to make her feel intellectually inadequate by earning passing grades at online night school. (Not to disparage those who, unlike her, actually make an effort to learn.)

  • It’s an interesting dilemma. On one hand, Mr. Campos will earn more money by conducting such interviews and he is not responsible for how others decide to use his information to push their own agenda. But on the other hand, Mr. Campos risks harming the message he wished to convey by agreeing to the interview.

    So the question is, does the interview itself help or harm him? When we look closely at the interview we can see that Mr. Campos got his point across–for several reasons, law schools are getting away with charging too much and that should stop. But we can also see that McArdle got her point across:

    But now you’re saying that we’re basically putting the ambulance chasers out of business?

    How can schools go back to a lower-cost model? Don’t you all have tenure?

    McArdle’s overarching point is that income inequality is not a problem. To get away with this she must chip away at the notion of upper mobility; she has already said that it’s a lost cause. So she will work to elimate tenure (easier to get rid of all those liberals in academia, eliminate unions, and turn schools over to corporations), devalue the importance of higher education (she has said we need a better class of servants anyway) and even devalue lawyers (they are either elite successes or ambulance chasers).

    The result:

    But then the killer question: what do we do with all the English majors?

    Paul: That is indeed the killer question, and I don’t have a good answer. The answer I give in the book is: don’t make a bad situation worse by doubling down on useless degrees. As I argue, going to the average law school at full price because you can’t get a job with your English degree is like having a baby to try to salvage a crumbling relationship.

    The impression given is that it’s not so bad that people can’t afford law school anymore.

    Fortunately we know what to do with English majors who want to succeed: give them a Koch Institute for Humane Studies scholarship and a series of lucrative jobs in the media.

    • Lyanna

      Excellent summary of the problem here, and good points–I hadn’t considered McArdle’s wider income inequality agenda with respect to this interview.

    • They can make license plates because only richies can afford to learn stuff. Factory jobs await, natch- and raise the retirement age to 80!

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