The controversy over Newsweek's latest issue is continuing to swirl, and the magazine itself is coming under fire.
What might be called "l'affaire Ferguson" erupted on Sunday, when Paul Krugman lit into writer Niall Ferguson for what he deemed to be unforgivable factual errors in Ferguson's cover story for the magazine. Ferguson then responded to Krugman, saying that he had been telling the truth and nothing but.
His response was followed by a whole phalanx of fact-checkers, economists and bloggers who trashed the story and Ferguson's rebuttal, saying that both were filled with distortions and falsehoods about Obama's record. The biggest issue people took was with Ferguson's seeming use of a part of the Affordable Care Act as a way to say the whole act would add to the deficit, though the Congressional Budget Office has said it would not.
Ferguson replied rather blithely, taking to Fox News to say, "hell hath no fury like a liberal blogger scorned," and telling Bloomberg that he thinks his credibility is intact.
Newsweek, too, had a muted reaction to the outcry at first. It issued a statement saying that it was continuing to "monitor the debate," and posted an item on its website listing some of the reactions to the piece. It also admitted that it did not fact-check Ferguson's article.
Later, executive editor Justine Rosenthal said that the article should be viewed as opinion. "These are of course, informed, but they are arguments, not just reported pieces," she said in a video posted to the Daily Beast. "I'm not sure there is a clear delineation of right and wrong here."
The magazine came in for more than its fair share of criticism.
Leading the way was Capital New York editor Tom McGeveran, who said that editor Tina Brown was risking damaging her magazine. "If Newsweek's editor doesn't take it seriously, why should anybody?" he wrote.
Atlantic blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates also said that it was an embarrassing moment for Newsweek.
"Ferguson was not truthful in his article," he wrote. "Instead of his editors calling him on it, and noting it for the public, they lent him their website to double down on his dishonesty. And then to defend the initial error, the magazine cited current trends."
The Columbia Journalism Review's Ryan Chittum also chimed in.
"Tina Brown is finally getting her rag talked about, at least," he wrote. "But at a high cost to its credibility."
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