Paul Krugman slams "Obamacare truther" Joe Scarborough for "vile" accusations

The Times columnist is not amused with the MSNBC host's claim that the White House is trying to "cook the books"

Published April 16, 2014 9:31PM (EDT)

                                                                                                                                                                (AP Photo/ Francisco Seco)
(AP Photo/ Francisco Seco)

Taking aim at one of his favorite targets, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman penned a scathing attack on MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on Wednesday, writing at his blog that the former Republican congressman (and Krugman critic) was guilty of being an "Obamacare truther" who is throwing around "vile" accusations.

What set Krugman off was Scarborough's claim, made earlier that morning, that the Census Bureau's decision to change the way it measures how many Americans have health insurance is an example of the Obama administration trying to "cook the books" in order to make Obamacare look better.

"Listen, the White Houses on both sides do their best to cook the books," Scarborough said. "This is a particularly clumsy effort."

While he acknowledged that the census' decision was ill-timed, at least from a political perspective, Krugman defended the integrity of government statisticians and slammed Scarborough for his unsubstantiated charge. "You can argue that the Census decision to change its health-insurance questionnaire starting with the 2013 data wasn’t such a good idea," Krugman wrote, "in fact, I know a number of health care experts who are dismayed.

"But it’s really quite vile to have talk-show hosts who quite literally know nothing about the field," Krugman continued, "other than that they’re against covering the uninsured, casually accusing Census of 'cooking the books' to support Obamacare.

"But remember, MSNBC is the liberal network, right?" Krugman snarked. "Why don’t they just hire Donald Trump and be done with it?"

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

MORE FROM Elias Isquith

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Affordable Care Act Census Joe Scarborough Msnbc Obamacare Paul Krugman The New York Times