Is Thomas Friedman a total quack?

THIS IS THE CAPTION UNDER THIS PICTURE ON FLICKR: So I got to meet Thomas Friedman, yeah I know hes a quack but it was still pretty cool. B

NO JOKE, THIS IS THE CAPTION UNDER THIS PICTURE ON FLICKR: "So I got to meet Thomas Friedman, yeah I know he's a quack but it was still pretty cool."

Barret Brown has a good piece in Vanity Fair about why we shouldn’t listen to Thomas Friedman.  Brown points out that Friedman issued pronouncements about Putin, trade with China and the war in Afghanistan.  So why should we care what he says about President Obama and the economic crisis?  Brown opens the article:

In this morning’s New York Times, columnist Thomas Friedman makes a grave prediction regarding Obama and the ongoing financial crisis: “I fear that his whole first term could be eaten by Citigroup, A.I.G., Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and the whole housing/subprime credit bubble we inflated these past 20 years.” Friedman is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, a staple of The New York Times, and a bestselling author, and thus this prediction should be taken very seriously—in some alternate universe where the news media is a meritocracy and Thomas Friedman is a competent observer of the world and its workings. The rest of us can probably relax.

Brown is right.  Thomas Friedman somehow seems like he’s brilliant, but really he’s just a blowhard.  The Vanity Fair article doesn’t even mention Friedman’s support for the war in Iraq and his inability to admit he was wrong. Or his justification of collective punishment during Israel’s assault on Gaza in January.

So I’m going to follow Barrett Brown’s advice and “stop pretending that  Friedman’s prognostication deserves to be taken seriously.”  I invite you to join me.


Photo by Flickr user e-mendoza used under Creative Commons lisence.

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