Niall Ferguson trolls everyone in Newsweek

Getting every single fact wrong in a magazine cover story is a great way to get everyone's attention.

Alex Pareene in Salon:

Xif-newsweeks-goal-was-to-spark-controversy-with-its-obama-bashing-cover-article-then-the-error.jpg,q108.pagespeed.ic.GfpCczzOtrNiall Ferguson is an intellectual fraud whose job, for years, has been to impress dumb rich Americans with his accent and flatter them with his writings. It’s a pretty easy con, honestly, if you’re born shameless and British (or French). His main argument is that Western Civilization as embodied by the British Empire is awesome and wonderful even though it traditionally involved quite a bit of killing and enslaving of non-Westerners. Since becoming an insufferable American political commentator he’s decided that America needs to cut Medicare and spend the savings on fighting neo-imperialist wars with an army made up of “the illegal immigrants, the jobless and the convicts.” (Also he sued the London Review of Books for publishing this devastating review of his career.)

So Ferguson wrote a Newsweek cover (Newsweek has become “trolling America weekly” since Tina Brown took over) about how he thinks Obama shouldn’t be president anymore, and while there are tons of very legitimate and compelling arguments against the Obama presidency, Ferguson instead based his article on a bunch of crap he made up. And the piece is full of just really obvious fallacies and little moments of mendacity like this:

In an unguarded moment earlier this year, the president commented that the private sector of the economy was “doing fine.” Certainly, the stock market is well up (by 74 percent) relative to the close on Inauguration Day 2009. But the total number of private-sector jobs is still 4.3 million below the January 2008 peak.

Hm! Weird that one thing is measured from January 2009 and the other thing from January 2008, right?

So his piece is just fundamentally dishonest, top to bottom.

More here.