Home > Beltway bulls**t, Truthiness > David Brooks is a con man

David Brooks is a con man

In two senses of the word.  He is a respected conservative voice at the New York Times and PBS Newshour and NPR, etc. And he’s also a fraud, who is praised for making thoughtful, intelligent contributions to American discourse but does no such thing.

For the full Brooks takedown, you have to go to Bob Somerby’s Daily Howler, a fierce opponent of sloppy thinking and stupid talking. But even Brooks’s own employer can’t protect him: speaking of the bespectacled pundit’s new book, the Times reviewer wrote, “Brooks is out to expose the superficiality of an overly rational view of human nature, but there is more than one kind of superficiality.” Ooh, snap!

Somerby’s two posts on Brooks are priceless. Cut to the chase: On Friday Somerby asked, “How well does Brooks speak truth to power? How well does he capture the gist of the way power works?” Alas, in Brooks-land, “truthiness” prevails.

Pick an easy target: Does Brooks mock the “birthers” who question Obama’s US citizenship? Somerby ran a Lexis/Nexis search and found, “As best we can tell, Brooks has never written a column whacking those people who say Obama was born in Kenya…David Brooks is very concerned about the way our debates go wrong. But he has never spoken out against this.”

On Monday, Somerby dove into what Brooks says about what even he considers major policy failures: the invasion of Iraq and the recent financial meltdown. As Somerby shows, in Brooks’s formulation, the bad things that happened in Iraq are not the responsibility of the Bush 43 administration or its pundit enablers, and the near-Depression of 2008 was not the fault of greedy financiers or the deregulation that let them proceed unabated.

If everybody is responsible, then nobody is, especially if everyone acted in good faith. How many questionable assumptions can one man tolerate? Concludes Somerby, “If Brooks really means what he says, his view of the policy world comes to us live and direct from somewhere on Sunnybrook Farm.”

Bill Sez: I’ve never understood why the Pundit Elite so lionizes David Brooks, who dresses up hackery with expensive suits and pleasant manners. He must play by the rules and make excellent conversation over dinner. I only wonder whether he deliberately tries to con us because he’s conservative, or if that’s an unintended consequence of which team he plays for. He’s a smoke-generator, nothing more.

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