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Cringing and Whinging About the Economist

Economist staffer Lane Greene takes the offensive against Tom Scocca, Henry Farrell, and James Fallows:

Crooked Timber» Cringe and whinge: I’m a staffer for The Economist, full disclosure. In case you don’t know, there is a thread over in the Economist’s Democracy in America blog on this subject, if anyone wants to know what our readers think—including their criticisms.

I’ll resist the urge to answer most of the criticisms here; the only one I’ll respond to is our oft-cited condescension and snobbishness. What bothers me about this is the assumption that a million readers are idiots, or are masochists who enjoy being condescended to by a bunch of upper-class English twits. Who is really condescending here? Us, or James Fallows, Henry Farrell and Tom Scocca, who are think that we’ve somehow snookered these million fools with nothing more than a bit of Oxford-Union sneer? If you think our readers are stupid, that is your right. We rather respect and like them.

As a longtime reader of the Economist, let me just say that in the past six years I have come to the conclusion that in five important issue areas--U.S. politics, U.S. economics, finance (U.S. and global), Middle Eastern politics, and African politics--anything the Economist states that I did not already know is likely to be wrong. That's a terrible thing to have happened. And it's the reason I pay much more attention these days to the Financial Times.