Ahem! Niall Ferguson Fire-His-Ass-from-NewsBeast-Now Department

This has sprawled out. It's time to sharpen this back down:

Dylan Byers:

Ferguson decides to edit the CBO report to satisfy his own conclusions.

CBO

It is unclear whether such a reduction can be achieved through greater efficiencies in the delivery of healthcare or will instead reduce access to care or the quality of care (relative to the situation under prior law.)

Ferguson:

Here’s the CBO....

It is unclear whether such a reduction can be achieved…

Indeed, it is, which is why I wrote what I wrote.

Byers:

[C]ontrary to what Ferguson leads readers to believe, the CBO report does not state that the reduction is "unclear." What is "unclear" is whether the reduction will come through greater efficiencies in healthcare delivery or reduced access to care. So, one more time: The Oxford-trained, Harvard-employed, Newsweek contributor Niall Ferguson just edited the CBO report to change its meaning. With all due lack of respect: What are you thinking?

Niall Ferguson writes:

Paul Krugman Is Wrong: In my piece I say:

The president pledged that health-care reform would not add a cent to the deficit. But the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation now estimate that the insurance-coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of close to $1.2 trillion over the 2012–22 period... I very deliberately said “the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA,” not “the ACA.” There is a big difference. The "But" at the start of the second sentence in the quote tells readers two things: (i) that Obama has violated his pledge--that he promised that the ACA would not increase the deficit, but that it did--and (ii) that the rest of the second sentence will explain how Obama violated his pledge. The rest of the second sentence Ferguson saying that Obama violated his pledge by "close to$1.2 trillion" by adding "insurance coverage provisions".

A reader who trusted Ferguson--and I hope no such readers will exist by the end of today--would tell you that Ferguson's quote says:

• Obama pledged that the ACA would not increase the deficit.
• Obama broke his pledge.
• The ACA increased the deficit by $1.2 trillion. Now comes Ferguson to tell us that his "But" at the start of the second sentence in the quote is completely, totally, and deliberately false. Now comes Ferguson to tell us that he knows damned well that his "But" is a lie to misleads his readers--that it is a false claim that Obama broke his pledge and that the rest of the second sentence will tell us how Obama broke his pledge. Now comes Ferguson to tell us that he knows that Obama kept his pledge to pay for health care reform. Now comes Ferguson to say that he put the$1.2 trillion number in the second sentence in the quote to keep his readers from recognizing that the actual net budgetary effect of the ACA is to reduce the deficit by $134 billion and not increase it by$1.2 trillion.

And his only excuse--now, it's not an excuse for the lie, it's a "I can lie cleverly" boast--is: "I very deliberately said 'the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA', not 'the ACA'".

Fire his ass from Newsweek, and the Daily Beast.

Convene a committee at Harvard to impose proper sanctions on this degree of intellectual dishonesty. Not that I claim to know what the proper sanctions are, you understand. But we should be inquiring into what they are.

There is a limit, somewhere. And Ferguson has gone beyond it.