According to an article last Sunday in the online magazine Salon, there's a new intellectual dynamic duo in town: French economist Thomas Piketty and American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who've become media superstars almost simultaneously over the past few months thanks to Piketty's book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" and Tyson's TV series "Cosmos."
Writer Paul Rosenberg places Piketty and Tyson at the forefront of an evidence-driven pushback against faith-based right-wing doctrine. He lauds each for offering "a big-picture story that helps us collectively make sense of our lives. In Piketty's case, this comes from his insight that capitalism does not just naturally evolve to a state of broader general prosperity." For Tyson, it's his "almost quasi-religious" quest for knowledge about the universe - a quest which evokes "terror" in devoutly anti-science conservatives.
French economist Thomas Piketty’s far-left views on wealth and income inequality are beloved ... at least by the liberal media. So it was no surprise that all three broadcast networks skipped criticism of “errors” in his work over the weekend. Some print media outlets also ignored that story.
When his book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” rose to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list the media went crazy over the “rock star” economist and his 700-plus page “beach read.” But on May 23, The Financial Times reported that its investigation found his data was “flawed.”
French economist Thomas Piketty has become a darling of the left for allegedly "proving" that, as paraphrased by Chris Giles at the Financial Times, "wealth inequalities are heading back up to levels last seen before the first world war." The Media Research Center's Julia Seymour has described Piketty as a "'rock star' of the far-left," an accurate assessment given praises heaped upon his book and especially his public policy prescriptions by the likes of Alternet and Vox's especially gullible Matthew Yglesias. Seymour also notes that Piketty's work has received a great deal of favorable notice in the establishment press, and that he has met "with the Treasury Secretary" and "(President) Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers."
Of course these "oligarch groupies," as Jeffrey Lord describes them, love him. Piketty favors an 80 percent tax on incomes above $500,000 and a progressive global tax on real wealth (i.e., after subtracting debt). The problem is that FT's Giles, having done a deep dive into the economist's data and spreadsheets, has found serious problems in the professor's work which nullify his conclusions.
Just a hunch, but I'm guessing that George Orwell would get a huge kick out of Orwellian interpretation of his work.
Such a travesty occurred on MSNBC's "The Cycle" this past Tuesday when one of its hosts, Krystal Ball -- yes, that's actually her name and, no, apparently she's not a stripper -- weighed in on what Orwell's novella "Animal Farm" actually means. (Video after the jump)