Michael Gordon

Matt has just praised Michael Gordon for his smart and tough questioning of John Edwards.

It’s not just an interesting interview that casts Edwards in a good light, but really in a lot of ways shines a light on how political reporting could be made about a thousand times more useful to readers — Gordon knows what he’s talking about and eschews softballs, but at the same time he’s respectful like he and his audience would actually like to hear John Edwards explain why he’s changed his mind about Iraq over time rather than use the question to nail him to the wall.

This reminds me of a brief exchange I had with Brad DeLong, a scholar I very much admire, about … Michael Gordon. I stuck up for Michael Gordon (my original post has been lost in the move, but will hopefully return at some point), and Brad thought I was doing it for the wrong reasons.

To put it bluntly: when a story by Michael Gordon appears, I can’t tell whether it is accurate, whether Michael Gordon’s sources are lying to him (and he is letting them do so by not blowing them when they do so), or whether Michael Gordon is lying to us. Gordon would deserve the benefit of the doubt if I were confident that he was trying his best to inform rather than misinform us. I am not. And Reihan shouldn’t give him the benefit of the doubt either.

Brad is entitled to his opinion. He is a tremendously smart guy. But again, I think Gordon is exactly the kind of reporter we risk losing in this massive economic transition: a deeply knowledgeable investigative journalist who knows what he’s talking about. He doesn’t always get it right, obviously, but I have no reason to believe he has somehow set out to deliberately misinform the public.