Phil Gramm Attacks Media-Peddled Economic Misery, NYT Lashes Back

In a Thursday afternoon blog post, "Obama to McCain: We Don't Need Another Dr. Phil," Times reporter John Broder compared a media-mocking comment by Phil Gramm to Jesse Jackson's "nutty" aside about Barack Obama.

It is not just Senator Barack Obama's advisers (see: Jackson, Jesse) who wander off the reservation. Former Senator Phil Gramm, a prominent economic adviser to Senator John McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee, weighed in today with some not-so-well-considered remarks on the economy.

Mr. Gramm, in an interview with the Washington Times, seemed to minimize the financial pain being felt by millions of American families.

"You've heard of mental depression," he said, "this is a mental recession." He went on to say that the United States had become "a nation of whiners" egged on by the news media who feed them a steady diet of bad economic news.

"Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day," he concluded.

(Question: Is Jesse Jackson Sr. actually an Obama adviser, or is Broder mixing up father and son?)

Broder left out a NYT-relevant part of Gramm's "conclusion." Here's the full quote from his Washington Times interview (emphasis added):

"Misery sells newspapers," Mr. Gramm said. "Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day."

Perhaps Broder is actually more peeved about Gramm's attack on the depressing liberal press, one that has worked hard all year to convince voters that the American economy is in recession - a phenomenon chronicled by Times Watch's colleagues at the Business and Media Institute as well as byTimes Watch.

Of course, McCain quickly disavowed Gramm's analysis:

The McCain campaign quickly distanced itself from Dr. Gramm's economic diagnosis (he holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Georgia) and said it understood the economic pain many Americans are feeling is real....This afternoon, in Michigan, Mr. McCain said that Mr. Gramm did not speak for him.