Timothy Egan on the Stupidity of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann

Liberal reporter turned liberal online columnist Timothy Egan went after Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and conservative media in extremely personal insulting terms in his weekly column at nytimes.com.

If common sense were currency Michele Bachmann would be broke, and holding a tin can by the roadside just now. Alas, because we live in an age where hyperbole is gold, Bachmann is rich.

Egan discussed Bachmann's part in the spreading of the inaccurate claim that President Obama's trip to India was going to cost $200 million a day and involve three dozen warships.

Bachmann's disastrous turn outside the Fox bubble was instructive, for it showed how the liars' club works. The $200 million figure originated in India, attributed to an anonymous foreign bureaucrat, and quickly went to the Drudge Report. On Fox and Rush Limbaugh's radio rant, the absurdity that the United States would spend more on a presidential trip than the daily cost to prosecute the Afghanistan war quickly became gospel. Did these people ever call the White House or the Pentagon to check the facts before going ballistic? Perish the thought.

(In March 2009 Egan called Limbaugh a "sweaty, swollen man.")

At the same time, The Wall Street Journal, Murdoch's crown jewel, went after another Murdoch employee, Sarah Palin, on one of her errors, which appear on a regular basis from her Twitter feed or in speeches. Palin attacked the Federal Reserve's monetary policy, which is about as far over her head as she ever wants to get, and showed profound ignorance on inflation. She said anyone who'd gone shopping lately would know that "grocery prices have risen significantly over the past year." A Journal blogger then noted that food and beverage inflation was practically nonexistent for the past year - the lowest on record - and that Palin was having some trouble with reading comprehension.

Egan left out the part where Palin cited the Wall Street Journal's own reporting in defense of her assertion.

Palin no longer has to govern, since quitting halfway through her term in Alaska. Relying on her singular, God-given inability to properly digest facts, she's free to make stuff up without consequence. She was awarded the 2009 "lie of the year" by Politifact.com for inventing "death panels" in the health care bill. That site, along with factcheck.org, attempt to referee the whoppers in public policy debates, and are worth a visit for anyone trying to follow the news. But they hardly seem to matter to Palin.