Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman on Wednesday shamed news outlets that have been giving undue news coverage to anti-pandemic lockdown protests that have been small in number and are so far badly out of step with public opinion.
Writing on Twitter, Krugman pointed out how these protests have been organized by shady right-wing groups, which he described as "Potemkin populism staged by right-wing billionaires."
Krugman then points to polls showing that public opinion at the moment is strongly in favor of taking precautionary measures to protect lives, despite calls from right-wing business owners to "reopen" the economy.
"Seniors, the mainstay of the Tea Party, have little stake in reopening businesses and are justifiably afraid of the virus," Krugman writes. "They are far less supportive of Republicans than in the past."
He then turns his attention to newspapers and cable news stations that have been covering the protests as if they are part of a mass revolt against restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the virus.
"The real target here, I'd say, is the news media, which right-wing networks hope will be fooled into believing that they're seeing a mass movement -- and, to some extent, governors they hope can be similarly fooled," he concludes. "Don't fall for it!"