Paul Krugman
March 27, 2012, 7:28 am

NY Times

Attack of the Prison People

Predictably, the letter from Corrections Corporation of America has arrived, demanding a correction on yesterday’s column. Strangely, though, it demands that I correct statements I didn’t make, just things CCA claims I implied. I don’t think that passes the test; maybe they’ll find an actual error on second pass, but I was pretty careful precisely because I knew they’d be looking for something, anything.

According to the letter, by the way,

CCA does not and has not ever lobbied for or attempted to promote any legislation anywhere that affects sentencing and detention — under longstanding corporate policy.

Pure as the driven snow, they are.

A word about this sort of thing: anyone who steps on the toes of either corporate interests or major conservative institutions (which are often more or less the same thing) has to expect to run into a buzzsaw. The purpose of that buzzsaw is not so much to get specific corrections as to intimidate — to deter the journalist and his or her colleagues from going there again.

And it works. I’ve seen it over and over: some commentator says the obvious, gets hit hard, and thereafter steers away from such issues and is very, very careful not to offend the hard right.(And when the other side points this out, they get very upset — they thought they were safe).

I won’t pretend that I don’t get rattled myself. But I decided a long time ago that it’s precisely the areas that make you nervous that most need addressing.