Sullivan responds to this Brad DeLong post by claiming that “only a left-liberal” could ask how the NYT could choose Bob Herbert “out of the 75 million liberal adults in America.”  But DeLong’s point in objecting to Herbert was not ideological.  He was focused on the errors in one of Herbert’s columns.  He wasn’t complaining that Herbert was somehow insufficiently liberal, as his concluding question taken out of context might have suggested, but that Herbert was embarrassingly wrong on basic matters of fact.  Everything DeLong said about recession and the CPI, so far as I can see, was correct, and Herbert’s statements (and uncritical repetition of others’ statements) were not.  What Herbert describes as the “flimflammery of official statistics” is actually the evidence that we were not in a recession last quarter, which makes his moaning about Bernanke’s refusal to say that we have been in a recession in the last quarter even more ridiculous.  Certainly, there are some weaknesses in the economy, and there is a great deal of economic anxiety, but those things do not make it a recession.