The Smoke Machine
It seems to be a badge of honor among the liberal community to have been a target of some group of conservative conspiracy. Daniel Shore can't talk for ten minutes without bringing up the fact that he was on Nixon's enemies list. Nowadays it's the "vast right wing conspiracy" that confers the honors. Krugman has been criticized to be sure, but that is pretty much the lot of anyone who writes a column for a living. (See Eric Alterman's list pigeonholing pundits according to their "reflexive" response to Middle East issues. It just needs a name. How about the "vast anti-Arab conspiracy.") Apparently Krugman feels injured because some, notably Andrew Sullivan, have accused him of hypocrisy and made a good case for the accusation. So now he's a martyr.
I've always mistrusted claims of conspiracy, because they never seem to really accomplish anything. The VRC is a lot like the rest. If it had overthrown the NYTimes or WaPo or the network news, it might have some credibility, but so far, it hasn't made it's presence felt other than by annoying the Clintons and Mr. K.