A media pundit who had become a celebrity in Portugal for his cogent attacks on the government’s austerity cuts has been exposed as an ex-con forger who had invented his credentials in a bid for fame. Artur Baptista da Silva began his adventure last April when he distributed business cards claiming to be an economics professor at a (defunct) Wisconsin university. After stealing the title of his (non-existent) PhD dissertation from the internet, and falsely claiming to be leading a UN research project into recession in southern Europe, Baptista da Silva rapidly became the Portuguese media’s pundit of choice on the economic crisis, taking part in TV debates and advising trade union leaders. However, his sudden appearance among Portugal’s intellectual elite caused huge amusement in the country’s prisons, where he was at once recognised by former cellmates. He is now expected to face fraud charges. (The Week).
He probably knows more economics than most right-wing pundits, nonetheless. If a con-man can succeed in stopping the economic gutting of the middle class and the further enrichment of the rich, then give Mr. Da Silva an honorary doctorate and keep him talking.