Sunday, June 22, 2014

De-KLEIN of journalism

Why does anyone still print or read right-wing pseudojournalist Edward Klein?

A while back, this fictioneer published a book alleging a lesbian relationship between Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin -- a work which one critic called "the sleaziest, most derivative, most despicable political biography ever." Klein's revelations always come from anonymous "informants" -- one of whom, I've heard, is Slender Man.

Klein has a new book out and the NY Post is pushing it, even though the folks running the NY Post must know that they're peddling garbage.
Outwardly, they put on a show of unity — but privately, the Obamas and Clintons, the two power couples of the Democrat Party, loathe each other.

“I hate that man Obama more than any man I’ve ever met, more than any man who ever lived,” Bill Clinton said to friends on one occasion, adding he would never forgive Obama for suggesting he was a racist during the 2008 campaign.

The feeling is mutual. Obama made ­excuses not to talk to Bill, while the first lady privately sniped about Hillary.
Now, I suspect that the Clintons and the Obamas really do dislike each other. But that quote...? Come on. If Bill Clinton said any such thing, how likely is it that the exact wording would reach the ears of Ed Klein and no other writer? Do you really think that such a thing is possible?
Hillary changed the subject again.

“Are you glad you won’t have to campaign again?” she asked Obama. “You don’t seem to ­enjoy it.”

“For a guy who doesn’t like it,” Obama replied tartly, “I’ve done pretty well.”

“Well,” Bill said, adding his two cents, “I was glad to pitch in and help get you re-elected.”

There was another long pause. Finally, Obama turned to Bill and said, sotto voce, “Thanks.”

After the dinner, and once the Clintons had been ushered out of the family quarters, Obama shook his head and said, “That’s why I never invite that guy over.”
I know that some of you are now dying to argue whether the attitudes expressed here really do capture the way these people think. But that's not the right approach. The real issue here is one of journalistic standards: A writer should not put words in quotation marks unless he knows for a fact that those words were uttered. Political reporting shouldn't be reduced to cheap melodrama.

Think about it: Anyone present at such a meeting between a former and current president, in the Obamas' private residence, would never relay the details of such a conversation to a conservative hack like Klein. And how would this alleged informant know what Obama said after the Clintons left the room?

Anyone who takes this nonsense seriously must also believe that wrestling is real. Nevertheless, the right-wing propagandists are pretending to accept Klein's work at face value. (See also here, especially the telling piece of "Hildebeest" research.)

Ever since Bob Woodward (probably) concocted that final "interview" with CIA chief Bill Casey, our so-called journalists have grown ever more brazen in their creative writing exercises.
Kendo Nagasaki!
Maybe he got it from an NSA informant. har har.
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