Joe Klein's Journalism

Crossposted atIch Bin Ein Oberliner.

Time Magazine's Joe Klein got his undies in a bundle when a commenter on his group blog, Swampland asked him to discuss the nature of his military sources. The commenter wrote:

Of course, it is very likely that Joe Klein's sources include many of the retired generals mentioned in the NYT article - the ones who spread disinformation to United States citizens over the public airwaves. And there is no reason to expect them to be more truthful to Joe Klein than they were on the air. So what about Klein's other sources? I am not asking him to name them, rather I am requesting that he engage us in a short discussion about how he views the information being fed to him in light of the recent verification of a program that many of us have suspected for a very long time. I realize that one must trust somebody in order to form an opinion so lets talk about how that trust is established.

(More after the fold)

First of all, I'm not sure if the emphasis is Klein's or the commentator's, but either way, it isn't mine. I could insert a snide comment about Klein's little blogging faux pas, but I won't because (1) it really isn't that big a deal, and (2) that would be petty, and, clearly, I'm above petty.

But, back to the point.

As it turns out, the commenter was wrong, Klein doesn't use TV generals as sources. He mocked the commenter's "silly crusade" and then proceeded to patronizingly explain how impeccable his journalistic ethics are vis a vis his use of military sources. He titled the post "How Actual Journalism Works."

The commenter was wrong, and Klein was right to respond to that. But Klein apparently decided that jumping all over the guy was in order. Mainstream media figures tend to take umbrage at the notion that they aren't doing their job quite right. This isn't really big news; who wouldn't take umbrage at someone questioning how well one does one's job. The fact is, though, it isn't as if the commenter's question were entirely out of left field. It's cute that Klein's got such thin skin over what some random dude on the interwebs write about him. But, lesson learned, Joe Klein doesn't use the TV general's as sources. Because he's an actual journalist (per his post's title). Now, thank you Mr. Klein, I know How Actual Journalism Works.

And frankly, it's not like he was that wrong. Another commenter made a great point:

All of these people [anonymous sources in the military] have agendas, and when as a rule allow them to speak anonymously you are giving them a platform for deception. As you did on FISA legislation when you uncritically repeated what you had been told, despite it being verifiably false.

If you are detecting some scorn in this post, I assure you it is intended. I wonder if Klein's actual journalism included this bit of inaccurate and asinine reporting:

We've seen some evidence of non-populism in the past from Obama. Early on, he talked about the high price of arugula at Whole Foods. Shoulda been iceberg at Kroger's. And clearly, if there ever was [sic] an upper middle class family, it is the Ivy League Obamas.

First of all, I'm aware that it's petty to [sic] someone for their lack of subjunctive. I make like 8,000 errors in each of my posts, so there's a stones/houses thing going on here. I'm a petty, petty bastard.

Second, this quote is wrong on about ten different levels. (1) He was talking to a bunch of farmers when he had his famed "Arugula Moment." Guess what a lot of farms in that area grow... arugula. All of the sudden, that comment makes a hell of a lot more sense, doesn't it. But that's fine, Mr. Klein, you report that hyper-important non-fact. (2) Obama, the guy who was raised by a single mother who had to go on welfare is "the Ivy League Obama." Obama, the guy who relatively recently paid off his student loans is out of touch. And of course, the two pieces of evidence Klein cites as "non-populism" from Obama are (a) arugula and (b) the fact that he's upper middle class now. Klein ignores, of course, the ridiculousness of Sen. Clinton (worth millions of dollars) and Sen. McCain (with that folksy, charming, massive mansion in Sedona) calling Sen. Obama elitist.

The fact is, and I've said this before, the mainstream media's narrative bias is such that Democrats will be questioned on their real man-ness, their masculinity. And you know what's effeminate? Ivy League fops who can't bowl, that's what.

Of course, I'm ignoring the stupidity Klein's implicit argument that the American public gives a shit that Obama talked about Arugula or went to an Ivy Leauge school (higher education, after all, being such a negative when running for president). Klein's position seems to be little different than the rest of the Mainstream Media's which believes that--to quote Glenn Greenwald--"the choices the establishment press makes as to what they will cover and not cover is reflective of what `Americans' generally care about."

And I won't dwell on the Klein's belief in the Democrats' "Patriotism Problem" (to quote the title of one of Klein's recent posts) in which he claims that "this is a chronic disease among Democrats, who tend to talk more about what's wrong with America than what's right."

This concludes, gentle reader(s), the story of how Joe Klein got made because someone questioned his journalistic ethics, and he--so very Important and Serious--deigned to tell us how actual journalism works.

Tags: Joe Klein, journalism (all tags)



Good diary

Joe Klein and Journalism is about as good fit as a border collie being cooped up for about 50 days in a kennel crate...

by Student Guy 2008-05-11 09:53PM | 0 recs

I actually just spat up a little bit of the water I was drinking.

by shef 2008-05-11 09:54PM | 0 recs
Sorry if your Computer got damaged

but Joe Klein doesn't deserve the title of journalist.  I just tried to make a Dan Rather-esque comparison.

by Student Guy 2008-05-11 09:56PM | 0 recs
Joe Klein, so Serious, so Important

Joe Klein and Journalism. Like oil and water.

by shef 2008-05-11 09:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Joe Klein's Journalism

Mr. Klein, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent article were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this forum is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

by ragekage 2008-05-11 10:03PM | 0 recs
Up next:

the puppy who lost his way.

by shef 2008-05-11 10:06PM | 0 recs


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