Lying Joe Klein Denounces Lying Liars Against Obama

Barack Obama’s official fight-back packet against anti-Obama author Jerome Corsi carries an endorsement of sorts from Time magazine. In a yellow Time-like banner on the top-right of the cover is the Time logo and the words "Trash" and "Poisonous Crap."

The nasty words come from a Time "Swampland" blog post by one Joe Klein, who decries all the "filth and lies" from the "right-wing sludge merchants." Question: since when does "Anonymous" Joe Klein, who feverishly lied for months in 1996 about authoring the Clinton roman a clef "Primary Colors" entitled to fling spittle about "lies" at anyone else on the blogosphere? [Image from the lefties at]

But Time hired Joe Klein anyway. Go figure. They apparently needed someone to write gooey cover stories about Democrats. Klein has loved Obama with almost as much feverish devotion as he loved Bill Clinton. Take this swooning passage from 2006: "Obama seemed the political equivalent of a rainbow — a sudden preternatural event inspiring awe and ecstasy....There aren’t very many people — ebony, ivory or other — who have Obama’s distinctive portfolio of talents." You can understand Klein’s anger at anyone who’d attempt to ruin his rainbow.

Here’s where Obama’s people drew the blurb:

So we know the market for trash is there, and not so far from home. And we know, that Mary Matalin, who appears regularly on mainstream media programs like Meet the Press called the Corsi book in the New York Times today:

"a piece of scholarship, and a good one at that."

But hey, Mary stands to make big bucks off this scholarship, which I'm sure was submitted for peer review and otherwise held to the highest editorial standards--and I'm sure her reputation and mediagenicity won't be damaged by this poisonous crap, and we're all friends here, aren't we? And, yknow [sic], they say politics ain't beanbag...and it's all in the game to tell innocent, well-intentioned people that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim or that John Kerry wasn't really a hero in Vietnam. Or, as George W. Bush, once told a rightly outraged John McCain – whose wife and daughter Bush's minions had smeared -- "It's just politics."

While liberals lament that Corsi's claims aren't documented (and he's been too prone to outbreaks of undocumented imagination), Klein apparently doesn't need footnotes or source materials listed on claims like this, that unnamed "Bush minions" made racist phone calls (no need to display actual scripts or audio clips, just hearsay) and that Bush knew all of it, and cruelly said this to McCain back in 2000. 

Klein claims that Democrats would never attack McCain’s patriotism or military service, and says this type of savagery knows only one party: "They are the sorts of claims that Republicans -- Bush Republicans -- make." He continued:

I know that people like me are supposed to try to be fair...and balanced. (The Fox mockery of our sappy professional standards seems more brutally appropriate with each passing year.) In the past, I would achieve a semblance – or an illusion – of balance by criticizing Democrats for not responding effectively when right-wing sludge merchants poisoned our national elections with their filth and lies. And it is true, as John Kerry knows, that a more effective response – and a bolder campaign – might have neutralized the Swiftboat assault four years ago. It is also true that Corsi's book this time is far less effective than his Swiftboat venture, since it doesn't come equipped with veterans willing to defile their service by telling lies to camera.

But there is no excuse for what the McCain campaign is doing on the "putting America first" front. There is no way to balance it, or explain it other than as evidence of a severe character defect on the part of the candidate who allows it to be used.

Klein is really not the kind of ethicist who should be lecturing other people about "severe character defects," whether the subject is his constant attempts to defend or dismiss Bill Clinton's sexual incontinence or his own shameless Anonymous-gimmick moneymaking. When he was exposed in 1996, even Time magazine denounced him for his energetic dishonesty and stagecraft (through liberal, Hillary-adoring columnist Margaret Carlson):

At first his denials were coy, but after New York magazine offered convincing proof in February that he was the one, Klein became adamant -- and even abusive -- until last Wednesday, when he was finally exposed by a handwriting analysis in the Washington Post. In fact, one of his worst performances was on the weekend before the New Hampshire primary when, enraged by the New York article, he publicly berated the magazine's political columnist, Jacob Weisberg, and questioned the professionalism of editor in chief Kurt Andersen and Vassar professor Donald Foster, the Shakespearean scholar who had analyzed Klein's prose.

Klein now says that throughout that weekend he was actually "in agony." When I pointed out that he appeared quite happy as he ate dinner with me and some others at the Bedford Inn, he said, "Well, I've learned that I'm quite a good actor. Anyway, that piece was insulting, inaccurate and ridiculous." But wasn't it also right? "At the time I was caught between two ethical systems: that of Anonymous and his commitment to the book, and that of a journalist. I was Anonymous then."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis