Former Time reporter Nina Burleigh is unhappy she was criticized on NewsBusters for her Clinton-defending review in The Washington Post of Sally Bedell Smith’s book For Love of Politics. She lamented on The Huffington Post on Saturday night that before many could even read the review, "an apparently insomniac internet goon named Tim Graham had penned a screed dissing The Washington Post for having me review the book. Graham is the lifetime College Republican running ‘Media Research Center,’ one of the most persistent groups to express shock and awe over what one of the newsweekly wags called my "quote of the century." Those unfamiliar with my sarcastic remark need only google my name and the word blowjob."
Other than Nina recalling her infamous quote about fellatio for abortion-rights presidents, just how much of this is wrong? I don’t "run" the MRC; I work several levels below the pinnacle. I was never a College Republican, although I did work at the RNC as a minimum-wage phone fundraiser in the late 1980s in my first years in Washington. I did post my critique at 6:35 in the morning, but I sleep like a rock, so that should at worst make me a "early-rising Internet goon." A longer look at Burleigh’s article also strangely calls me part of the "self-righteous and supposedly apolitical establishment" that rules Washington. What a strange passage, in which I am also a troll:
Returning to D.C. always brings back memories of my happy years there during the '90s when I made lots of friends and met the man I ended up marrying. It also reminds me why I don't miss living there now: the self-righteous and supposedly apolitical establishment that rules the nation's capitol...
Not terribly surprised was I to note that before that day's paper had even been opened by the average Washingtonian, (wait, make that the average New Yorker, the average Washingtonian has already jogged around the Mall and donned a uniform before the average New Yorker has smelled a cup of coffee) an apparently insomniac internet goon named Tim Graham had penned a screed dissing The Washington Post for having me review the book. Graham is the lifetime College Republican running "Media Research Center," one of the most persistent groups to express shock and awe over what one of the newsweekly wags called my "quote of the century." Those unfamiliar with my sarcastic remark need only google my name and the word blowjob.
I said it (back in 1998, but a good quote has eternal life) because I thought it was high time for someone to tweak the white, middle-aged beltway gang taking Clinton to task for sexual harassment. These men had neither the personal experience nor the credentials to know sexual harassment when they saw it, nor to give a good goddamn about it if they did. The insidious use of sexual harassment laws to bring down a president for his pro-female politics was the context in which I spoke.
Within days of my review of her book, author Sally Bedell Smith herself had taken up the trolls' cry, smashing one of my naive assumptions about best-selling authors, which is that they are above ad hominem attacks on reviewers. Before turning to the evergreen (in terms of marketability) subject of the Clinton marital mysteries, Smith, a member in good standing of the Washington establishment, made a handsome living with major books about pop/haute figures like Princess Di and Pam Harriman. In her online Post discussion, she slagged me as "discredited" and "unprofessional" and repeated the absolute lie that I "tried to have sex with" Bill Clinton.
For the record, Ms. Smith, anyone who actually tried to have sex with Bill Clinton probably succeeded.