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June 22, 2005

This Is My Only Truth About Hillary, I Post, Promise

by Ron Hogan

Perhaps you've already seen the PW Daily article about the counterassault on Ed Klein. In response to The Truth About Hillary, ex-conservative David Brock (who knows a thing or two about Clinton-bashing) says he wants an explanation from the publisher as to how Klein's material was vetted or "Penguin's actions won't be forgotten as progressives shop for books." (For those of you keeping score at home, that isn't quite a boycott threat just yet.) Brock's not the only one calling Klein's journalistic integrity into question, of course; liberal media watchdogs ConWeb Watch chip away at his credibility with accusations of inaccuracy and laziness.

Why does Klein get taken seriously? Sentinel is undoubtedly impressed with the sales he's racked up peddling stories about the Kennedys in the last decade. And, as Sara Nelson's PW review notes in the lead graf, the guy's "a former editor of the New York Times magazine." But leaving aside the less-than-stellar circumstances of his departure from that post (which seem to me rather overstated, at any rate), let's face it: he left NYT more than fifteen years ago. Citing it as his main credibility factor is like saying you should buy my upcoming book because I went to a really nice high school in the Boston suburbs. It might be more relevant to focus on Klein's more recent journalistic accomplishments, like ghostwriting "Walter Scott's Personality Parade" for Parade magazine: Answering questions like "Is Donald Trumpís new wife, Melania, merely eye candy, or does she play a substantive role in his world?" qualifies him perfectly for writing about politicians with all the grace Albert Goldman brought to his work on Elvis and John Lennon. I'm not even terribly interested in whether anything he has to say about Hillary Clinton is true; frankly, I have plenty of reasons of my own for hoping the Democrats pick somebody else in 2008, starting with the fact that I'd like for them to actually win.

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