Thursday, December 06, 2007

Radar Online on Joe Klein's Folly

John Cook at Radar Online has written about Joe Klein's errors and missteps with his inaccurate piece on the FISA bill which has brought Joe much opprobrium in Left Blogistan. There are so many delicious lines, I hardly know where to begin but here's a sample.

Klein's reactions on Swampland to his FISA critics are precious goldmines of self-aggrandizing pretense that must be savored at length to appreciate their rich subtleties and overtones. His first response acknowledged—in an insufferably cloying way—that although partisan murk clouded the issue, he "may" have made a mistake, before going on to claim that if he indeed had made a mistake, "we are talking about relatively obscure and unimportant technical details." In other words, Klein sat down to write a column about obscure and unimportant technical details.

Klein's next weigh-in on the blog, two days later, was headlined "FISA: More Than You Want to Know," as though his responsibility to assess the veracity or lack thereof of the claims he made in his columns involved some kind of burdensome slog through legislative thickets beyond the comprehension of mere mortals. Why are you making me do this? This is hard! His post artfully shifted the issue from whether the bill says what he said it says to whether his Republican sources or Democratic sources were correct in their interpretations (who knows? This law stuff is complicated) before actually committing to pixels the following words, which will live on as one of the finest specimens of sheer journalistic hubris ever issued from one of the genre's most accomplished practitioners: "I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who's right." I don't have time find out if what I write is true, people! I'm too busy claiming that other things are true. And even if I did have time, I'm not qualified to say whether the things I write are true anyway!

If you missed Glen Greenwald's updates on this, do check out this post.


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