Eine Klein Hackmusik

November 28, 2007

Will everybody puh-leeze get off Joe Klein’s case already? The man’s a professional pundit and Washington insider! Mean bloggers like Glenn Greenwald, who really needs to take night classes at the Joe Lieberman Civility School, keep bugging Klein and Time magazine because Klein ran a column about the Democrats and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, that was just a tad inaccurate.

Okay, more than just a tad inaccurate. Quite a bit, actually.

Oh all right, the column was so full of shit that reading it too many times could make grass grow on your eyeballs, but that’s not the point.

As Klein himself has helpfully explained, he has neither the time nor the legal training to figure out which side is right before he posts his column. There are only so many hours in a day, people, and in those few precious hours Klein must gather up the day’s spin, sift through the latest lies from his sources and then get into his evening clothes for a night’s round of cocktail parties with other big deal pundits. You don’t think those cucumber sandwiches eat themselves, do you?

So here is Jon Swift, conservative blogger, to explain the rules of Washington journalism in the simplest possible terms, so there won’t be any more misunderstandings. Allow me to offer a few examples:

2. There are two sides to every story and a journalist must give both sides equal weight even if he or she knows one side is a completely false. Weighing one side against the other violates a journalist’s objectivity

3. The only exception . . . is that during wartime journalists must be patriotic and not write anything that might undermine the government or the war effort or lower morale. Wearing a flag pin on one’s lapel is a good way to demonstrate you are adhering to this rule. Reporters should always remember that they are Americans first, journalists second and human beings third.

6. If both liberals and conservatives criticize you, that must mean you are doing something right. If moderates criticize you, too, it probably means that they are leaning one way or the other and aren’t really moderate at all. The more people who say you are wrong, the more objective, and hence right, you are.

13. Because space in newspapers and magazines is limited there is no room for ideas that are too far out of the mainstream or that challenge the conventional wisdom unless the ensuing controversy would sell more papers or magazines.

Here endeth the lesson. Now go and sin no more, as J.J. Hunsecker would say.


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