The video, taken from an episode of The Chris Matthews Show a few weeks back, shows Joe Klein differentiating himself from those DFH bloggers because his readers fact-check him.
Slight problem with this rose-colored self-glorification: the truth is so much more whiny. Take, for example, Joe Klein's interaction with blogger "aimai" at a beach barbeque:
Last week I went to a cookout on the beach here with some old friends (Sausages and seafood, but no cocktail weenies!) Every year they do a cookout, and then a birthday party, and for years I've known that one of their guests was Joe Klein. I never mixed it up with him because, after all, well...the opportunity never presented itself and while I'm pretty aggressive in print no one really goes up to someone and picks a quarrel with them, do they?
Or maybe they do. Yes, I guess they do. I was standing at the cookout minding my own business when Klein started pontificating for the rubes on how “surprising” and “shocking” it was that Grassley, of all people, should have come out and endorsed the “death panels” lie. I walked up and said “why are you surprised?” [..] to which he, in best pundit debater fashion (never allow yourself to admit you were just posing!), shot back “who says I'm surprised?” I said “well, you did. You just started your lecture saying “Its surprising.”” It's not surprising, the republicans have nothing left to lose and nothing left to gain at this point outside of pleasing the crazy base and attacking Obama and the dems.”
We were off and running. He then said that its true the fringe republicans were “crazy” but perhaps no crazier than the “crazy left” under Bush. I thought he meant the “truthers” so I said “name me one person in congress or the Senate who was as crazy on any topic as these Republican senators and Congressmen who sign on to the birther and deather stuff are now?” Evading this question he said “well, Glenn Greenwald is crazy—he's a civil liberties absolutist.” Now, me, I come from a long line of civil liberties absolutists so I said “I admire Glenn Greenwald's work immensely but it must be very embarrassing for you, of course, because he's been eating your lunch for years.” (!) I think this must be something of a sore point for him. He began shrieking “Glenn Greenwald is EVIL! EVILl!..do you know what he did? He “sicced” his blog readers on my EDITOR and she was going through a DIVORCE at the time.” Really? I said, politely, that was very wrong, if it happened.
“We kept it very quiet” he said, backing off the claim of any real harm and, as a twofer, managing to imply that only those "in the know" had been kept informed.
Okay, Joe may be an arrogant ass--but that's not a crime. I grew up in Los Angeles and around the fringes of the entertainment industry. Trust me, there is no other industry with more arrogant asses per capita. Okay, well maybe the professional pundit field. But Glenn Greenwald is EVIL? Really?
Glenn's "evilness" apparently stems around that pesky fact-checking thing that Klein prides himself on. Namely, Joe's hacktackular piece on the FISA bill that was...wait for it...completely and utterly factually wrong. And then, to make matters worse, Klein found himself in a hole and kept digging. And Joe has carried this deep humiliation stewing inside him for a very long time.
Late in August, it finally blew. On a listserv of some 300 journalists, Klein decided to let loose and trash Greenwald, though Greenwald isn't on that listserv. However, someone on that listserv thought it a mite bit unfair that Glenn's reputation took a hit and he was unable to respond, so he sent it to Glenn. Glenn saved the emails to a site he uses for supplemental information. That act then drove the incredibly thin-skinned Joe Klein to post the most whingeing, pathetically self-serving post that Time Magazine's Swampland has ever seen:
Twice in the past month, my private communications have been splashed about the internet. That such a thing would happen is unfortunate, and dishonorable, but sadly inevitable, I suppose. I ignored the first case, in which a rather pathetic woman acolyte of Greenwald's published a hyperbolic account of a conversation I had with her at a beach picnic on Cape Cod. Now, Greenwald himself has published private emails of mine that were part of a conversation taking place on a list-serve. In one of those emails, I say that Greenwald "cares not a whit for America's national security."
I'd like to quote here from a subsequent email on that thread, which Greenwald hasn't published, in which I explain why I have such strong feelings about Greenwald:
For the past several years, Greenwald has conducted a persistent, malicious campaign to distort who I am and where I stand. He is a mean-spirited, graceless bully. During that time, I have never seen him write a positive sentence about the US military, which has transformed itself dramatically for the better since Rumsfeld's departure (indeed, he ridiculed me when I reported that the situation in Anbar Province was turning around in 2007). I have never seen him acknowledge that the work of the clandestine service—performed disgracefully by the CIA during the early Bush years—is an absolute necessity in a world where terrorists have the capability to attack us at any time, in almost any place. Nor have I seen [him] acknowledge that such a threat exists, nor make a single positive suggestion about how to confront that threat in ways that might conform to his views. Therefore, I have seen no evidence that he cares one whit about the national security of the United States. It is not hyperbole, it is a fact.
I am not a religious reader of Greenwald--he does go on, and on--and it's possible that I missed extensive posts in which he praises the Armed Forces or makes positive suggestions about how to track possible communications between terrorists abroad and their confederates here. But I sort of doubt that. What I have seen from him, ad nauseum, are intemperate attacks in which he questions the character of--no, it's worse than that: he slimes--anyone who has the temerity to disagree with him.
Et tu, Joke Line? Falling behind the jingoistic mantra of "he doesn't support the troops?" to hide from the fact that you have no defense? He admits that he doesn't read Glenn--because of all those pesky facts and info that Glenn fills his articles with--and then says Glenn smears anyone who disagrees with him. Um, Joe? Self-awareness is not one of your strong suits, is it?
And by the way, since apparently this whole internets thing is still new to you, your email isn't private. You cheered that with your defense of warrantless wiretapping and FISA, you nimrod. And sending an email to 300 people on a listserv REALLY shouldn't give you an expectation of privacy. Pontificating at a beach party really shouldn't give you an expectation of privacy either. Let that be a lesson to you. Especially when you decide to argue with the granddaughter of I.F. Stone. Just sayin'...
Glenn and aimai respond to Joe's attacks. And if you really want a good laugh, enjoy Klein's fact-checking commenters eat his lunch. I'm guessing that Klein sat in a fetal position whimpering under his desk after that smackdown. My favorite:
Somebody call the WHAM BA LANCEEEEEEEEEE!
I mean seriously Joke, you published an email just the other day of a private citizen with their email address and all and YOU are calling Glenn dishonest?
Dude get a frikkin life or at least some tough skin. You come off sounding like a whiny lil beyatch every five minutes responding to what has been said to you or about you on the intertubes. If being criticized is too much for you why don't you pack it in and go do something else? Out of everything going on in the world today you choose trying to get in a public pissing match as your subject to write on here at Swampland. I assume you must not have any editors for your posts but if you do they should all be fired for allowing you to try to act like a 5 year old using their platform.
And it shows how sh*tty of a journalist that you are that you admit you don't read Glenn much but then go on to make a blanket statement about what he has said or not said about the CIA or any other national security forces. Ass hole is too nice of a term for the kind of person who pulls that kind of blatantly dishonest bullsh*t. It doesn't make you some kind of patriot to suck off the CIA every time you get. As a matter of fact it makes you quite the opposite Joke, you would think the Iraq War would have taught you that.
One more thing, its hasn't escaped anybody that you did not refute anything the "pathetic woman acolyte" said about your conversation. Pretty telling, no?
Ouch. That one left a mark.