The Daily Beast's Lloyd Grove is reporting that a Clinton-bashing book was leaked over the weekend, ten days before its publication date -- and Grove alleges that a mysterious Clinton ally could well be the leaker:
The marketing and publicity folks at Broadside Books, the conservative imprint of HarperCollins, had ambitious and detailed plans for the rollout of Clinton, Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine....
But those plans were dashed over the weekend by a prolific but mysterious rogue distributor who somehow got a copy of Halper's book and blasted out a series of mass-media emails containing PDFs ... of the entire 317-page, 12-chapter volume that was officially under wraps until the designated publication date, July 22.
The leaker ID'd himself in emails as Robert Josef Wright -- "a name not immediately accessible on Google or other commonly used databases," Grove tells us -- and while his cover letter was full of Free Republic-worthy invective ("Someone has exposed The Royal Clinton's [sic]. King Smarmy Bill, Queen Smug Chilary, and Princess Spolied Chlesea [sic]"), the PDFs were sent out to
more than 100 prominent and less prominent print and online journalists and television anchors, occasionally using their personal addresses. Among the copied recipients were NBC News President Deborah Turness; The Washington Post's media reporter, Paul Farhi; CNN's Jake Tapper; New York magazine's Joe Hagan; and Fox & Friends cohost Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
All of which gives Grove an opening to blame Team Clinton:
[One] publishing source, who asked not to be named, said "Wright"'s online identity as a Clinton-hating wingnut with sloppy spelling and grammar issues is also cause for suspicion.
"The working theory of who it might be is somebody who wants to come across as a conservative, but in a way it seems like they're trying too hard," this source said. "So it might be somebody who's not a conservative. They have an excellent, sophisticated media list, including people who are not commonly known, so this is somebody with some Washington-New York media savvy. The most likely suspect would be someone affiliated with the Clintons."
Seriously? Look, the Clintons aren't above political shenanigans, but why the hell would they do anything to give an anti-Clinton book extra publicity? There's always a bit of Kabuki theater when an embargoed political book leaks a few days ahead of schedule -- huffing and puffing about the damage the leak has done to a carefully crafted rollout -- but that publicity always helps the book, and it never diminishes the impact of the "official" PR effort.
My theory: Right-wingers (either affiliated with Halper's publisher or not) crafted this story about a fake wingnut cooked up in a subterranean lab at Schloss Clinton, leaked the book, then spoon-fed the whole narrative to Lloyd Grove. The presence of Elisabeth Hasselbeck and (especially) Jake Tapper on the mailing list is the tell -- righties love Jake Tapper.
This is how you get the Fox/talk-radio rubes to slaver for a right-wing book -- you depict the author as the victim of a Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy. Look at Dinesh D'Souza, who sold the tie-in book to his new movie by playing two victim cards simultaneously, with excellent results:
D'Souza and his lawyers claimed that despite the hit status of his new book and movie, "America," Google was deliberately downgrading the project in its search results and Costco had removed the book from shelves for politically motivated reasons. The result? Google bumped “America” up in the rankings and Costco restocked the book.
Halper risked getting lost in a crowded field of Clinton-bashers. Now he has publicity and a sinister, shadowy enemy. Good career move.
... And here's Bill Kristol retransmitting Grove's story about the leak that's allegedly so damaging to this right-wing book! And here's Hugh Hewitt doing the same thing -- while also calling the book a "must-buy"! Oh, but I'm sure this is all part of the Clintons' sinister intent!
(Cross-posted at No More Mister Nice Blog.)