I was in the store yesterday and spotted this in the checkout line. It was the National Enquirer, with a headline screaming: "Hillary: 6 Months To Live!" (Naturally, I bought it.)
As I thought, the entire story was an Ed Klein special. (Here is a guy who's coasted the rest of his shoddy career on the fact that he once was editor-in-chief of the NYT magazine. If it helps put his falling career arc into perspective, the 78-year-old now writes the Walter Scott gossip column for PARADE magazine.) They excerpted his new book, and then they tacked on what they called "original" reporting based on his claims that conclude Hillary Clinton is on the brink of death, yet Bill is forcing her to run!
Now, here's the amusing thing about the media. Back in 2005, Klein wrote a biography of Hillary Clinton called "The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She'll Go to Become President." At the time, Politico panned the book for "serious factual errors, truncated and distorted quotes and overall themes [that] don't gibe with any other serious accounts of Clinton's life."
Today, Politico has a YUGE story about that Enquirer story -- as if it might, you know, be credible. See, it's a story! It's out there! We have to cover it!
Stories about celebrities supposedly on the brink of death are well-worn territory for the supermarket rags. Even if most readers ignore them, the Enquirer has legitimately killed presidential campaigns before: Between 2007 and 2009 it broke open the story of John Edwards’ love-child, sinking the former senator’s White House ambitions while earning the erstwhile chronicler of alien sightings and two-headed cows the reluctant respect (and follow-up stories) of the establishment press.
Reached for comment, editor in chief Dylan Howard defended his paper’s Clinton coverage, pointing to the Enquirer’s history of airing the dirty laundry of politicians from Gary Hart to Bob Dole to Jesse Jackson.
"American voters deserve to know the truth about the health of Hillary Clinton given the questions that have been raised since 2012,” said Howard, adding that the Enquirer’s reporting “contradicts a letter her campaign released that attested Mrs. Clinton is in good health and fitness to serve as president. We believe that Mrs. Clinton should submit to an independent medical examination to clear the matter up once and for all.”
Asked if any money had changed hands in the pursuit of its Clinton stories, Howard said, "We have not paid a dime for information on Hillary's health. It's good old fashioned reporting—the type of which the mainstream media seems intent on not doing."
Similarly, a book published last month by the 78-year-old journalist Ed Klein, “Unlikeable: The Problem with Hillary,” includes claims of “blinding headaches,” strokes, insomnia, exhaustion and depression. Klein’s previous book, “Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. The Obamas,” made headlines for similar fodder when The Drudge Reportpublished excerpts last June.
“I’ve interviewed a number of people who are close to the doctors who have actually investigated this and who have looked at her x-rays, have gotten her medical records,” Klein, a former Newsweek foreign editor and former editor of The New York Times Magazine (whose credibility more recently has been called into question), told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Sept. 28, “and they tell me she has an intrinsic attitude toward forming blood clots, especially in her brain, between her brain and her skull, and that this can be very dangerous.”
A May 2014 item in the New York Post’s Page Six column made waves by reporting that Karl Rove said at a conference, “Thirty days in the hospital? And when she reappears, she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury? We need to know what’s up with that.” (Rove later walked back his remarks.)Washington Post columnist Melinda Henneberger tackled Clinton’s health in anopinion piece published in the wake of the fainting incident.
“Would we really be shocked to learn down the road that reports during her hospitalization had put a positive spin on her condition?,” Henneberger wrote. “Our public officials have trained us to take everything they say with a healthy dose of skepticism, and on a matter as sensitive as a head injury followed by denials of any neurological symptoms, I’m not sure why we would or should unquestioningly accept the word of any politician.”
I am shaking my damn head. The things that pass for journalmalism in this country...