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The Main-Sleaze Media Strikes Again!

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Though the former Newsweek and New York Times Magazine editor’s book, “The Truth About Hillary” has yet to be released, it has already reached number one on Amazon. Does that make it a good book? Hardly, but the debate that has grown around the release of this book is interesting, to say the least.

Liberal critics have already begun to call this book, “a right wing hit piece.” But is it? If you look at Mr. Klein’s credentials, you see that he’s worked for two of the biggest left-leaning media establishments in the country, Newsweek, and the NY Times.

Is it a left wing hit piece then? Perhaps an example of liberals killing their own wounded?

I think the whole argument is ridiculous actually. This is, plain and simple, a hit piece. It doesn’t matter WHO it is hitting, really, what matters is that it’s really just full of sleaze.

Yes, sleaze. A low but popular form of the media that I like to call, “the main-sleaze media.” These books are, as Bill O’Reilly accurately pointed out on his Fox News show last night, easy to write:

Writing a book or article that slams somebody is simple. Just line up the person’s enemies and let fly. They do that stuff to me all the time and to every other successful person in the media or politics.

Exactly right. Unfortunately, sleaze often sells even better than sex. In some ways, this kind of sleaze, the kind you’ve seen hurled at people like Mr. O’Reilly, President Bush, President Clinton, Rush Limbaugh, and now Senator Clinton, is a form of pornography. It’s chock full of lurid details, and salacious rumors. Stuff that, unfortunately, people love to read.

Is any of this garbage uplifting in any way? Does it teach us anything of value? These kinds of books are the fast food of literature; they are fun to consume, but you feel less healthy rather than more at the end of it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love fast food. I went out today and had a Big Mac and fries and I loved every bite! But, as one of my high school Social Studies teachers often said, “the things are nothing more than death balls.”

Here’s the difference; when I eat one of my “death balls,” I’m only hurting myself. When people go out and buy books like “The Truth About Hillary,” in which Mr. Klein reportedly makes the outrageous claim that Chelsea Clinton was conceived through an act of intra-marital rape, the damage is far broader.

If you read through my archives, you’ll find numerous articles critiquing former President Clinton and Senator Clinton, but one thing I’ve respected about them is the pains they’ve always taken to give Chelsea as normal a life as possible. Have Bill and Hillary shown any greater unity than when it comes to protecting their daughter and giving her a chance at her own future?

Which means, if the rumor is true regarding Mr. Klein’s book, that this particular piece of sleaze is all the more despicable.

And the fact that this man’s book is number one on the Amazon list disturbs me. What does that say about us? The book is not yet even available for purchase!

Those of you who would call yourselves conservative, as I call myself; you do understand, don’t you, that this kind of book is a form of theft, don’t you? Mr. Klein, no doubt a very accomplished journalist, has abandoned his own talent, and has chosen instead to feed off of the notoriety of the Clintons.

It is, in a sense, a form of wealth redistribution.

And we avidly consume this stuff… No wonder mainstream journalists look down on us.

David Flanagan

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About David

  • Try turning your head away from a train wreck. It’s human nature.

  • The Clintons SO much deserve all the sleazy attacks they get. They have brought this stuff on themselves in a thousand ways. For example, Bill apparently really DID rape Juanita Broderick, besides every other kind of sexual misbehavior. Should we be then offended for his honor over these questionable allegations?

    Screw ’em both, I say. They’ve got it coming to them.

  • Al –

    a) How does someone apparantly really do something?

    b) Where’s your proof?

  • Juanita Broderick has reluctantly but publicly told her story. She sounds pretty credible. However, I say “apparently” because I don’t know 100%, and he’s never been convicted of such charges in a court of law.

    Monsieur Berlin, surely you’re not going to claim that Bill Clinton has not had a fairly ugly history of abusive sexual behavior.

  • While Clinton has had affairs, I see no reason to label it “abusive sexual behavior.” I go back to: if Hillary and Bill have worked things out — as it seems they have — what business is it of anyone’s elses?

  • Al,

    Does Chelsea Clinton deserve this kind of treatment? Because, if rumors are true, Ed Klein is making the case that she’s was conceived through an act of intra-marital rape.

    That’s a terrible charge for a young lady to have leveled at her.


  • Matthew,

    Would you pay $20 for a guided tour of a trainwreck? That is what you are doing when you buy this book.



  • The Clintons SO much deserve all the sleazy attacks they get. They have brought this stuff on themselves in a thousand ways. For example, Bill apparently really DID rape Juanita Broderick, besides every other kind of sexual misbehavior. Should we be then offended for his honor over these questionable allegations?

    You know what? I hope Hillary doesn’t run because I am sick and tired of the right wingnuts and their constant torture of the Clinton family. They did it to the Clintons, they did it to John McCain and now they’re doing it to the Clintons again. I’ve had it with the diatribe. People who have nothing better to do but malign anyone who does not tow the party or religious line are equal to Nazism, Communism, Islamic terrorism and every other ism that is a threat to the very foundation of human rights and dignity. There, I said it. And I won’t be a coward like Dick Durbin and tearfully withdraw my remarks.

    Cal Thomas this week stated that the church, not the state, must advance the moral agenda. Well, former Senator and U.N. Ambassador John Danforth disagrees. Until I became a fan of Blogcritics, I was of the opinion that with all its faults the Democrat Party was our last, best hope. I was wrong. It’s time for the Whitmans, McCains and Danforths of this country to revolt and take back the party of Lincoln. The GOP needs a purge and it’s time we had the balls to do it.

    McCainDanforth 2008!

  • I’m with you, Silas, but I want it to be McCain-Tancredo – which I think is more viable anyway.



    I don’t want to start going OT, but Hillary and Bill have managed to kept themselves a lot of scrutiny by their actions or inactions, as have many other public figures.

  • Mr Flanagan, Bill and Hillary are public figures of significantly earned ill repute, and I’m not impressed with arguments that they should be able to hide behind their daughter to avoid criticism. Plus, the rape charge isn’t “leveled against her.” It doesn’t say anything about her whatsoever.

    Mr Berlin, Bill’s behavior is worse than simply having an affair or two. He’s humping the help, using his status as a powerful elected official to get his way with women- and then destroy them if they become inconvenient. Most notorious here, of course, Monica Lewinsky.

    Also, screw John McCain. He’s a fascist schmuck who needs to be knocked down. I’d vote for Hillary before him. However, he has NOT been drug through the mud on a personal level. The attacks on him have been largely purely professional.


    Al, if all Bill had done was get it on in the Oval Office, I could probably accept him. As always, history wil judge his legacy, so check back in about 30 years.

  • Also, screw John McCain. He’s a fascist schmuck who needs to be knocked down. I’d vote for Hillary before him. However, he has NOT been drug through the mud on a personal level. The attacks on him have been largely purely professional.

    With all due respect, Al, I disagree. McCain was totally dragged through the mud by Bush operatives during the 2000 campaign under the tutelege of one Karl Rove. He was taken through the mud, maligned for the adoption of a child of color and his wife was made a political pawn. The Bush operatives organized a demonic smear campaign that bore false witness against the Senator. As far as I can see, under Christian doctrine, those fundamentalists who took part in that campaign will burn in the bowels of Hell. Unless, of course, they vow to kill fags, outlaw abortion and deport Hillary.

    Dave, thanks for the info on Tancredo. I have read some stuff and based on your recommendation I shall now support the ticket! McCainTancredo 2008!

  • Al, if all Bill had done was get it on in the Oval Office, I could probably accept him. As always, history wil judge his legacy, so check back in about 30 years.

    SFC, as far as I’m concerned I want a President that likes to get off. It makes him human. Somehow Richard Nixon doesn’t strike me as a guy who would have enjoyed a blow job. Maybe that’s what made him so paranoid.

  • wow..seems big Al is off his meds again

    as far as Clinton’s alleged behaviour when it comes to women…if the allegations are proven true, lock the fucker up…however, since Ken Starr spent over 40 million of the taxpayers money going over everything with a fine tooth comb looking for ANY excuse to nail slick Willie, and failed to prove ANY of the shit big Al is spewing off about then mebbe it’s time to let go of the peurile, unfounded, accusations…eh?

    you know..the whole “innocent until proven guilty” bit

    hell, it’s not like a prominent GOP type that waged the impeachment jihad against him ever divorced his wife on her deathbed from cancer so he could marry his ex-intern that he had been having an affair with , who was half his age, then divorced that one for another, younger intern…

    oh , wait..that’s right…Newt actually did that…my bad..

    as for McCain, fascist? how so? and i guess the push polls done by an “outside firm” that cost 2 million during the 2000 primaries in South Carolina that called him “unpatriotic” and made it seem like he was pro-breast cancer were “professional” and not “personal”

    cold pack for big Al please..i’m sure he’ll be just fine folks..


  • David writes: “These kinds of books are the fast food of literature; they are fun to consume, but you feel less healthy rather than more at the end of it.

    Reply: And the analogy holds for the American society. If, like Morgan Spurlock, we chose to consume only junk food, we will reap unhealthy benefits. “Junk media,” like junk media, is unhealthy. It is dangerous for the body, mind and spirit. Unfortunately, we – as a society – seem to be on a strictly Big Mac diet.

    Like the Golden Arches, this sort of writing is everywhere.



  • Folks, the strategy is to make the allegation – you can always apologize later, boo-hoo, I didn’t mean to upset anyone. As long as the charge is leveled, there will always be plenty of people who nod wisely and intone, “no smoke without fire, y’know.”

    This book is the logical outgrowth of the supermarket tabloids, worthy of no more notice than them. You wouldn’t make this kind of uproar over “President Meets with Extra-Terrestrials at Camp David,” would you?

  • Yep, that’s exactly right, DrPat. It’s Swift Boats all over again. I’m afraid we’ve arrived at The Age of Swift Boats, where it’s okay to make up any damned crackpot allegations you like, as long as it’s published under a glossy-looking cover.

  • This is just more misdirection that is symptomatic of american politics.

    Clinton (and Bush’s) crimes are all dome right out in the open.. Waco, Iraq, Elian Gonzales, lying about the state of US finances, protectionism, the FCC protection of the entrenched elites, bailing out big business with govt money.. the essential wrongness of everything that is happening, killing innocent foreigners to deflect attention from domestic issues.

    I could go on for pages.

    But no leader will ever be held accountable for any of this crap.

    And I personally would rather see Bush held accountable for lying about Iraq than worry about Clinton lying about a consensual sex act.

    Its like those people that spent hours playing metal records backwards to find satanic messages in a Judas Priest or Ozzy song, when all they have do do is listen to the actual freaking song the right way to hear the bad stuff.

    The lengths that the right has gone to trash the Clintons is pretty amazing tho.

    The equvelant arguements from the left towards Bush are fairly tame taken in comparison.

  • The lengths that the right has gone to trash the Clintons is pretty amazing tho.
    The equvelant arguements from the left towards Bush are fairly tame taken in comparison.

    You’re absolutely right, Todd. That’s why I maintain we must take from the center and start purging our politics from extremism. This left-right mud slinging and paranoia is paralyzing this country a hell of a lot more than the terrorists did on 9/11. It’s a disgrace that the politicians in this country have been allowed to get away with their shenanigans since then. They have done the American public a disservice and 48% of Americans have done themselves a disservice by not being more proactive concerning their own futures.

  • Actually Silas, I think the answer is more extremism, but extremism towards an idea, not partisanship.

    Partisanship is just dumb and leads people into making fools of themselves and supporting people instead of ideas and causes.

    If you are pro-life for instance, why support a candidate who wants to use your tax money to experiment on dead babies?

    Likewise, if you are anti-war, why support the party that went right along with Bush in gong to war?

    All those people should have had some balls and voted for Nader instead of Kerry.

    And thats what it comes down to, having common sense and the balls to back it up.

    My god, how could it get any worse if your Big Party candidate lost and the other guy got in? Nothing will change as long as people keep going after the least of evils. At least, in such a narrow scope as to choose between a Dem or a Rep.

    America’s answers, politically, don’t lie in the center. Liberty was at the time (the colonial days) an extreme concept and it still is. It was a reaction against the entrenched elites and their stranglehold on commerce via mercantilism.

    Nah man, the middle is no place to be. I think a radical agenda is more likely to grab the attentions of the grass roots, which is why the Reps keep telling the Dems that Dean is bad news.

    Not that I like Dean, he is just a placebo for disaffected lefties to funnel them back into the DNC.

  • Well, how about a compromise, Todd? Why not create a new extremism called the Proactive Electorate Party (PEP). To get Americans REALLY involved in the political process would be an extreme change. Take our friend Dave, for instance. By God by the time I’m done I will have convinced him to run for the local School Board.

  • Well said Ron!

    Thanks. 🙂


  • I agree with Silas – McCain was really treated harshly during the last presidential primary, and it drove him to the point where I think he lost the primary mainly because he got so publicly pissed off about the attacks on his family.

    McCain certainly isn’t perfect. His biggest shortcomings are the disastrous failure of his efforts at campaign finance reform, his reputation as a bit of a waffler and gloryhound, and his advancing age. I think his wife is a big asset. She’d be the best looking thing in the white house since Jackie Kennedy. Plus McCain does have a reputation for honesty which is a nice change from what we’ve experienced for the last 16 years or so.

    I like Tancredo as a running mate because he’s strong on issues like immigration, he’s a real hard-line conservative but not a religious nut and he’s young. His main shortcoming is that he’s also a westerner like McCain.


  • Dave,

    At least, after all the praise Democrats have heaped upon McCain for being a moderate, they would have trouble then backpeddling and smearing him as they have so many other GOP candidates.

    There are a lot of things I like about McCain. I don’t know if he would be my ideal candidate for President, but he’s certainly a strong candidate.


  • Hang on though, maybe the book in question should be read before conclusions are jumped to and the like? how can anyone say whether purchasing the book is like paying 20 dollars to see a train wreck if they haven’t actually read the book in the first place?

  • Bill O’Reilly read the books, but certain pieces and excerpts have been leaked to generate media attention. And you know what? It has worked.

    The printer recently announced they were expanding the number of initial copies by 50 or 100 thousand.


  • John McCain recognizes no political principles of freedom. He doesn’t stand for a smaller government, and shows no real principles.

    In particular, his McCain-Feingold political speech censorship bill marks him as an authoritarian unfit for public office.

    I don’t recall any Bush personal attacks on McCain, but then I was busy with my own senate campaign. Are you saying that Bush’s people were somehow using McCain’s adoption of a non-Caucasian child to discredit him with voters? I didn’t hear any of this.

    Also it doesn’t sound right to me. Not that Dubya would never play dirty, but I don’t see how this would play. Seems like adopting a child would be seen as a positive thing by the big majority of voters.

    Regardless of what Bush did or didn’t do to poor little John McCain, I wouldn’t vote for the bastard for dog catcher.

  • Besides a total lack of political principles, John McCain earned my eternal enmity with his McCain-Feingold campaign censorship law.

    And yet if I scratched a copy of the First Amendment onto a 2×4 and smacked the esteemed senator upside the head with it, they’d make it out as if I was the bad guy.

  • Al, feel free to Google “john mccain dirty tricks south carolina” unless your worried that the facts will get in the way of your opinions.

    Better yet, let me make it easy for you. The Bush 2000 team alleged that McCain’s Bangladeshi-born adopted daughter was his illegitimate black child. That didn’t play well with Southern conservative voters. If you’re surprised by that, it would explain your failed Senate run.

  • El Bicho, I simply don’t care if big mean old Dubya played rough with McCain. That still does not give him the right to stifle critical free speech about elections. He sucks. Screw him.

    Also, your gratuitous personal dig is just a hateful non-sequiter. What, you’re saying that I could have beaten the most popular politician in the state if I’d just known to make up some cheesy racist rumor?

  • Many a racist rumor has done in a politician especially in the Bible Belt, Al. Perhaps being on the fringes of it in Indiana segregates you from how politics operate in the heart of Dixie. Being a white man with an illegitimate child of color is tantamount to being Satan in the eyes of many a white fundamentalist Christian. We’ve come a long way in 200 years, haven’t we, Al?

    With all that being said, I honestly believe that we need more men who think along your lines in Congress. That way the American people would wake up and finally force campaign finance reform and the way business is done at the Federal level.

  • Nancy

    The irony of the Bush/Rove lies about McCain’s “illegitimate child of color” is that one of the staunchest, most conservative racist GOP-ers actually DID have a secret black child, a daughter. But no one in the GOP raised a rat’s ass about that, even tho it seems to have been an open secret in the party. Talk about two-faced hypocrites.

    What I don’t understand is why McCain continued/-es to put up with, much less support, anything Smirk says or does, after the dirty tricks & lies he played on McCain. And Al, if you’re concerned about free speech & elections, you should be more concerned about big mean ol’ Bush, since he’s one of today’s prime squelchers of free speech via intimidation and smears, and elections via dirty tricks. Or do you perhaps mean, you don’t like it that McCain has tried to put a halt to the practice of obscenely wealthy people, and multinational corporations, buying elections because they can?

  • Al you are being a bit naive about how a president attacks his enemies… he doesn’t hold a press conference one day and announce that McCain is a race mixer, he has one of the thousands (and now with blogs, possible millions) of willing mouth pieces do it.

    I don’t listen to Limbaugh much anymore, but in the rare times I hear him on AM up here in Rochester, he has ussually been saying something deragatory about McCain, and Limbaugh does not operate without some measure of coordination with the GOP leadership.

    And I agree, McCain is an anti freedom guy straight to his core. Anti liberty and a war monger to boot.

  • Once again the original subject matter of this thread has been overlooked, especially by me. There will be plenty of time to debate the merits of a McCainTancredo Administration vs. a Clinton-??? Administration soon enough.

    The Providence Eagle, arguably the best alternative newspaper in Rhode Island, has a great article by Dan Kennedy on the “Trouble with being Hillary“. He begins his article with the following:

    IS THERE A more reviled public figure in America today than Hillary Rodham Clinton? Well, okay: Scott Peterson. But in the large and growing class of Politicians Thinking About Running for President, the junior senator from New York is surely the most controversial and – yes – the most despised…”

    Hillary is despised. Hillary is adored. Hillary represents the best about American women. Hillary represents what’s worst about liberals. Hillary has become both the villian and the victim in the game of American politics. Is it fair to hold her to such a high level of accountability? Kennedy brings up some very good points in the piece. But the story is summed up in one sentence: when has politics ever been fair?

  • Nancy

    Well, first off, women never get a fair shake in politics: the vast majority of men in political coteries refuse to share power, and those women strong enough to take it anyway are invariably labelled as whores, dykes, etc. in pitiful, cheap attempts by said males to discredit and smear the evil woman who dares to take her share instead of humbly waiting for a crumb to be tossed. Consider the strong women of history: every single one has been slandered for refusing to remain subject to male domination. I would list them, but I don’t have all day, and everyone reading these blogs generally has a good enough knowledge of history to know at least a dozen off the top of their heads. This is not to inveigh against the nature of the beast, but simply to cite history & human evolution (ironic, no?): all male hominids, whether chimps or congressmen, display this same jealous hoarding of power; it’s simply wired into their brains. Females display it, too, but to a markedly lesser degree and intensity, with rare exceptions.

    In regard to Clinton specifically, I think the Right hates Clinton partially because she’s smart (smarter than most of them), strong, and doesn’t give a damn about them and their garbage, and partially because she is associated w/their chosen symbolic arch-nemesis, Bill, just the same as the Left starts frothing at the mouth thinking about W. It’s somewhat odd, because having been the injured victim of Slick Willie’s infidelities, one would think she’d get a bit of sympathy because of it, but it’s possible (altho unlikely) that the men of the Right feel they have more in common with a fellow male who is a libertine than a woman overly forceful & articulate for their tastes. After all, women have been told by their own mothers for millenia that no man likes a woman who is smarter than he is, so play dumb. Just a hypothesis.

    Actually, the knee-jerk reaction is almost comical: mention Hillary, and the typical conservative (especially the more extreme version) becomes red-faced, breathing becomes labored, the eyes bug out, the tongue almost but not quite swells & the throat restricts (as does the brain) causing intermittant gobbling and choking amidst the vomit of verbal abuse. It’s really surprising at least a few of them haven’t died of apoplexy thus far. I’ll bet if the hospitals did a more thorough job of determining cause of death, they’d find that probably a significant percentage of strokes & heart attacks could be attributed to our gal Hil.

  • Nancy, does this mean under a Hillary Presidency the Federal Government would be mandated to provide epinehphrine kits to all extreme right wingers?

  • Nancy, you can’t buy an election if the voters aren’t selling. You call it buying and election, I call it free speech. If you think the money in some campaign is sleazy, make that an issue for the voters in that race.

    In fact, though, much of the now censored expressive spending would be not from a few rich fat cats, but from organizations of average citizens, such as Planned Parenthood and the NRA.

    Leaving that aside though, even the fat cats have every right in the world to spend their money on tv spots and such what. George Soros should spend every nickel of his money on ads about what a no-good shit he thinks Dubya is, if that is his desire.

    Nor do I mean to particularly defend Dubya. Hey, the bastard signed the damned McCain-Feingold law. So screw him too.

    Still, I have trouble believing that some half-assed rumor about having a mixed race child would negatively impact a candidate with any significant number of voters in this century. Maybe I’m just too pure at heart or plain old naive, but Jebus.

  • Nancy

    Al, I think you can buy an election even if the voters aren’t selling, just by having so much money to pour into advertising/marketing/influence peddling and whatnotelse that essentially individual rights are completely erased. Marketers have studied mass psychology for years, as have pols and their flackies. There’s an entire industry – subindustries, even – for it. If you repeat on TV and radio and in print often enough: the moon is pink, people actually start to believe it … not that the majority of people are very swift to begin with. So it’s even easier when you’re targeting an intellectually lazy, half-educated, moronically-oriented population with 20-second attention spans who think classic literature is Cliffs Notes to begin with.

    I think the only solution to parity and honesty in elections may be to limit ALL campaign spending, for anything, from food to transportation to PR, to a flat figure – perhaps a few million, provided entirely from tax funds somehow (give me some time, I can’t work out all the details in an hour, thanks), do not pass go, no exceptions, no excuses, no free non-funded support (like free hotel, travel at the expense of would-be supporters, etc.). Maybe, perhaps, if strictly enforced (hold all the candidates’ kids hostage until after they’ve been audited and cleared? How about, more realistically, if the winner or staff were caught knowingly violating the standards, s/he forfeits the election?) it might work and we could actually have clean elections again, altho I don’t the first order of business with too many would be to find loopholes. But if all the holes were closed, and the penalites too high to make it worthwhile to cheat…?

  • Nancy, you premise this on the idea that voters are stupid and incapable of sorting out the noise of an expensive ad campaign. Sometimes I might would think you are right, but if you accept that idea we’re just screwed for having any kind of democracy. Rather than some self-appointed schmucks deciding who’s allowed to say how much of what, I’d rather go by the constitution and count on voters figuring it out for themselves.

  • Nancy

    Well, I wish I were as sanguine as you, but I read about this stuff, and see how people react, and in truth, Barnum was righter than even he thought.

  • argh..one of my most hated bits form the Supremes…money is NOT fucking speech

    money is “legal tender for all debts, public and private” ….sez so right here on the label…that may be a lot of things, but it sure as shit ain’t speech

    the “reasoning” was that money was required for candidates to advertise on television…my problem there is that according to the whole bullshit concept the FCC is based on(an unelected body that supposedly guards our Interests in the public airwaves, but censors content) sez that the PUBLIC owns the fucking airwaves…

    so why not just allocate x amount of airtime to each candidate

    speaking of which ..anyone else remember the old “equal time” regulation form the FCC? remember what made it go away?

    anyone but me think there is a direct correlation to the harsh partisan tactics used in political discourse today and the fact that “equal time” is no longer required?

    as for McCain…i wanted to vote for him in 2000, lots of reasons…when the shit happened in outh Carolina, it made up my mind as to why i should dislike the Shrub/Rove…you know..ethics and the lack there of

    but any cachet i had for McCain went away when, after he lost, he turned around and became the Shrub’s personal bitch…did it again in ’04, and still does it upon command today…

    Hillary?..please, spare me

    guess i’m voting for Frank Zappa…again

    yes…i know he’s dead, what’s yer point?


  • Nancy

    There was a good article on this book today (Thurs. 6/23) in the Washington Post, Style section, by a former editor of Klein’s. If this book was done for political flack, altho selling well as all ‘scandal’ books tend to do, it is creating a sort of backlash, even among Republicans, but especially (and understandably) among women on all parts of the political spectrum. Guess it’s one thing for one woman to trash another a la Kitty Kelley, but for a man to trash a woman is still a no-no.