Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Joe Klein isn't a journalist

Let's just say, this is woefully insufficient. If you haven't been following this story, Joe Klein wrote a column where he accused Democrats of coddling terrorists for revising the law on NSA wiretapping. Then, well...
Everyone makes mistakes, even big ones. But Klein's meltdown has been epic. He first denied the problem, then conceded it, then argued it wasn't a big deal, and then concluded he couldn't figure out if he got it wrong or right and it wasn't a big deal anyway.
So then we finally get this, as a correction:
In the original version of this story, Joe Klein wrote that the House Democratic version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) would allow a court review of individual foreign surveillance targets. Republicans believe the bill can be interpreted that way, but Democrats don't.
Okay, so according to his Wikipedia page, Joe Klein lives in Westchester County, NY. That puts him within driving range of, say, Columbia Law School, whom he could also have found contact info for here. But reporters are busy, so conveniently Columbia provides it's faculty with these things called "telephones". At Columbia, he could have spoken to actual, um, lawyers, who could have given him an informed opinion as to whether or not the law actually says what Republicans say it does. Or, if he was in Washington D.C. when he was writing his smear-piece, he could have gone to this place called Georgetown University Law Center, who he can learn about here, who also have a reputation for producing half-decent legal minds.

See, if journalists aren't experts in a particular field, they have a duty to consult outside experts and at the very least make an effort to get an independent opinion. This is what other people call "research". It's what journalists call "not getting fired" in most cases, but it's apparently what Joe Klein calls "too hard to bother with."

Because -- and this might shock young Joe Klein -- Republicans aren't inclined to say nice things about Democrats, and vice versa. The GOP says this bill would protect terrorists? Fuck me, the GOP says Social Security protects terrorists! They say fucking food stamps protect terrorists. These are the people who blamed the teaching of evolution for the Columbine shootings, you nimrod. That doesn't make it so.

Journalists, and I can introduce you to some if you'd like, are supposed to determine the accuracy of statements, not just mindlessly repeat them.

Nixon said he wasn't a crook. Apparently, that was enough for some people.

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