Archive » July 6, 2006
By Bill Steigerwald
ED KLEIN RE-EXPOSES HILLARY
Veteran journalist Ed Klein, a former editor of The New York Times Sunday Magazine, caught a lot of mainstream media grief last summer when he unleashed "The Truth About Hillary," his blunt and deliberately one-sided trashing of the politics and personality of Hillary Clinton. Despite the bad press it got from the liberal media -- including 13 stories on Klein in The New York Times – the book sold more than 250,000 copies. Klein says he wasn't sued by anyone and stands by everything he wrote. Now out in paperback, the book contains a new introduction that explains how conservative talk shows, bloggers and places such as Newsmax.com made him a bestseller. I talked to Klein by phone on June 20 from his office in New York City.
Q. What have you learned about Hillary Clinton since your book came out?
A. That she remains consistent and has been consistent since she was eight years old. She developed a grandiose idea of her own self-importance and has never been shaken in that conviction throughout her years in politics.
What have you learned about the mainstream media since your book came out?
The mainstream media, in the year since my hardcover edition came out, has fallen slightly out of love with Hillary because of her backing of the war in Iraq. And the vehemence with which they once supported her is no longer as evident. It would be no exaggeration to say that the mainstream media and the base of the Democratic Party is now actively looking for another candidate to back in 2008.
So you are predicting Hillary won’t be the automatic nominee we’ve been thinking she’ll be?
I think Hillary has all the money and all the organization and all the power in the party. But she no longer has the heart and soul of the party because of her support of the war in Iraq – or at least her apparent support of the war in Iraq. And therefore this provides an opening for a surprise candidate to challenge her in the primaries.
Is what has happened with Ann Coulter and her book “Godless” similar in any way to what happened to your book last year – or were you ignored by the media more than she has?
No. I was not ignored by the media. The New York Times ran thirteen – thirteen – negative stories about my book. And virtually every other mainstream media outlet in America trashed my book and attacked my credibility. I was treated like a pariah because I dared to reveal what I revealed about Hillary. Those were the days when Hillary still was untouchable in the mainstream media. I don’t think that’s true anymore.
What have you learned about conservatives in the last year that has not pleased you?
There are some conservatives who appear to be conservatives in name only, and who are more interested in sipping Chablis with their liberal friends at New York cocktail parties and out in South Hampton and East Hampton than they are in the conservative cause. Among those who I would call Chablis conservatives are people like John Podhoretz of the New York Post and Peggy Noonan, who are more concerned with how they are treated by their liberal friends than they are with their adherence to conservative principles.
Last year, you said Hillary’s whole life was “a sham” and she couldn’t be trusted with the presidency. Has anything changed?
I think a lot of what I wrote about Hillary – that she is untrustworthy, that she is a liar, that she is a sham, all of those things for which I was attacked by so many people – have now become clearer, to everyone, even to some people left of center, who have realized that Hillary does not have any principles but she’s only got her career in mind; that she’ll say or do anything to get elected president. And her posing as a God-fearing moderate who is against flag burning and in favor of Mom and apple pie doesn’t fool many people any longer.
Do you regret or retract anything that you wrote?
Quite the contrary. I not only stand by what I wrote, but I’m very glad that I wrote it, because it had to be said. I learned early in my career as a journalist that one of the most important things that a journalist can do was to hold public officials to a test of truthfulness and principle-ness and decency, and when they have feet of clay, to expose those feet of clay. And I think I’ve exposed Hillary’s feet of clay on which she is running for President of the United States.
Your next book is going to be about Katie Couric. Is there anything you can tell us about that?
I can only say that whereas my book on Hillary was intended to be a polemic against Hillary because I did not and do not want to see her become President of the United States, the book on Katie Couric is going to be much more of a journalistic, fair-and-balanced enterprise.
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