Part 4—He told it exactly once: This morning, on Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough made a pronouncement.
Bill Clinton’s forbidden take is “preposterous,” the rank Clinton-hater said.
For our money, Clinton omitted one key part of the story he told on CNN last weekend. Still and all, we strongly disagree with the view of this rank Clinton-hater.
We think Bill Clinton’s forbidden story is simply crawling with merit. Consider what Ezra Klein wrote, on one occasion, nine long years ago.
Klein was still amazingly young—just 21!—when he wrote The American Prospect’s cover story in April 2006. We’ll offer a guess at this point
His youth and inexperience may explain why he told the forbidden truth.
In his lengthy cover report, Klein considered the possibility that the new and improved Al Gore might seek the White House again in 2008. At the time, this notion struck us as highly unlikely, largely because of the forbidden story the youthful Klein told in his piece.
Good God! Right at the start of his lengthy report, Klein described a speech Gore had given in the fall of 2005. And good God!
Right there, in his second paragraph, Klein told the forbidden story!
Good God! According to Liberal Pundit Law, this wasn’t—still isn’t—allowed:
KLEIN (4/06): The most important speech of Al Gore's post–non-presidency was neither well-covered nor particularly dramatic. He delivered it against a plain blue curtain, and when he finished, the applause rippled but never roared. None in attendance, however, would have dared call it boring.Was Ezra Klein permitted to say that?
The address was the keynote for the We Media conference, held at the Associated Press headquarters in New York last October and attended by an audience that included both old media luminaries and new media innovators. In attendance were Tom Curley, president of the AP, Andrew Heyward, president of CBS News, and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, all leading lights of a media establishment that, five years earlier, had deputized itself judge, jury, and executioner for Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, spinning each day's events to portray the stolid, capable vice president as a wild exaggerator, ideological chameleon, and total, unforgivable bore.
Rather plainly, the answer is no. But we’ll guess that he still didn’t know that.
Good lord! Right there in his second paragraph, Ezra told the actual truth about Campaign 2000!
As you can see, Klein told part of the larger forbidden story Bill Clinton told last weekend. Clinton told the story to Fareed Zakaria, who reacted by playing it dumb.
(Zakaria to Clinton: “You think it's a Republican plot, really?” Correct answer: No, Code-of-Silence Breath! He said it’s an unholy alliance between the GOP and your own mainstream press corps!)
(“I think you know what happened,” Bill Clinton had said at the start of the session. When his host responded by playing it dumb, we suspected Bill Clinton was right!)
Let’s return to that cover story in April 2006:
What forbidden things did Ezra Klein say in the passage we’ve posted? With perfect accuracy, he said such things as these:
He correctly said that the “media establishment” had done an astonishing thing in its coverage of Campaign 2000.
He named the types of news orgs he had in mind—CBS News, the Associated Press, even the New York Times!
What did Klein say those news orgs had done?
He said the media establishment had “deputized itself judge, jury, and executioner for Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign.” It almost sounded like Klein was describing gross journalistic misconduct!
According to Klein, how had news orgs like the Times acted as “executioners” during that fateful campaign?
His portrait only got worse as Klein supplied the details! According to Klein, the nation’s elite news orgs had served as Candidate Gore’s executioners by “spinning each day’s events to portray the stolid, capable vice president as a wild exaggerator, ideological chameleon, and total, unforgivable bore.”
Just for the record, this spinning began in March 1999 and continued for twenty long months.
To state the obvious, Klein was painting an astonishing portrait of the press corps’ behavior. Rather plainly, he was describing gross misconduct on the part of our most important news orgs—gross misconduct in a fateful campaign which ended up being decided by a handful of votes.
Already, people were dead all over the world because of the way that campaign had ended up. And good God! Look at the astounding misconduct Klein had ascribed to the press!
Every word in Klein’s indictment was accurate, of course. At other points in his lengthy piece, he occasionally fleshed out his claims in a bit more detail. Examples:
In one of history’s greatest known understatements, he said Candidate Gore’s “misreported comments on the Internet’s lineage were unfortunate for his campaign.”
He referred to “the anti-intellectualism Gore experienced in 2000,” apparently “on the campaign plane.”
He said Gore wouldn’t run again if he judged that a new campaign would be “just another round of dodging media-narratives and churlish characterizations.”
(By way of contrast, he suggested that Gore might run in 2008 if he thought he come create “an issue-based endeavor that allows him to continue speaking out on matters of substance.”)
Let’s state the obvious. Klein didn’t even begin to record the endless ways those news org acted as “executioners” during Campaign 2000.
Given the endless “misreported comments” which drove the coverage of Campaign 2000—given the ubiquity of the “media narratives and churlish characterizations” which formed the framework for all their reporting—no one could have done so in a few thousand words, and that wasn’t Klein’s principal focus.
Still, Klein had drawn an astonishing portrait of the mainstream press corps’ behavior. Might we now share an astonishing fact?
Ezra Klein never mentioned this matter again, not even in his interviews for his cover report!
Why did Klein mention this astonishing press corps misconduct just once? We’re willing to take a small guess at this time.
We’re willing to guess that a certain young man was quickly told, by mentors or friends, that this story was forbidden. But at any rate, the remarkable, accurate story he told completely disappeared.
In 2006, at age 21, Klein had told an astonishing story. Here’s our question:
What kind of person comes along and tells such a story just once?
Tomorrow, we’ll try to answer that question as we conclude our forbidden report. And uh-oh!Looking at the current landscape, we’ll try to show you what can occur when our favorite, most famous millionaire liberals agree to such codes of silence.
We’ll try to show you how Ezra Klein’s story is the same story Clinton just told. That said, our ultimate question turns out to be this:
How is it even possible? How can it be that this “preposterous” story is so rarely told?
Tomorrow: The wages of silence