For months there had been a quiet buzz in both political and publishing circles surrounding "The Book" being written about Sen. Hillary Clinton. The scuttlebutt had it that New York Times best-selling author Edward Klein was in the final stages of a blockbuster expose of the former first lady, the likes of which could derail her 2008 presidential aspirations. "The Truth About Hillary" is now out, and it has lived up to its billing in the fireworks department. Except the controversy surrounds not Hillary Clinton but author Ed Klein, and the broadsides against him are coming primarily from conservatives, not the Left.
When Sean Hannity interviewed the author, he was clearly uncomfortable. Author Peggy Noonan has slammed the book. New York Post columnist John Podhoretz has blasted it. Talk show hosts Bill O'Reilly and Joe Scarborough have publicly declared they want nothing to do with it. From the rest of the media, particularly the broadcast networks and their morning talk shows, which routinely feature book interviews -- silence. Ed Klein is persona non grata.
What gives? The critics are denouncing what they see as salacious material. Tales of Hillary's purported lesbianism; allegations that all along she knew about her husband's trysts with Monica Lewinsky; questions about her questionable personal hygiene -- these are but some of the topics decried by Klein's detractors. More damning, perhaps, is the author's methodology. His charges are consistently based on reports from Anonymous Source. The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz quotes Scarborough's read: "I just applied the Kitty Kelley test. If it was inappropriate to have Kitty Kelley on because of unsubstantiated charges, it would be inappropriate to have Ed Klein on."
Agree with Scarborough or not, his position is defensible and consistent. The same cannot be said for the so-called (and really, we must stop using this wholly inaccurate term) "mainstream" media. Their refusal to interview Klein is an exercise in hypocrisy. If they applied that Kitty Kelley test on themselves today, consistency would demand coverage for Klein's book on Hillary tomorrow.
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