Sometimes I wake up in the morning ashamed that I share the same name with the ultra liberal Time Magazine commentator Joe Klein. This is one of those mornings. As reported last night during The O’Reilly Factor, my namesake stupidly accused Fox News of “sedition”, “hateful crap” and lies – and that was just in the first sentence of his tirade.
Joe Klein was invited on The Factor to back up his charges but declined. And he is certainly too intimidated to go face-to-face with Sean Hannity whom he called a “thug” or with Glenn Beck whom he called a “weirdo”. Joe sure knows how to choose his words – a junior high school student journalist would be far more mature.
If I were to somehow be able to have an out-of-body experience and magically appear on The Factor or Hannity’s America in Joe Klein’s stead as his namesake and alterego, here is what I would say.
First, I would admit that my hysterics were embarrassing to all of us with the name Joe Klein (personally I am tired of being asked whether I am that goofy liberal who writes such absurdities) and that it was unprofessional journalism to say the least.
Second, I would admit that I need to have a dictionary by my side before I throw out crazy charges like “sedition”, which is defined as “the crime of revolting or inciting revolt against government”. I would have to concede that the exercise of the First Amendment right of free speech and free press is not sedition, unless we want to go back to the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, which barred spoken or written criticism of the government, the Congress, or the President. And I would have to admit to O’Reilly or Hannity that I wasn’t exactly kind to George W. Bush when he was president.
Third, standing in for the liberal Joe Klein as his alterego on The Factor or Hannity’s America, I would expect to have to deal with Joe’s whining statements about alleged bullying of the press by the McCain campaign that my hosts might well confront me with:
The story of the day out here in Minneapolis is the McCain campaign’s war against the press. This has been building for some time. Those of us who have criticized the candidate–and especially those of us who enjoyed good relations with McCain in the past–have been subject to off-the-record browbeating and attempted bullying all year…
There is a tendency in the media to kick ourselves, cringe and withdraw, when we are criticized. But I hope my colleagues stand strong in this case: it is important for the public to know that Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library and thinks the war in Iraq is “a task from God.” The attempts by the McCain campaign to bully us into not reporting such things are not only stupidly aggressive, but unprofessional in the extreme.
Somehow I would have to explain why the Obama administration is not being “unprofessional in the extreme” when it repeatedly attacks Fox News for criticizing the Obama administration’s selection of radical czars, its dithering on Afghanistan while more of our soldiers are dying in the field, its run away spending, its deception in portraying Obamacare as deficit neutral with no adverse impact on care for seniors or on the health system as a whole, and the corruption at ACORN.
On second thought, Joe. Why should I have to bail you out of the mess you created even if you did a disservice to all of us who share your name? Man up and go on The Factor or Hannity’s America yourself to defend your irresponsible charges against Fox News.