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Just Like Old Times

A pair of new books allow the ConWeb to engage in a couple of its favorite activities: bashing the Clintons and failing to tell the full truth about the bashers.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 6/9/2005

The creation of the ConWeb -- NewsMax, WorldNetDaily, -- had its genesis in conservatives' desire to attack the Clinton administration. With a pair of new anti-Clinton books coming out, the ConWeb has been given an opportunity to indulge in some good ol' Clinton-bashing behavior.

NewsMax has latched onto Edward Klein's book "The Truth About Hillary." Needless to say, you can purchase the book at the NewsMax store; an ad for it touts a claim that "The revelations in it should sink her candidacy," which is the presumed purpose of writing the book in the first place. But since that's NewsMax's goal as well, it won't tell you that.

A June 4 "Insider Report" quoted John LeBoutillier, NewsMax columnist and co-founder of the would-be monument to hate known as the Counter Clinton Library, claims that "none of the dozens of biographies of Hillary Clinton have ever been as well-researched as this one. ... or have any of them been written by a professional journalist with such impeccable credentials." Klein, LeBoutiller claims, "comes from the bastion of the liberal, so-called 'mainstream media.' Klein has worked for the most liberal publications in the United States."

LeBoutillier adds in a June 7 column that "Ed Klein and I are friends," then puffs up Klein's resume:

As editor-in-chief of The New York Times Magazine for eleven years, 1977 to 1988, Mr. Klein led that flagship publication of the Sunday Times to new heights of public interest and editorial excellence. During his editorship, The New York Times Magazine won the first Pulitzer Prize in its history.

When a conservative like LeBoutillier starts saying nice things about the New York Times, you know something's amiss. Indeed, something is.

What LeBoutillier isn't about to tell you is Klein's tenure as magazine editor ended under an ethical cloud after running what the Washington Post called "two stories of questionable accuracy":

In July, the magazine ran a staged, four-year-old photo and misidentified it as a recent Miami drug arrest. And a week earlier, the newspaper had run an editor's note clarifying the status of writer Rae Lawrence, whose story in the magazine about trying to get her novel published left the mistaken impression she had no previous literary experience.

The "Insider Report" also claimed to offer the first juicy tidbit from the book, a claim that Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, during Hillary's announcement of her candidacy for Moynihan's Senate seat, "never uttered Hillary's name -- not even once -- during this event." But as Media Matters points out, Moynihan said Clinton's name several times.

NewsMax seems to have sort of recognized this. While the original article has gone uncorrected thus far, a June 7 article recaping the "Insider Report" claims made sure to delete the claim of Moynihan not speaking Clinton's name.

Yet, even as other claims in the book have been proven false or misleading and Klein appears to have done some of his "reporting" by lifting information from other books, LeBoutillier was continuing to insist that "Ed Klein's background and credentials are stumping Team Clinton."

Then again, there's hardly any need to attack Klein's credentials when he can't get basic facts correct; on the other hand, Klein's association with LeBoutillier amply demonstrates his agenda. After all, LeBoutiller has demonstrated his propensity to lie about the Clintons for his little Counter Clinton Library, and he is also behind the StopHillaryPAC, which cites the discredited Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as a model and to which LeBoutillier adds: "We at the want to do the same thing to Hillary."

WorldNetDaily, meanwhile, has thrown its weight behind a different book, "Their Lives: The Women Targeted by the Clinton Machine," by Candice E. Jackson.

WND is selling the book, and Jackson has appeared on WND editor Joseph Farah's radio show. WND reported on a publicity stunt in which Jackson attempted to enter Bill Clinton's Harlem office to demand an apology for his behavior. WND reproduced a May 31 article on the book taking the angle that Hillary Clinton allegedly "had a major role in threatening and intimidating women who accused her husband of sexual relationships with other women," an accusation Farah ran with in a June 2 column: "What kind of a 'feminist' watches her husband, the most powerful man in the world, prey on women -- even viciously rape them -- and victimize those women again with smear tactics and harassment? Hillary Rodham Clinton."

Oddly, only one of those WND stories mentions a fact about Jackson that provides a clue as to the slant of her book: She is a former attorney for Judicial Watch, notorious for its avalanche of lawsuits against the Clintons.

A look at the book's chapter on Juanita Broaddrick, which WND reprinted on May 26, offers more clues to Jackson's agenda. It's an account of the alleged rape of Broaddrick by Clinton, and unsurprisingly, highly sympathetic to Broaddrick, which is achieved by downplaying the flaws in Broaddrick's story:

  • Jackson soft-pedals the fact that Broaddrick's credibility is shaken by the fact that she either lied for 20 years, including in legal affidavits in which she denied any sexual contact occurred, or she's lying now.
  • Jackson writes that after the alleged 1979 incident, Broaddrick "she dealt with the governor's office on occasion but not Clinton personally" until 1991. But as Joe Conason and Gene Lyons' "The Hunting of the President" points out (and Jackson doesn't), Broaddrick called the local newspaper in 1990 to request coverage of a visit by Clinton to a nursing home she owned.
  • Jackson fails to point out that Norma Rogers Kelsey, cited as a friend to whom Broaddrick told of the alleged rape at the time, has her own anti-Clinton agenda because while he was governor, Clinton commuted the death sentence of the man who killer her father.
  • Jackson ends the chapter a treatise of how Clinton's liberal politics purportedly "instilled in him a belief that he could justifiably initiate force against a woman if she somehow threatened his ability to impose acceptable values on society."

Advancing factually dubious attacks on the Clintons and disguising the partisan motives of the attackers? Yup, just like old times. But it wouldn't be the ConWeb otherwise.

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