The Truth About ’The Truth About Hillary’: Edward Klein’s Attack Book is Poorly Researched, Poorly Written, Poorly Sourced, Says Media Matters for America
WASHINGTON, June 23 -- Edward Klein’s attack book on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), The Truth About Hillary, appeared in bookstores this week, having already taken serious hits for peddling unsubstantiated sexual innuendo and outright fabrications.
A Media Matters for America examination of The Truth About Hillary finds that Klein recycles long-debunked claims about the Clintons; relies on anonymous sources for much that isn’t recycled -- more than 70 footnotes refer to unnamed sources; and is chock-full of misleading claims and outright factual errors. It’s also marked by a juvenile obsession with sex and a reliance on “convenient rather than complete evidence” that are rapidly becoming the author’s trademark.
Klein’s anonymous sources run from the mundane (he footnotes an interview with “anonymous expert on campaign and finance laws” for a quote explaining how Clinton can raise money for other candidates -- a quote Klein could probably have found dozens of experts to say on the record) to the offensive (Klein writes a chapter about Bill Clinton raping Hillary Clinton, resulting in Chelsea Clinton’s conception -- all based on a single “anonymous source who was with the Clintons in Bermuda.”)
The text of the book itself tends toward sweeping conclusions with little evidence; Klein favors quick, negative descriptions of people, without evidence or examples to back them up, such as his early reference to Bill Clinton as “careless and corrupt.” And he makes ridiculous attempts at folksiness throughout the book. Once he mentions a person’s nickname, he often refers to that person by the nickname -- so Nancy Pietrafesa (whose name is misspelled in the book) is quoted as “Peach”; Dolly Kyle Browning as “Dolly.” The reader is treated to more than 15 references to Hillary Clinton as “the Big Girl,” as in, “Some of the staff felt that the Big Girl’s extreme suspicion of people and their motives bordered on paranoia” and “The Big Girl and the President took breakfast in the kitchen” and, best of all, “The Big Girl blew her nose.”
Klein’s references to Peach and Dolly and the Big Girl are so distracting that one begins to suspect misdirection -- an attempt to dull the mind to the many factual errors, distortions, and misleading claims sprinkled throughout the book. But they are there, and they are unmistakable:
-- Klein repeats long-debunked claims about Los Angeles air traffic being delayed while President Clinton got a haircut.
-- He falsely claims that Hillary Clinton spoke of her Jewish relatives only after controversy arose over her hug of Suha Arafat (Klein reversed the true order of the events).
-- He falsely claims the $25 million Clinton planned in 1999 to raise for her Senate campaign would be an “unprecedented” amount, ignoring the fact that another candidate had raised more than that for a Senate election held the previous year in the very same state.
-- Klein falsely claims that Rick Lazio, Clinton’s Republican opponent in 2000 for a New York Senate seat, sent out no direct campaign mail.
-- He falsely claims that Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) couldn’t bring himself to say Hillary’s name in introducing her at her campaign announcement.
-- He falsely accuses Moynihan of giving a long and rambling description of hay-cutting that, in fact, lasted all of 29 words.
-- Klein falsely accuses Clinton of ignoring Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) during a speech to teachers in support of his presidential campaign.
-- He falsely accuses her of not wanting Kerry to win and of spending her time in states such as South Dakota, in which Kerry had very little chance (she hasn’t been to South Dakota in years) ... and on, and on, and on.
Please visit http://mediamatters.org/items/200506230001 to view the chart that compares excerpts from The Truth About Hillary with the truth about the book; excerpts are listed in the order in which they appear in the book. With a volume this flawed, no catalogue of errors, omissions, distortions, logical contortions, contradictions, and smears can ever be complete, so this is only a start.
Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Media Matters for America is the first organization to systematically monitor the media for conservative misinformation every day, in real time. For more information, visit http://www.mediamatters.org.
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