Ed Klein is a hack, a conspiracy theorist and a fraud. The one-time editor of the New York Times Magazine is spending the 2016 election cycle energetically rolling about in the gutter as he plies his signature trade: making up shit about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He apparently has a new book coming out about Hillary, and the New York Post has republished some of its more exciting fictions, which are slowly trickling through the rest of the conservative media.
Before we get to Klein’s latest, let’s set the table by running through a quick recap of his most recent “scoops." Last summer he published a bombshell report that Hillary Clinton, while secretary of state, had been briefed on the Benghazi mortar attack before the attack actually happened. He had exclusive details about a nasty conversation Clinton had about Obama (“You can’t trust that motherfucker”) while totally bombed on fine wines served to her by a nonexistent French restaurateur. And just a few days ago he dropped a major campaign 2016 exclusive: Barack Obama has a secret plan to force Joe Biden to run for president with a black running mate.
All of these hot scoops are based on anonymous “sources” who always happen to be present when the most powerful people in the country cook up their various schemes and conspiracies, and who then provide verbatim details of those highly scandalous conversations exclusively to Ed Klein.
Anyway, here’s the New York Post giving Klein’s account – once again gleaned from “sources” – of a “conversation” between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama about a topic that is in the news these days: the Justice Department investigation into Clinton’s email system.
“What I want for you to do is call off your f–king dogs, Barack!” Clinton allegedly barked at Obama, according to Klein’s account, which cited sources close to Clinton and Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.
The president was so stunned by Clinton’s disrespectful demands, he needed a moment to compose himself, the book claims.
Obama then responded, “There is nothing I can do for you one way or another. Things have been set in motion, and I can’t and won’t interfere. Your problems are, frankly, of your own making. If you had been honest . . .”
Klein reports Clinton interrupted, “There are always haters out there to get the Clintons.”
I don’t know what happened next, but I imagine Clinton shook her fist and said “I’ll get you for this, Barack,” then threw a smoke bomb and leaped through the window to catch a rope ladder being dangled from a helicopter flown by Lanny Davis.
Real human beings don’t talk this way. Most of the fake human beings on TV don’t talk this way. But if you were imagining a dialogue between these two prominent Democrats that reflects the worst right-wing caricatures of Hillary Clinton as a corrupt and self-absorbed harridan, it would probably look something like this. In the same vein, if you believe that Barack Obama is a power-mad schemer who views everything through a racial lens, a convoluted plot to force Biden to pick a black running mate might seem reasonable.
Klein is quite obviously inventing all of this, and he’s aiming this dreck at the conservatives who believe these stereotypes and are looking for something to confirm their bias. He knows that whatever he “reports” about the Clintons will be picked up and disseminated by the conservative media. And he knows that the conservative book publishing industry is a lucrative scam that values salaciousness and bile over intellectual rigor.
Maybe I'm being too harsh, or too quick to jump to conclusions. Perhaps it’s possible that Obama and Clinton have a nakedly adversarial relationship that impels them to antagonize each other with dramatic clichés. Perhaps Hillary is the sort of person who refers to herself and her family in the third person and reacts to an upbraiding from the president of the United States by calling him a “hater.” Of course, if these things are accurate, it has to strike you as a little odd that Ed Klein is the only “journalist” in the country who is privy to these secret and nefarious sides of these very public figures.