The Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi profiled discredited journalist Ed Klein, who attempts to paint Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as a criminal in his new book, Guilty As Sin. Nuzzi explained that Klein “just makes shit up” and that he “produce[s] colorful narrative fiction with only the smallest connection to reality,” but that his “tall tales are likely to provide fodder for Clinton’s detractors” in the 2016 election.
Klein has a long history of promoting conspiracies about the Clintons, and his work has been labeled “bullshit,” “smut,” “junk journalism,” and “fan fiction” by a wide range of reporters, including many conservatives. Klein’s work -- which consists of outrageous smears about the Clintons (including that Bill Clinton raped Hillary), demonstrably false allegations, and fake quotes -- has been largely ignored in recent years. Despite his poor record, Klein was recently hosted on Fox News’ Fox & Friends to discuss his new book, where previously even co-host Brian Kilmeade had himself called Klein’s work into question. Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has reportedly known Klein for decades, has met with the discredited reporter during the presidential campaign, and according to Nuzzi was “interviewed extensively” for Klein’s book.
In an October 6 article, Nuzzi described Klein’s “journalistic practices”: taking “real people, their titles and roles unchanged,” but “invent[ing] from whole cloth” the substance of their lives to “produce colorful narrative fiction with only the smallest connection to reality.” From the article:
To use Edward Klein’s own journalistic practices when writing about his work is to produce colorful narrative fiction with only the smallest connection to reality—the characters are real people, their titles and roles unchanged, but the content of their personalities, their conversations, and their thoughts invented from whole cloth. Klein’s work is propaganda as fan fiction, published and promoted as the serious nonfiction work of a reporter and editor once employed by Newsweek, Vanity Fair, and The New York Times Magazine—all of which is true, except at some point in the last quarter century, Klein lost his goddamn mind.
He began his career at the New York Daily News, from there became an editor at Newsweek, then left for The New York Times, became the editor of The New York Times Magazine—which won two Pulitzers under his stewardship, from 1977 to 1987—and then, in the mid-1990s, started writing books.
He’s written 11 books advertised as nonfiction, four of them about the Clintons, whom, he told me in a May interview, he began researching around 2003.
In case it’s not overwhelmingly clear already, he does not like the couple very much. But Klein’s political opinions are not the problem with his books or even their defining characteristic—that would be that he just makes shit up, and it’s not even good. Yet in the highly emotional and volatile climate of the 2016 presidential election, Klein’s tall tales are likely to provide fodder for Clinton’s detractors—especially Donald Trump, whom Klein has spent a lot of time with over the years and interviewed extensively for Guilty as Sin.
From the way Klein talks, you’d think he wrote All the President’s Men, not a gossipy trilogy about the muumuu-loving Democratic nominee sexually harassing her female underling and escaping the law yet again. [The Daily Beast, 10/6/16]