An interesting and generally favorable review
of Sid Blumenthal's new book in the New York Times today:
"Sidney Blumenthal, journalist turned Clintonist, has written a deeply reported, deeply partisan book about his time as a senior White House aide. Scores are settled, both petty and portentous, and the book is being passed around Washington, samizdat-style, so the various players can check the index for their names."
I confess to not understanding the "deeply reported" bit, but the "deeply partisan" seems obvious. Samizdat refers to "The secret publication and distribution of government-banned literature in the former Soviet Union." It's a current political buzzword, and seems poorly applied here. I doubt very much that there's a secret cabal [aren't all cabals secret?--ed
] of Washington insiders passing the book around.
"The book... evokes a dangerous, salacious political epoch that has been obscured by a period of terrorism and war."
Lord only knows how the reviewer thinks the late 1990s were "dangerous". "Salacious" of course is the word that David Kendall used to describe the details of Clinton's sexual activities with the hired help contained in the Starr Report.
I could Fisk the rest of the review, but it's not worth the effort. The reviewer manages to get quotes from people who both like and despise Blumenthal, but his objectivity ends there. About the worst he can say about Blumenthal is that he is partisan. On the other hand, he uses words like "exhaustively annotates", and "to his credit...", "comprehensive", "history will no doubt find Mr Blumenthal's account useful", and similar blather.
More important is this bit noted in passing:
" In the book Mr. Blumenthal takes particular satisfaction that after his own subpoenaed appearance in February 1998 before the independent counsel about his contacts with the press, Mr. Starr's "favorable rating sank to 11 percent, one of the lowest ever recorded for any public figure."
That may have had something to do with the fact that Blumenthal appears to me to have LIED
to the New York Times' Anthony Lewis about some of the questions he was asked in front of the grand jury. Particularly, Lewis reported two questions that Blumenthal was never asked, according to the grand jury transcript: "Does the President's religion include sexual intercourse?" and "Does the President believe that oral sex is sex?".
A hat tip to Drudge for pointing this out on his webpage. The Times is in the middle of a controversy about a lying reporter
, but apparently it has no problems with helping to promote a lying source's book.
Note: I was unable to come up with independent confirmation of the two questions mentioned above, or a complete transcript of Blumenthal's grand jury testimony. In contemporaneous
accounts of Blumenthal's press conference after the testimony, the focus was more on Blumenthal's claim that he had been asked about his contacts with the media. Other sources
have concluded that Blumenthal was at best exaggerating this claim.
Later note: It is not surprising that the media would focus on the aspect of Blumenthal's charges that applied to THEM. The navel-gazing media always think they are the story.