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The New York Times and Janelle Brown owe me a correction

In an article about Mickey Kaus's quixotic Senate candidacy, Janelle Brown writes that I "loathe" Kaus. I don't. I find his apparent interest in me puzzling, but that's about all the thought I give to the matter. Moreover, Brown didn't contact me for the article and I can't remember the last time I wrote about Kaus, so it's hard to see what evidence underpins her description of my emotions towards the man. This is sloppy, sloppy journalism, and the Times owes me a correction.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 5, 2010; 1:17 PM ET
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Well, Mickey Kaus loathes Ezra Klein, and that's close enough for the Times.

Posted by: Hopeful9 | June 5, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Correct to "contemn?"

"Just so folks are clear, this isn't the first time Mickey Kaus has fastened on an unproven, and likely untrue, story about a Democrat's infidelity and hyped it to high heaven. Anyone remember Alexandra Polier, John Kerry's supposed illicit lover? Kaus had a helluva time with that one, even dredging up six-year-old Boston Herald gossip column articles on women seen in the general vicinity of Kerry. Indeed, long after it was proven false, Kaus was still shaking the tree, trying to use the story not for evidence of Kerry's illicit trysts, but for simple, vague insinuation."
Posted by Ezra Klein on October 14, 2007 9:04 PM

"That's what's so fundamentally unimpressive about writers like Kaus. Their ideology is underpinned by a grudge, not a belief system. It's aesthetic, characterological, and above all, personal. They hate unions and so they worry about productivity costs, loathe Jesse Jackson and so can't think seriously think about racial justice. Kaus doesn't like me and so I am far left, he does like Jon and so Jon is the future. The substance is immaterial. Neoliberalism was, for some of these folks, an attitude first and an ideology second. In recent years, Kaus has become an embarrassingly public exhibition of that prioritization scheme."
Posted by Ezra Klein on March 16, 2007 12:01 PM |

Posted by: marksjo1 | June 5, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Sloppy 'journalism'? Redundancy?

Hold your breath, bubba, correction on the way.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | June 5, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

marksjo1 may have a provided some evidence that Ezra Klein isn't a fan of Kaus, but I still don't see where "loathe" comes in. And I'll be damned if that second quote he lists doesn't just describe Kaus perfectly.

Posted by: hazelrah | June 5, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Hi, this is Janelle Brown. I was talking about a *different* Ezra Klein. You don't know him. Nobody does. But he exists. [Walks out of house without pants]

Posted by: tannerjufe | June 5, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse


nevermind this distraction.

I want more oil gusher analysis.

For example, why won't the GOP criticize BP? Why is deep ocean drilling continuing despite the moratorium? Why weren't lead shot and rebar used during the top kill instead of buoyant golf balls and rubber? Why doesn't Obama declare this well will be closed and cemented even if BP somehow manages to save it? Is it true Obama knew of the bleak outlook early on? Why won't they use giant vice grips to crimp and clamp the riser pipe?

The oil gusher is the event of this decade so please cover it more and root out the rats.

Posted by: Lomillialor | June 5, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The only thing that makes me question the legitimacy of that claim is the fact that the supporters claims were linked, while yours were not.

All the searches I ran turned up opinions that are at least a couple years old, but none of them were kind (from either side).

Therefore I think that you should be complaining about not being linked to... but that despite how old your opinions are or if you forgot of his existence, they are supportable.

Posted by: akusu | June 5, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I'll have more to say on this later, but a handful of posts from 2007 rebutting his criticisms of me and his hyping of various national enquirer stories hardly proves that I "loathe" the man.

Posted by: Ezra Klein | June 5, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

--"This is sloppy, sloppy journalism"--

Just the thing for a government subsidy, eh?

Posted by: msoja | June 5, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I can just see the NY Times correction:

"[boiler plate] we incorrectly stated that Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein 'loathes' Mickey Kaus."

The NY Times reporters work is definitely crap. But in the scheme of things this is pretty small peanuts. Outside of a circle of perhaps 10 people, does anyone really care what Brown thinks Klein thinks about Kaus?

I can just see Brown putting the "loathes" bit into the column realizing that stirring the pot might generate traffic. T

Posted by: JPRS | June 5, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

"I'll have more to say on this later"
---Ezra Klein

Spare us, Mr K. You've told us, we listened politely, we responded, and now we're moving on.

The classy thing would be for you to do the same. Anything would fall under the category of 'doth protest too much.'

Posted by: MsJS | June 5, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

marksjo1 proves Ezra Klein's point. Over a few years, Klein has critiqued Kaus for being a think-skinned writer who rewards people for kissing his expansive posterior.

The people who are taking Kaus' side here, like MsJS, either deliberately or inadvertently declare that Ezra Klein should not be concerned with his reputation and being characterized correctly.

These are not small issues, MsJS. Kaus and his hagiographers can neutralize accurate criticism of Kaus by portraying anyone who does not fall in line with Kaus as a person "who loathes Kaus".

This is exactly the behaviour right wingers thrive on, a combination of Big Lie Propaganda and Evangelical Self Pity.

I am with Ezra Klein on this and it pains me to see how sloppily the Times reports since the Times is one of the few remaining voices we turn to for accuracy.

The Times just keeps sliding into Judith Miller Territory where any truth they report is accidental because the Times Reporter forgot to make something up and inadvertently reported something accurately.

It is a pity and the Times Ombudsman disgraced himself falling over Andrew Breitbart and the fake kiddy pretend reporter little jimmy o'keefe, so don't hold your breath waiting for the Times to care about its integrity. It is as eager to please the MsJS and other right wing fanatics as the paper that used to be the Washington Post and now is a neo-con Journal dedicated to defending Israel First.

Posted by: thomasjoyce | June 5, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

thomasjoyce, where in my comment did I say I am taking Mr. Kaus's, or anyone's, side?

For the record, I regard Mr. Kaus as being pretty silly at best. And I find the NYT is often more arrogant than informative. My personal views, no one has to agree with me.

I fully agree Mr. Klein is entitled to guard his reputation. He has made his request of the Times and made clear his feelings about Mr. Kaus. Now it's time for him to be classy and take the high road.

My point is that any more public commentary by Mr. Klein is apt to backfire. If he says he doesn't invest much personal energy in Mr. Kaus, positive or negative, then he should be willing to walk his talk and remain silent about him until either the NYT or Mr. Kaus responds.

How you've lumped me with 'right wing fanatics' on the basis of my one comment is curious. Obviously, you're free to disagree with my approach, but the insults should be saved until you can insult me properly. Or not, as I don't take them very seriously anyway.

Posted by: MsJS | June 5, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Oh, hell, Ezra, everybody loathes Kaus, even his supporter.

Posted by: callingalltoasters | June 5, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Ezra, stop googling yourself.

Posted by: goadri | June 5, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Better yet, just admit that you wanted to be the interesting blogger that the NYTimes was writing about.

Posted by: goadri | June 5, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

"I find his apparent interest in me puzzling, but that's about all the thought I give to the matter. "

If that's all the thought you give the matter, then don't _tell_ people that's all the thought you give the matter. That sounds like "except now, when I'm thinking about it, because it really bothers me, and I need to blog about it now, but I don't want people to know how much it bothers me, so I'll go pish-posh, this old thing?"

Which is not to say that's your position (I'm sure that is all the thought you give the matter), just to point out that when people feel obligated to say "that's all the thought I give the matter", it almost never sounds like that's actually all the thought they give the matter, even if it is.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | June 5, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

This *is* worth following up (concisely).

It is just when reporters report on something you personally know about that their reliability is best tested (and so often found wanting).

Also "loathe" and such cheap labels are very damaging, especially to someone like Klein who is notably lacking (so far as I can see) in just this sort of pointless and destructive (to the argument) emoting and name-calling that increasingly dominates public discussion. (e.g. Jon Stewart's antics, despite the fact I strongly agree with most of his attitudes, are fundamentally harmful to public debate when taken as serious contributions rather than playful sidelights)

Posted by: johnsalmond | June 5, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

--"since the Times is one of the few remaining voices we turn to for accuracy."--

LOL. What are you smoking?

Read dumb Mickey Kaus on the occasion of the Van Jones resignation, when the New York Times was forced to record that he was out, after weeks of not reporting that there was any controvery (Kaus also links to Maguire noting the same thing about the Times and Eason Jordan.)

And that's by no means a one off.

And other perfidies are legion.

Posted by: msoja | June 5, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

I agree it isn't petty to take issue with this. Indeed, to 'loathe' someone for petty reasons is, in fact, a terrible (and common) character defect worth avoiding. Thinking he has rotten brain meat is a wholly different matter.

Though, google Mickey Kaus...I think you'll find the predictive text suggests many people loathe him...

Posted by: ThomasEN | June 6, 2010 1:04 AM | Report abuse

you are right to defend your word and your name.

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.
~~~~William Shakespeare

Posted by: jkaren | June 6, 2010 2:57 AM | Report abuse

Well, I'll say it for you: Mickey Kaus is a jackass. But if anything, quoting you on Kaus can only flatter Kaus. Nobody even bothers paying attention to Kaus anymore, as you haven't in three years.

Posted by: csdiego | June 6, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

"Oh, hell, Ezra, everybody loathes Kaus, even his supporter."

The goats love him! (But only after the fifth b-a-a-a-a-eer.)

Posted by: diesoonwapodiesoon | June 6, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Believe Mickey Kaus' interest in Mr. Klein's policy prescriptions happened because Mr. Klein's whiz kid ideas invariably involve catering to Democratic Party rent seekers (e.g., teacher and auto worker unions), the spending of trillions of dollars we don't have, and the writing of thousands of pages of new federal laws and regs.

While both of them supported healthcare "reform," Mr. Kaus freely acknowledged the CBO numbers were based on phony assumptions and incredibly rosy scenarios. Apparently calling Mr. Klein on that issue was also a no-no to many of Mr. Klein's readers.

Posted by: ElmerStoup | June 6, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

How Can You Tell When A Lawyer's Lying to the American People on the Anniversary of D-Day ?

NY Times today-

"In his weekly radio address broadcast Saturday, President Obama emphasized that the federal government had “mobilized on every front” to contain and clean up the oil spill, and called attention to the plight of some of the shrimpers and oystermen he met while visiting the Louisiana coast on Friday."

AP Today-
"With no oil response workers on Louisiana's Queen Bess Island, Plaquemines Parish coastal zone management director P.J. Hahn decided he could wait no longer, pulling an exhausted brown pelican from the oil, slime dripping from its wings.

"We're in the sixth week, you'd think there would be a flotilla of people out here," Hahn said. "As you can see, we're so far behind the curve in this thing."
At the mouth of Alabama's Mobile Bay, hundreds of seagulls squawked on a beach dotted with countless small tar balls but not a cleanup crew in sight.

Posted by: thecannula | June 6, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I think this has as much to do with NYT vs. WaPo as it does Kaus vs. Klein. Calling Ezra a "Democrat" and not a "journalist" or even a "left-leaning blogger" reinforces the kind of cluelessness that leaves NYT without an important online presence except Krugman's blog, as the WaPo steals online readers like me who used to subscribe to the paper copy of the NYT. And the substance of the "loath" claim has been thoroughly disproven, which shows the Times has to keep stretching their "standards" to allow them to present their internal agenda as they did in this instance.

Posted by: michaelh81 | June 6, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

In the second paragraph, she describes Kaus as a "prolific blogger". I don't know how you could describe his blogging as 'prolific'. He posted so infrequently it was practically a biweekly column.

Also he drinks non-alcoholic beer, which is sad.

Posted by: AB14 | June 6, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Hysterical to see Klein pouting like a 13-year-old girl.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | June 6, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Hey, WashingtonDame, get that Kaus cock out of your mouth!

Posted by: dailykos2 | June 6, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Mickey Kaus just envies people who actually make some sort of contribution to society. I wouldn't take it personally.

Posted by: slag | June 6, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

WashingtonDame is a goat?

I still believe this is key to understanding the policy priorities of Mickey Kaus: he had a bad romantic experience with a Latina union organizer. Explains about 80% of his material.

Posted by: zimbar | June 6, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Everyone knows Kaus is just bitter about not getting an invite to Ezra and Matt's mailing list.

Posted by: eleander | June 6, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

You of course don't want to speculate on why someone "really" did something. But my guess is that Janelle Brown's home is being foreclosed on. Foreclosures generate an enormous amount of misery and anxiety and depression that can tip people into all sorts of behaviors, including shoddy journalism.

I also guess that Janelle Brown will post a follow-up story where she'll pretend that she didn't write what she wrote in the first story.

Posted by: kleefest | June 7, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

While it was probably a bit much to say that Ezra "loathes" Kaus, it would have made sense to say that he's "clashed with Kaus in the past." If the two have clashed, does that mean--in the logic of the story as originally published--that they've "knocked boots"? Just asking.

Posted by: TomPhilpott | June 7, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

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