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Ed Driscoll

Jonathan Klein Giveth And Taketh Away–Updated

March 5th, 2009 - 12:40 pm

As longtime readers of the Blogosphere will remember, CNN president Jonathan Klein is the man who inadvertently inspired PJ Media’s name, in the midst of his defense of former employee Dan Rather in September of 2004, as John Fund wrote at the time:

A watershed media moment occurred Friday on Fox News Channel, when Jonathan Klein, a former executive vice president of CBS News who oversaw “60 Minutes,” debated Stephen Hayes, a writer for The Weekly Standard, on the documents CBS used to raise questions about George W. Bush’s Vietnam-era National Guard service.

Mr. Klein dismissed the bloggers who are raising questions about the authenticity of the memos: “You couldn’t have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of check and balances [at '60 Minutes'] and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing.”

He will regret that snide disparagement of the bloggers, many of whom are skilled lawyers or have backgrounds in military intelligence or typeface design. A growing number of design and document experts say they are certain or almost certain the memos on which CBS relied are forgeries.

Mr. Klein didn’t directly address the mounting objections to CBS’s story. He fell back on what high school debaters call the appeal to authority, implying that the reputation of “60 Minutes” should be enough to dissolve doubts without the network sharing its methods with other journalists and experts. He told Fox’s Tony Snow that the “60 Minutes” team is “the most careful news organization, certainly on television.” He said that Mary Mapes, the producer of the story, was “a crack journalist” who had broken the Abu Ghraib prison abuse story.

And as Tim Graham writes at Newsbusters, shortly after Klein first arrived at CNN, he canceled CNN’s 22-year old Crossfire show “because he agreed with liberal comedian Jon Stewart that this harsh partisan head-butting was ‘hurting” America.’”

But CNN hosts calling Republicans Nazis? Hey, have at it!

As Limbaugh-bashing networks like CNN and MSNBC continue to play up a Rush vs. Michael Steele feud, the diversionary tactic isn’t just keeping people away from focusing on Barack Obama. It also prevents a focus on CNN host D.L. Hughley’s inflammatory statement that the GOP convention “looked like Nazi Germany,” and the man who put Hughley on the air – CNN president Jonathan Klein.

Klein is the man who killed Crossfire after 22 years in 2005 because he agreed with liberal comedian Jon Stewart that this harsh partisan head-butting was “hurting” America. Four years later, wild talk about Nazi conservatives is okay with CNN’s boss: he told the AP last fall that Hughley was given the instructions “Anything goes!”

On October 16, 2008, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Klein hired Hughley because he was “well-informed,” deeply knowledgeable about the world (does that fit equating an American political convention to Nazi Germany?)

Well, let’s face it–even though CNN appears to be becoming more and more like MSNBC every day, not every cable TV host can get his degree at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. And it’s actually not all that surprising that somebody hired to be hip and fresh should employ one of the most shopworn of political cliches. Particularly in an era when guys in their pajamas do the job that old media used to at least hold themselves out as doing, and Liberal is the New Tory.

Update: Speaking of Klein taketh away, “CNN’s D. L. Hughley Ends Show, Days After He Called Republicans Nazis”–but according to CNN’s press release, the network remains “eager to continue our relationship with D.L., who is a tremendous talent and a valued colleague.”

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