Silly Fight of the Week: Joe Klein vs. The Kossacks

Poor Joe Klein. He is basically right on the substance of the issue in his original column but messes up his defense leaving himself at the mercy of the Kossacks.

Along with Klein, I had also disagreed with Kos in his criticism of Obama in this post. While I considered Kos’s attack on Obama to be unfair, Kos later responded that he was responding to one particular AP interview. Kos’s case was stronger if limited to his entire interview, but I also considered this somewhat unfair to Obama as his position was far clearer when other interviews were considered, including an interview on CNN the same day as Kos’s attack. If Obama is to be criticized for his views on Iraq, his views as expressed in all his statements should be considered rather than limiting to a single interview.

Klein did make a minor mistake in including a quote from Obama which wasn’t in the specific interview Kos was referring to. I’m surprised that Klein didn’t respond by noting the problem of Kos attacking Obama for a specific interview without considering other statements made the same day as Kos’s post attacking him. By concentrating his reply with the implication that part of Obama’s statement came “later,” as opposed to the same day, Klein leaves himself open to a greater perception that he was inaccurate and unfair to Kos than was actually the case.
This is all quite trivial, and a situation where neither side is completely right. I wouldn’t have even bothered to comment if I hadn’t come across yet another comment on this from David Sirota accusing Klein of libel in this case which takes this to the point of absurdity.

I have had a number of posts on Joe Klein’s use of strawmen to attack the liberal blogosphere (here, here, and here). This does not mean that Klein is always wrong and liberal bloggers are always right. The overreaction to Klein’s justified criticism of Kos, even if incorrect on a minor detail, ultimately provides Klein with more ammunition in his criticism of the net roots.

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