Times columnist and sensitive liberal Joe Klein actually said this about Charles Krauthammer:
"He became Ground Zero among the neo-cons, but he's vastly smarter than most of them," said Time's Joe Klein, an admirer and critic who praised Krauthammer's "writing skills and polemical skills" as "so far above almost anybody writing columns today."
"There's something tragic about him too," Klein said, referring to Krauthammer's confinement to a wheelchair, the result of a diving accident during his first year of medical school. "His work would have a lot more nuance if he were able to see the situations he's writing about."
Hire the handicapped, then keep them in their place. Well, Klein's work would have a lot more nuance if his head weren't so far up Obama's... ahh, let's just say Klein is covering the story of Obama's hair from the inside. And speaking of Obama, birds of a feather.
Well, that is enough from me - let me wave in Jon Chait to argue the merits of what he famously described as "ass welt journalism":
Conveniently enough, I've developed a theory justifying my opposition
to convention reporting. Here it is: Reporting as a whole, while
obviously necessary, is overrated. The mania over attending news-free
conventions merely epitomizes a mentality that values going places and
talking to people above all else. This prevalent ethos was expressed in
the ur-journalism movie All The President's Men. Protesting the assignment of the Watergate story to young city-desk reporters, a Washington Post
editor notes, "I have some experienced guys sitting around," prompting
a devastating rebuke from his fellow editor: "You said it--sitting
But what's so bad about sitting around? You can learn a lot sitting behind a desk, mining the papers for interesting factual nuggets, reading political commentary from every perspective, poring through books and reports, and using the Nexis database to compile enormous stacks of newspaper stories. Most journalists scorn this kind of research because they're obsessed with uncovering new facts, not synthesizing them.
... Part of the problem is that journalism terminology glorifies "shoe-leather reporting," whereby you pound the pavement so often you wear out the soles of your shoes. Yet there's no widely used term of approbation for the other kind of reporting. For this very reason, my New Republic colleague Franklin Foer and I decided a few years ago to coin a phrase: ass-welt reporting. It means you've sat in your chair for so long reading books and documents that you've worn a welt the shape of your backside into your chair. I'm not saying that every news story could be reported without leaving one's desk. (Bernstein: "Woodward, look! I found a clip from 1971 in which President Nixon tells the Omaha World-Herald he plans to order his goons to break into Democratic headquarters in the Watergate Hotel!" Woodward: "I'll cancel that meeting with Deep Throat.") I'm simply saying that, sometimes, laziness can be the better part of valor.
GOOD POINT: One can only imagine how great a President FDR would have been if he had managed a bit more nuance.
GRACELESS AND GUTLESS: Joe Klein responds:
The usual neoconservative malingerers have been hammering me about a quote I gave to Politico, regarding Charles Krauthammer's limitations as a columnist.
Klein does not actually excerpt his own offensive quote; his link is to the first page of the Politico article, but he does not appear until the second page. Courage!
Obviously, I didn't mean to imply second-class status for disabled people. On the contrary, the distance and perspective that comes with physical deficits often leads to enhanced insight and abilities. The greatest President of the past 150 140 years--(Thanks, commenter flownover!)-- sat in a wheelchair.
Regardless of what he meant to imply, we can all read what he said. Klein offers this ironic gem, without irony:
So it is possible to write brilliant, nuanced commentary—on the war in Iraq, for example—without visiting there.
Klein had better think so - his candidate formulated an entire peace plan for Iraq and Afghanistan prior to his first visit. That said, this next bit may explain Obama's retreat from his "Retreat At Any Cost" approach that won raves during the Democratic nominating process:
But it sure does help to understand a complicated situation in an unfamiliar culture if you can see it for yourself. Indeed, I believe the leavening effects of direct experience are especially valuable for those who are blinkered by ideology and debilitated by extreme views.
"Debilitated"? I suppose it is better than "crippled by extreme views", but not much.
Let's include the timeless "I'm sorry if you were upset" apology:
Still, it seems clear that my remark could be construed by some as insensitive—and if I have caused any discomfort to any disabled person, I apologize sincerely.
Construed by "some"? And is it only disabled persons that have legitimate grounds for offense? Just for starters, what about people with a disabled friend, relative, or colleague? What about people who have worked hard for the equal treatment of the handicapped - have they no right to an apology?
What a classless buffoon. TIME ought to sentence him to covering Joe Biden.