Sunday, December 31, 2006

Joke of 2007

Those who love their 'nonfiction' books smutty and fact free should run to the book stores August 28th. The rest of us should just howl with laughter.

That's the day Little Brown and Company will release Her Way : The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton. The 400-plus page book (picked up by John Murray Publishing in some foreign outlets) is scribbled by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr.

Gerth is of course most famous these days for the destruction his 'reporting' caused Wen Ho Lee. Only the most deluded would refer to Gerth as a "reporter." He and Van Natta Jr. share lodging at The New York Times and they were both once singled out by a judge.

It wasn't a badges of honor or lollypops Judge Norma Holloway Johnson was handing out in November 1998. No, she was singling them out as go-to-boys for Ken Starr and company when they wanted to leak grand jury testimony.

Gerth goes back even further, having been the original idiot who inflated Whitewater into a national frenzy because reporting was just too hard for the scribbler. As Gene Lyons explains in Fools For Scandal, Gerth's big source (described by Gerth as "stable, careful and calm") was a man who had two years prior used the insanity plea in a bank fraud case.

That wacky Jeff Gerth.

You just know his latest opus will tax every bit of creative energy he has in him. And you just know Bob Somerby's going to be begging that's a slow news week so he can highlight each and every mistake, falsehood and lie (well, many, no one could highlight each and every) in the book.

But after you finish laughing, grasp that the jokes on you -- Gerth's still employed at The New York Times. (Remember, they only fire women.)
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