Here's what's wrong with the American press: It's Friday and Joe Klein still has a job. Klein has pathetically attempted to defend himself in HuffPo from the wave of outrage over his recent remark about progressive Democrats - that is, that there is a "hate America tendency of the [Democratic Party's] left wing." Somehow Klein thinks it's less offensive that he said "left wing" instead of "liberal wing" (I guess because his job title at TIME is still "liberal columnist.")
It's a vile and baseless comment. As one who might be considered a member of that "left" wing, I'm deeply offended. Anyone who wants to stand in front of this country-music-playing American and challenge his love for the United States is going to get his ass kicked - Klein included.
(And, Dear Joe: Why is it that Michael Moore's distress over US foreign policy is proof that he 'hates America' - but Grover Norquist's desire to drown its government in a bathtub isn't?)
Klein purports to be a journalist. Do the right thing as a journalist, Joe: Provide names, dates, and quotes from 'left wing Democrats' about hating America, to substantiate your inflammatory charge - or issue an immediate and unequivocal apology.
Your humble regrets should be accompanied by a heartfelt discussion of how you've fallen into the media pundit's trap of making shameful and fatuous allegations about people who lack the viciousness or clout to harm your career if you cross them.
If you can't provides names and quotes, the conclusion becomes inevitable: you, Joe Klein, are profoundly full of shit. And if you don't apologize, your resignation letter should be on the desk of Time's editor-in-chief by close of business today - and it should be promptly accepted. In fact, you should resign either way. Your credibility is shot.
If a TIME columnist were to discuss the "enslave-colored-people tendency of the Republican Party's right wing," his resignation or firing would be immediate. Klein's remark is no less offensive, and his termination should be swift and irreversible.
And over at Slate, Jacob Wiesberg was so desperate to keep the media's beloved "McCain Is a Maverick" trope alive this week that he played a hilarious game of Twister with himself. Read it and chuckle.
Here's a choice excerpt: "McCain was not always the moderate, tolerant character I'm describing. He was a conservative before he was a liberal before he became a conservative again." I guess it's possible Weisberg's trying to be cute with that line, but it's hard to tell. If he is, it's because he's understandably embarrassed by the contortions he's going through trying to paint the dependably right-wing McCain as a moderate.
Either way, it's time to cue the laugh track.
My recommendation for the weekend: Sit down in front of the TV and have a good long, Good Friday.
Follow Richard (RJ) Eskow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rjeskow