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Ezra Klein: Photo Credit: WikiCommons

I had a story yesterday at the New York Observer titled “This Election Has Disgraced the Entire Profession of Journalism,” which compiled some of the most embarrassing moments of campaign reporting revealed by the Podesta Leaks. There was a lot of competition but I think the absolute worst was Politico‘s Glenn Thrush sending Podesta an email saying, “I have become a hack I will send u the whole section that pertains to u. Please don’t share or tell anyone I did this Tell me if I fucked up anything.”

Now Washington Babylon is looking to compile a Top Five list of the campaign’s worst stories and encourages readers to send submissions. To qualify, a story has to be completely misleading or dishonest  — a Kurt Eichenwald specialty — or just an especially cringeworthy piece of partisan hackery.

Into that latter category falls just about everything Clinton Surrogate Ezra Klein of Vox has written on behalf of the Hillary’s campaign in 2016. But I’m pretty sure this recent story — “Tim Kaine’s feminism: The way Tim Kaine wants to model masculinity is as far from Trump as you can imagine” — finds Klein at his personal rock bottom. The whole article sounds like an essay a college freshmen would read aloud in a desperate effort to get laid.

Here’s the lede:

David Axelrod’s podcast conversation with Tim Kaine is worth listening to in full, but the part that struck me was Kaine’s riff on what it would mean to be the first man to serve as vice president to a woman president. Kaine argues that that, too, is a historic and important first, and he feels the weight of being an example to others…I remember thinking, “Wow, I’m going to have the chance now to not be the top of the ticket. I’m going to be a strong man supporting the first strong woman to be president of the United States.” And as important as it is to normalize that a woman can be president, it’s also important to normalize that strong men can support a woman as president.

This is an investigative piece for Klein. Not only does he listen to a whole podcast by Axelrod but he also reads a New Yorker story and quotes from it lavishly and then comes up with a list of contrasts between Trump and Kaine. For example, “Trump is unusually non-religious for a major American politician and has a notably louche personal life.”

Louche? Klein sounds like a moralizing, priggish retiree in Nebraska. Meanwhile, of course, he totally overlooks Kaine’s very dubious record on women’s rights. Even the pro-Clinton outlet Slate ran a critical story on Kaine saying that his choice “Is Testing Feminists’ Loyalty.” [Usual disclosure: Yes, Trump’s views on women are vile. Happy to consider stories promoting him as a feminist stalwart.]

Anyway, we need your submissions by Monday morning and will announce the winner on Election Day.

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  • Michael Sidro Fantauzzo

    Idea that Trump is non-religious fails to grasp the nature of American Christian fundamentalism. He follows a uniquely American capitalist prosperity gospel ideology, and authoritarian evangelicals are willing to forgive his sins so long as he satisfies their shibboleths about abortion etc. So long as he supports Christian supremacy, it matters little his personal faults–we’re all sinners–and the polling bears out that this base is all in for him. Even if you don’t think he’s following the tenets of Christianity (how could someone read Christ as unwelcoming to immigrants & outsiders is an eternal question), the religious groundwork lays the stage for an authoritarian leader who panders to these dogmas, and the eschatological implications of a Trump regime only sweeten the deal.

  • Zeke Schrempf

    All of Jamelle Bouie’s ouevre for Slate.

  • dhenwood
  • DrOph

    This year has not yet come to an end. The worst, is always just around the corner.

  • BillMilligan

    I have a feeling all top five will be coming in the next 24 hours. What I’ve seen today in the “alternative media” that people are actually believing about both Trump and Clinton is little more than mass psychosis. It’s getting worse by the hour.

    In terms of actual, verifiable news — anything about Maria Abramovich and “spirit cooking”, and the horrified outrage that has come out of something that is at best really bad performance art and at worst, superstitious quackery at the hands of the bored and/or psychologically unglued. And that description does double duty for Podesta, his brother, and Abramovich as well as the bible beaters who take it seriously the other direction.

    By the way, your article in the Observer was the finest piece of analysis I’ve seen in a long time. You’ve got a new fan here. Kudos.