Rep. Harman: An Explanation Is In Order, To Your Constituents

I have been a somewhat lonely defender of both Jane Harman and Joe Klein of late, finding that Rep. Harman has been quite good in her votes and statements since she engaged the blogs a year ago in the face of a strong primary challenge from the invaluable Marcy Winograd, and that Klein had improved greatly since he began blogging at Swampland.

Now, apparently, Harman had a conversation with Klein before the Iraq Supplemental vote and Harman indicated to Klein that she was going to vote for it. Apparently, Harman changed her mind as she voted against it. Klein wrote a blog post not knowing Harman changed her mind, and held her up as an example of what he preferred from Dems on the Iraq Supplemental, a vote for it, and criticized Sens. Clinton and Obama for voting against it. Obviously, I think Joe was wrong on the merits. But so what. Joe is wrong in a lot of opinions. That he got the facts wrong is the problem here. But he corrected it, though not in a timely nor gracious way. But the strangest thing is the upshot, where Rep. Harman apologizes for not telling Klein she changed her mind.

This makes them both look quite bad in my opinion. That Klein thinks he is entitled to be told how Rep. Harman is going to vote or that she changed her mind on a vote AND that Rep. Harman agrees with him has left me scratching my head. What in blazes are they thinking? Harman owes Klein nothing. What she DOES owe is an explanation to her constituents for her very unwise words to Klein prior to her vote. They completely contradict the press release she sent out announcing her no vote. Rep. Harman, you are not being truthful in one of these accounts. Your message to Klein is extremely troubling, though Klein seems entirely pleased with it. Of course, his self centeredness is at the heart of that, you genuflected to him. But you actually owe your constituents an explanation. Joe Klein did some bad reporting. He is owed no explanations.

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    I agree that Harman owes us an explanation for her (none / 0) (#1)
    by jerry on Sat May 26, 2007 at 05:46:25 PM EST
    vote, press release, and apparent change of mind.

    I can see that if she or her spokesperson gave Klein the go ahead with the quote he used, that she can be gracious and apologize to him by not alerting him to that change of vote.

    I think Digby nailed the reason for her change of heart.  It would be good to have Harman address the issue.

    Bacevitch quote found at Digby (none / 0) (#2)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat May 26, 2007 at 06:20:25 PM EST
    I had not seen that quote from Bacevitch about some jerks saying he was at fault for his son's death because he "provided aid  and comfort to the enemy"- what monsters.

    (I need to find time to ready Digby more often)


    Digby is the best of the best (none / 0) (#5)
    by jerry on Sat May 26, 2007 at 07:39:06 PM EST
    I wish there was some way to turn Digby into a paid pundit and/or politician, but until then I certainly appreciate the well thought, well written, and well aimed essays.

    Digby Rocks (none / 0) (#6)
    by squeaky on Sat May 26, 2007 at 07:41:37 PM EST
    Shakespeare lives! (none / 0) (#3)
    by chemoelectric on Sat May 26, 2007 at 06:54:15 PM EST
    Talk about much ado about nothing.

    Ditto (none / 0) (#4)
    by talex on Sat May 26, 2007 at 07:15:06 PM EST

    Klein Bottled News (none / 0) (#7)
    by GhostDog on Sun May 27, 2007 at 12:09:52 PM EST
    "Klein wrote a blog post not knowing Harman changed her mind, and held her up as an example of what he preferred from Dems on the Iraq Supplemental..."

    And in that blog post he wrote, "Yesterday I spoke with Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-Ca.) just back from Iraq, who voted for the bill..."

    Apparently he wrote this passage either

    (1) some time before the vote, in the belief that (a) Harman would later vote in favor and so (b) it would be in keeping with the ethical practices of Professional Journalism™ to phone in the story before the vote had actually taken place (which might explain his writing "voted for" instead of "plans to vote for"), or

    (2) some time after the vote, in the belief that (a) it was not his responsibility to check whether Harman had changed her mind, or perhaps had had a medical emergency and not shown up to vote at all, and anyway (b) even if it was part of his job, it still would be in keeping with the ethical practices of Professional Journalism™ to phone in the story without checking (which might explain his writing "voted for" instead of "voted against").

    Either way — Klein wrote in ignorance. He got the facts wrong either because he phoned it in or because he didn't bother to check the vote.

    Is there another explanation? I don't want to be unfair.

    But I find myself wondering if this is the only time a Professional Journalist™ has written without checking, or written a story before it actually happened; and wondering how much Professional Journalists™ are paid; and most of all, wondering how big an increase would it take to get them to become "motivated" (or "incentivized" or whatever ickword of the month the bosses use these days to describe bringing about at least a dreary  cow-like willingness on the part of their bored and despairing employees to make it through the front door by 9:00 and not leave again until 5:00) to check at least the basic facts and not to phone things in ahead of time?

    Professional Journalism™ — gotta love it!

    With kind regards,
    Dog, etc.
    searching for home