The most frustrating thing about the Klein fiasco is that I can think of a number of people who actually know a lot about the FISA issue and could have provided Time‘s readership with useful information about the state of the debate. At a minimum, they should be able to find someone who can at least take the trouble to read the text of the legislation he’s writing about.
The RESTORE Act is about 20 double-space pages long. You can read it in under an hour. I did it when I was writing up the story for Ars. Ars has a lot fewer readers than Time, and I guarantee you that Klein got paid more for his column than I got paid for my article.
There’s been a lot of commentary of late blaming the Internet for undermining the high journalistic standards of the mainstream media. Well, it doesn’t get more mainstream than Time. So why didn’t the magazine’s vaunted editors notice that Klein’s “summary” was riddled with errors? If Klein couldn’t be bothered to read the bill, shouldn’t Time have assigned a fact-checker to do so? And how do we explain the fact that Internet-centric journalists like Greenwald and Singel (not to mention up-and-coming journalists like Julian) can run circles around Klein on the FISA issue?