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Afternoon Reading List 3.12.13.

Esquire rips Ezra Klein a new a–hole: Charles. P. Pierce of Esquire‘s “The Politics Blog” is impressed with WaPo‘s Ezra Klein, and simultaneously not that impressed. In an afternoon post Monday he writes, “The problem is that he’s so entirely a creature of this exploitative new journalism order that he seems to believe, as Molly Ivins once put it of Camille Paglia, that he is the cosmos.” He also discusses Ezra’s ideas about sources, who Ezra claims are the unpaid “academics, business consultants, marking analysts and former politicians.” Pierce writes, “Ezra, dude, all of journalism is not the op-ed page. Most of the people you cite above couldn’t cover a one-car fatal on 128 on a Sunday night. Somebody has to do the grunt work that involves calling the cops or the coroner, or the drunk high-school baseball coach, and not whoever is on call at the Center For American Progress that day.” Read the full story here.

Investigating Bob Woodward: Today Tanner Colby writes a lengthy story for TNR. In light of WaPo Bob Woodward‘s recent claim that he was threatened by the White House, Colby explores other “regrettable” moments in Woodward’s life and lets the reader in on how Woodward does what he does. Such as the book he wrote on John Belushi after he died. Colby writes, “Twenty years later, in 2004, Judy Belushi hired me, then an aspiring comedy writer, to help her with a new biography of John, this one titled Belushi: A Biography. As her coauthor, I handled most of the legwork, including all of the interviews and most of the research. What started as a fun project turned out to be a rather fascinating and unique experiment. Over the course of a year, page by page, source by source, I re-reported and rewrote one of Bob Woodward’s books. As far as I know, it’s the only time that’s ever been done.” He says Woodward’s problem is execution. He writes, “There’s no question that he frequently ferrets out information that other reporters don’t. But getting the scoop is only part of the equation. Once you have the facts, you have to present those facts in context and in proportion to other facts in order to accurately reflect reality. It’s here that Woodward fails.”

The piece includes damning thoughts on Woodward. “Like a funhouse mirror, Woodward’s prose distorts what it purports to reflect.” And the ending is disquieting: “When you imagine Woodward using the same approach to cover secret meetings about drone strikes and the budget sequester and other issues of vital national importance, well, you have to stop and shudder.” Sure the piece might be a little look at me self-serving. But this is Washington and what you expect of it. Read the full story here.

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