Reason Writers in the Columbia Journalism Review: Matt Welch Examines the Rise of Star Beltway Pundit Ezra Klein

Writing at the Columbia Journalism Review, Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch places 28-year-old Washington Post "wonkblogger" Ezra Klein in a line of (mostly) liberal D.C. opinion-journalism wunderkinds over the past century, from Walter Lippmann to Michael Kinsley and beyond:  

But Klein adds some new wrinkles to this stock character of Beltway journalism. Whereas his predecessors were exclusively eastern-seaboard, Ivy-League types, Klein is a California kid from the UC system (Santa Cruz and Los Angeles). Instead of launching his career by leveraging connections to the established elite, he built his reputation by blogging loudly, and sharply, into the void. Yesterday’s Kleins earned their fame at The New Republic; today’s model rose to prominence despite avoiding, and occasionally bashing, progressivism’s flagship magazine. With these departures in style, substance, and comportment, Klein’s meteoric young career underscores not only the dynamic transformation of the media business, but changes in liberalism itself.

Read the whole thing here.

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  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    with apologies to barfman,

    *barf*

  • sarcasmic||

    Awwwww, have you ever seen a more punchable face?

  • Pip||

    My first thought.

  • nobody||

  • ||

    You know who has a more punchable face than Ezra?

  • Loki||

    E.J. Dionne.

    He still gets top honors as "most punchable face: hack journalist division".

    Although Ezra runs a close second.

  • A Serious Man||

    Joffrey Baratheon?

  • Ska||

    This right here.

    Thankfully there's a youtube remix of Tyrion just smacking him to Achilles Last stand for 10+ minutes.

  • Ted S.||

    Chuck Schumer?

  • Generic Stranger||

    Krugnuts?

  • JS||

    Well, let's see... I see listed here for punchable faces:

    Ezra Klein
    Dana Milbank
    E. J. Dionne

    You guys have some kind of a grudge against Jewish journalists or what?

  • Proprietist||

    Well, to our credit, Hitler is arguably the most punchable face of all, even without the Holocaust under his belt.

  • John||

    Klein, a man who rose to fame by being America's biggest douche bag. Is there anyone in public life who screams "douche bag" more than Klein?

  • o3||

    walter white?

  • sarcasmic||

    Shhhhhh!

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Klein is just a troubador of the statists. If it weren't for the Obamas and Reids of the world, he would just be a particularly annoying grocery cashier.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    At the co-op.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    "Well, fuck the Columbia Journalism Review." -- Hunter S. Thompson

  • John||

    In all seriousness, Klein got ahead by being a lying partisan hack on the internet. Klein has never had a real job in his life. He has no academic accomplishments to speak of. Yet, he is given a soap box and allowed to pontificate on any every subject none of which he knows anything about. But he lies well and consistently. And that is what he is paid for.

  • sarcasmic||

    Tony is Ezra?

  • John||

    Or Joe from Lowell. He might as well be. Frankly Joe from Lowell is a lot more clever than Klein and probably deserves the job as professional liar more than Klein does.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    What joe did in life echoes in eternity.

  • ||

    Tony is not consistent.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    And he's a Very Serious Person.

  • A Serious Man||

    No need to be gender-neutral.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    His lies are pretty inconsistent actually.

  • John||

    I mean consistently as in constantly not as in telling consistent lies.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Ah yes. Well that applies.

  • The Hammer||

    If Obama had a son...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    “He is just a good explanatory reporter and writer,” says David Weigel of Slate.

    If only he could wrap his head around the dusty words found in the United States Constitution.

  • Pip||

    “He is just a good explanatory reporter and writer,” says David Weigel of Slate, fucker of sheep.

  • Randian||

    I think you meant to say "fucker of rats"

  • John||

    Dave Weigel and Ezra Klein. And people wonder why journalists are hated so much. A bunch of know nothings who sit around and smell each others' farts.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Weigal is totally spamming my Facebook feed right now. Unfortunately I can't afford to defriend him given my loser-level friend count.

  • John||

    If you defriend him, he will just call you a rat fucker.

  • ||

    given my loser-level friend count.

    How can that be possible?!?!

    I thought you were the most influential commenter at reason hit and run EVER!!!

  • Joe R.||

    Did they mention the time Klein insisted that the supply of health care was infinite?

    Paraphrasing: "Health care will never be rationed, because if we need more hip replacements, we'll do more hip replacements."

    I used to have a link to the blog post, but I can't find it now and I'm too lazy to search for it.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I once enjoyed a cocktail at Drum’s apartment.


    Ok, John. Have at it.

  • John||

    Who has cocktails? A beer maybe or even a nice bourbon, but a "cocktail"? What did he whip up a few Cosmopolitans?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    No matter what you kids may have heard on the street, a Manhattan is still a very manly drink.

  • John||

    So is an Old Fashioned. People ask me why I always drink them. I tell them that it is because they don't make a reactionary.

  • NoVAHockey||

    best old fashioned I've ever had was at the columbia room, in the back of the passenger on 7th street. yes, it's bit pretentious and expensive. but it was fantastic.

  • John||

    I love old time elegant bars. I love the bar at the Algonquin, places like that with true professional bar tenders.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Louisville is one of my favorite bar towns. Man, they know their bourbon and rye (and Manhattans).

  • SugarFree||

    CN? Have you been to the bar at the 21C? They made an Aviation cocktail without looking it up. I was impressed.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    No. But 21C (Proof on Main) is definitely on my list. Last time in town I hit the Brown Hotel, the Old Seelbach, Blu, and Maker's Mark Bourbon House. I'm trying to sell my boss on an "Urban Bourbon Trail" story.

  • SugarFree||

    Proof's food and wine cellar are both outstanding.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Speaking of aviation, I was at the Marriott near the Marshall Space Center in Huntsville and the bartender didn't know how to make a Manhattan. Shameful, right? I had to go back of the bar and conduct a brief lesson. What the fuck is the world coming to?

  • SugarFree||

    He should be beaten with a cane.

    21C asks you to choose the bourbon you want for your Manhattan. My wife got her's with Rittenhouse Rye.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Yeah -- rye's the ticket. At the Brown House, they don't even ask, they use the six-year-old Russell's Reserve in their Manhattan unless they hear a veto. Ya gotta respect that.

  • Trespassers W||

    They made an Aviation cocktail without looking it up. I was impressed.

    I think I could wing it. Gin, lemon, maraschino liqeur, maybe 2:1:0.5 ratio?

  • SugarFree||

    I prefer the traditional addition of 1/4 oz. creme de violette. How else it is supposed to look like the clear blue sky?

  • NoVAHockey||

    you'd like the columbia room then. seating for about 10. those guys make their own bitters and can talk for hours about the history of the drinks, how they've changed over the years, etc.

  • Lord Humungus||

    gah! I went to a local trendy bar once and asked for Gimlet. That got me "A Giblet?" and then a "What's that?"

  • SugarFree||

    Oh, if only they had the sense of humor to bring you a martini glass full of gravy...

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    recently I've been drinking Makers on the rocks with a splash of Grand Marinier and a splash of bitters.

    Don't know if that makes me a wuss or not.

  • GILMORE||

    John| 9.4.12 @ 11:32AM |#

    So is an Old Fashioned. People ask me why I always drink them. I tell them that it is because they don't make a reactionary.

    "The Reactionary"

    - 12 parts illegally-distilled moonshine

    - 1 part simple-sugar from last known slave-owning plantation

    - 3 dashes of EXTREMELY Bitter Bitters.... recommendend is the "Immigration is destroying this country!"-brand

    - twist of Blood of a Patriot

    Serve with a garnish of burning-cross

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    What's wrong with a Gin Fizz or a Whiskey Sour?

  • John||

    Nothing.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Well, they're cocktails, yes?

  • SugarFree||

    In the original definition of the term, neither are cocktails. Cocktails contain only spirits, sugar, water and bitters.

    HISTORY PWN'D!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Err...I don't know what you put in your Fizzes and Sours, but mine are just spirits, sugar (or simple syrup), water, and bitters.

    Unless you're claiming lime juice is not a "bitter".

  • SugarFree||

    Originally, it was not considered a bitter. The absence of fruit juice was to distinguish the cocktail from punch preparations.

    Of course, it doesn't matter now.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You win this time, you scoundrel.

  • SugarFree||

    [disappears in puff of smoke]

  • ||

    So a mixed drink with juice was a punch, and a mixed drink with bitters was a cocktail? Makes sense.

  • SugarFree||

    [reappears in puff of smoke]
    Yes. It was more that cocktail was meant to be mixed as a single serving, and the punch mixed in batches for service. The cocktail/punch distinction largely disappeared when the "Sour" craze took off, which was also about single servings, even if they followed the same basic formula as their punch-sized counter parts.
    [disappears in puff of smoke]
    [checks smoke bomb budget for 2012-2013]

  • Tulpa Doom||

    As long as there wasn't a party and he didn't take the Orange Line to get there, he's OK.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    The core problem -- a good journalist should be, first and foremost, an outsider. And very few are (or remain so).

  • Citizen Nothing||

    That doesn't, by the way, mean that a good journalist can't go to cocktail parties. Liquor is liquor.

  • Brett L||

    Don't they pull your membership card if you turn down free drink?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Damn straight.

  • JW||

    I get the feeling that too many outsiders become journalists so they can become an insider.

  • NoVAHockey||

    I agree with this a lot.

  • sarcasmic||

    Are you saying that the less someone knows about something, the more qualified they are to write about it?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    "Outsider" does not equal "ignoramus."

  • ||

    But, but, politics tells me you can't know anything if you aren't a shill!

  • John||

    They are basically suck asses looking for a political appointment in the next administration.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Technically Klein isn't a journalist, but an opinion writer.

    Outsiders don't get inside information, which is crucial to doing primary journalism (as opposed to linking to primary journalism like most bloggers do). You can be an insider and still maintain some semblance of objectivity.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    "Outsiders don't get inside information."
    Well, hell, Tulpa. Sounds like you're bucking for tenure at a J-school.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    You sound like you're bucking for tenure at the toilet school. Jerk.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    bucking for tenure at the toilet school


    Ok. I'm flummoxed. Is that some kind of obscure euphemism? I couldn't find it in the urban dictionary

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Anchorman reference. You really are an outsider.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Sorry. I knew it sounded familiar -- that's why I asked, like a good journalist should! (I kept thinking of George Costanza and "the jerk store called.")

  • Tulpa Doom||

    That's OK. It matches up with your lack of concern over blood being spilt at intersections lacking consistent red light enforcement.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    It's a fair cop.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Take comfort in this: someday Ezra Klein and George Stephanopoulous will look like David Brinkley and Sam Donaldson. And then no one will pay attention to them.

  • ||

    I quite recently read a bit on some obscure libertarian news site about how Ezra Klein and his subordinates are still in the Journolist planted-story business. Someone should let Matt Welch know.

  • ||

    Let's all list some of our most favorite Ezra Klein pieces. Wonkblog included.

    Here, I'll start: You can't separate public and private unions

  • John||

    92 year old WWII vet shoots and kills intruder. I guess the methbillies chose the wrong house to break into. Stories like this make me proud to be an American.

  • John||

    The link is blocked but it is on drudge right now.

  • Atlas Stoned||

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The man killed the fucker in one shot with a .22.

    /wipes tear, salutes the American flag.

  • Franklin Harris||

    Did Ezra Klein ever figure out how to return his Netflix discs?

  • Randian||

    And every month, I loathe myself just a little bit more.

    So say we all.

  • Lyle||

    It's pitiful this guy is known to the world.

  • John||

    ^^THIS^^

  • T o n y||

    Ezra Klein is worth 500 Ann Coulters, and you've probably never read a single word he's written. Yeah his opinions are liberal, but he, like most liberals, believes there are such things as facts and that they must inform opinions worth listening to.

  • Atlas Stoned||

    $

  • John||

    Yeah Tony. Ezra is the guy who spent the entire year of 09 to 10 lying about Obamacare and claiming it wouldn't cost any money.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    500 times 0 is 0.

  • Zombie Jimbo||

    I'd take Coulter over Klein in a knife fight anyday.

    Would Ezra bleed like a juicebox?

  • ||

    Racist.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Yeah his opinions are liberal, but he, like most liberals, believes there are such things as facts and that they must inform opinions worth listening to.

    Unfortunately, like most liberals, he believes in facts but never actually uses them.

  • ||

    Yeah his opinions are liberal

    Left wing statist does not equal liberal.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    What a douche. T o n y, go stick your gay penis in his bitch mouth.

  • ||

    OMG TONY IS GAY?!?!?!

    Dude lay of the gay bashing.

    There is plenty wrong with Tony and his arguments that you can argue with without defaulting to some anti-gay rant.

  • Tommy_Grand||

    Instead of launching his career by leveraging connections to the established elite….

    “I had this little blog that 30 people read a day,” he says, “but it turned out one of them was Joe Trippi. a veteran Democratic campaign strategist…

    Wait, what?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Seriously Matt? I know you have to play to your audience to some extent, and CJR isn't exactly a hotbed of libertarianism, but the piece reads as a flerking paean to Ezra Klein and his precocious knowledge. The first few paragraphs had me puking so much I had nothing but bile left for the glowing description of "The Ezra Klein Challenge". Anyone can "explain" complicated political and economic issues in 2 minutes when they have no fear of anyone in the audience or in the studio questioning their explanation, and for you to describe the result of this charade as the audience "walking away feeling smarter" may be factually correct (I'm sure leftists "feel" smarter with a fresh quiver of dubious talking points) but it's pure flattery.

  • triclops||

    well said

  • Proprietist||

    This is the core of Tony's (and Klein's) problem. They believe that because their heroes are academics, that they are obviously motivated purely by facts and that their ideology simply follows their research - instead of vice versa.

    He lives in a world where confirmation biases supposedly can't exist unless they are bought by corporate money. Government grants are "pure" for research, yet the research always results in the need for more extensive research and thus more extensive funding. The air of moral superiority ("I'm not racist homophobe like those guys!"), comparative eloquence and the media echo chamber affirmation that they're right and credible by default means that they are automatically "serious" and "grounded in reality."

    When this self-delusion is broken by the harsh light of day, they get confused and either start lashing out with fallacies and pure hackery or sink deeper into their delusions.

    Because we constantly do this at Reason, that is why Tony acts the way he does. Notice that Reason is mostly avoided by self-proclaimed intellectual lefties like Tony and Joe because they can't maintain the illusion for long.

  • Proprietist||

    That said, I do wish there were more serious progressive voices here, because I think progressivism and conservatism both bring important conversation subjects to the table. White Indian had good points about property rights, and Tony has good points about externalities. If only either were interested in serious discussions of these topics instead of ad hominems.

    I just think both sides are so racked with dishonesty and cognitive dissonance, it's hard for either to maintain their belief systems without resorting to fallacious reasoning.

  • ||

    Tony has good points about externalities

    Oh Bullshit. Chad and Joe run circles around Tony when it comes to externalities.

    Tony does not even know who Ronald Coase is.

  • Proprietist||

    Note I didn't say he argued the points well. I said they are important issues for libertarians to address that are considered more important outside our own echo chamber.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Registration really screwed this place up in that way. The commentariat was essentially frozen in time. We don't get new people with different viewpoints coming in anymore, and the few we do get castigated so bad by the "get off my lawn whippersnapper" contingent that they quickly leave.

    Yes, I know there were other problems (Alabaster Native) that registration was intended to solve. But it doesn't actually thwart name-hopping, it just makes it marginally less convenient, and it impedes the appearance of fresh blood that a site that supposedly prides itself on creative destruction desperately needs.

  • ||

    Anyone else get the feeling that Ezra Klein is about to come out of the closet as a libertarian and start writing for reason?

    I know it is a huge long shot....(and a very unlikely pay cut choice)

    But I got that feeling reading Welch's piece.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    He would get the STEVE SMITH treatment, except with the course grain sandpaper condom instead of fine.

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