How To Not Be Ezra Klein

Remember when I was all, “You know why I won’t do press?” and you were like, “Gee, let me guess, because nobody’s interested?” and I laughed my insouciant laugh even though your words hurt me very badly and I still hold a potent, furious grudge which most days I am barely able to restrain? You don’t? Well, let me remind you. If you don’t find that convincing (although I’m not sure why you wouldn’t, it’s BRILLIANT) let this New Republic profile of Ezra Klein be a lesson to you: There is no way you’re going to get out of one of these things without coming off in some way flawed. Look, I’ve never met, corresponded or otherwise interacted with Ezra Klein (he’s an “incredible operator” who schmoozes up is the point of the piece; he’d have no use for me anyway). He might be some kind of secular saint put here to make the world a better place or he might be the Pol Pot of mainstream media policy-focused web logs. Either way, it makes no difference: No matter who you are there are going to be at least three people in your life, one of whom you consider a friend, who will be willing to talk shit about you anonymously to a reporter who is desperate for shit to be talked because otherwise who wants to read the article in the first place? Think about how you are with your own friends, when there are no journalists around (or even if, God help you, your friends are journalists, and they just happen to be off-duty); think about how you let your basic (and, to be sure, completely natural) envy and displeasure color the conversation about whatever unlucky sap happens to be somewhere else that night. There’s no avoiding it, and this is one hundred times more true when it comes to these kinds of stories. Making it even more uncomfortable, Klein is well aware of this, and goes through all sorts of contortions in the piece to somehow minimize the damage, which naturally makes things even worse (and which the reporter, who is doing her job—which, let’s never forget, is to make her subject look human, i.e. bad—delights in describing). Depending on who you are you will either read this piece and think, “Oh my God, Ezra Klein, what a dick,” or “Oh my God, Ezra Klein, you poor thing,” but if there’s anything I can teach you in the short time I have left let it be this: DO NOT DO INTERVIEWS. You just can’t win.