NEW YORK — Edward Klein was in his 11th year as editor of the New York Times Magazine when on two consecutive weeks in July 1987 the prestigious Sunday supplement was cited in editors’ notes for lapses in editorial judgment. During Klein’s tenure the magazine had some notable successes, such as winning a Pulitzer Prize, but it also suffered other high-profile missteps, including publication of a fabricated tale about Khmer Rouge guerrillas in Cambodia.
By October 1987, Klein had departed from the newspaper, and thus began his journey from influential editor to conservative author of bestsellers about powerful figures: the Kennedys, Katie Couric, Hillary Rodham Clinton and, most recently, President Obama. The evolution of his career has raised eyebrows among liberals and conservatives, and the highly personal portraits he crafts have prompted questions about sourcing, accuracy and intent.
His latest, “The Amateur,” in which he contends that the president is ill-suited by experience and temperament to occupy the White House, contains scenes that did not occur or that were vastly misconstrued, according to those who Klein says were present. The Obama book, released by conservative publisher Regnery, has been largely ignored by the mainstream media. Nonetheless, it has sold vigorously thanks in large part to an early boost from conservative blogger Matt Drudge. It will perch at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list Sunday for the fourth consecutive week. In the month since its mid-May release, nearly 66,000 copies have been sold, according to Nielsen BookScan.