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SO JOE DID IT

Published on .

Columnist Joe Klein's disclosure that he is Anonymous, author of the best-selling political novel "Primary Colors," is nothing more than the latest use of publicity as a marketing tool and it's sure to spike sales of the book and its paperback edition, due out in two months.

That much was clear at a press conference called by Random House, at which Warner Books President-CEO Larry Kirshbaum, who will publish the paperback version, was quoted as saying, "If anything, the notoriety and the controversy .*.*. is very helpful."

To book sales, maybe. After all, Warner Books will now have a flesh-and-blood author to send on the publicity circuit to promote the novel. In the meantime, however, Mr. Klein's bosses at CBS and Newsweek are squirming about this little literary charade.

We now know that Newsweek Managing Editor Maynard Parker knew Mr. Klein had penned the book and allowed his newsweekly to carry an item by its media columnist, Jonathan Alter, that speculated the book may have been written by others.

Gleeful politicos, whose ethics are constantly under media scrutiny, think Mr. Klein and Newsweek have been been caught lying. Or was it just going along with marketing razzmatazz to sell books?

Journalists pen lots of books. The anonymous source is their stock and trade. But they and book marketers, as in the Klein case, can raise unintended issues of honesty when journalist/authors play the anonymous game themselves.

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