Airing controversy

Radio show host Aaron Klein has over one million listeners on his WABC show, ‘Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.’

Aaron Klein 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Aaron Klein 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The postcard-esque Mediterranean Sea view from investigative journalist Aaron Klein’s upper-floor Tel Aviv apartment is breathtaking. It’s perhaps fitting that Klein’s floor-to-ceiling windows face the sea to the west, as his main focus these days isn’t Israel and the Middle East, but the US. Klein is a one-man media powerhouse; he hosts his own radio talk-show, serves as a print and Internet news reporter, and is a New York Times best-selling author.
In fact, Klein’s fifth book, which is set for release this August, is centered on the upcoming presidential elections in the US. Never one to shy away from searching for the truth even if it involves ruffling feathers along the way, his new book is titled Fool Me Twice: Obama’s Shocking Plans for Four More Years Exposed.
Klein admits that the goal of his latest work is “to defeat President Obama, and stop the so-called [extreme left-wing] progressive movement and its followers from taking over the US.” Klein says that his thorough research for the book, which contains over 2,000 footnotes, “uncovers Obama’s blueprint for the [radical] transformation of the United States over the course of his second term in office.”
While some might rationalize that Klein is at a disadvantage delving into US politics from 5,000 miles away, he feels just the opposite. “I have a major advantage being in Israel,” he says. “For example when a child is raised in a dysfunctional household, sometimes he doesn’t realize the reality of the situation until he leaves and takes a look at things from the outside. Being here in Israel I have the advantage of exploring US politics with a proper perspective, where I can see things far more clearly.”
As proof of that advantage, Klein, who moved to Israel in 2004, says that while covering the 2008 US presidential elections, his research, conducted from the other side of the globe into then presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s past “revealed Obama’s ties with radical groups that sought the downfall of the US government.”
One such group, says Klein, “included the ‘Weathermen’ terror organization led by Bill Ayers.” The group claimed responsibility for numerous and sometimes deadly bombings against US government installations during the 1960s and 1970s, expressing their disapproval of the country’s involvement in the Vietnam War.
Klein says that his research into Obama’s close ties to Ayers along with a connection both men have to Columbia Professor Rashid Ismail Khalidi, who Klein has reported as having expressed support for Palestinian terrorism, “exploded into one of the biggest issues in the election.”
Another major election controversy as a result of Klein’s reporting was a radio interview he conducted with Hamas leader Ahmed Yousef in which Yousef reveals that Hamas was openly endorsing Obama’s candidacy. As a result of Klein’s shocking interview Republican candidate John McCain cited the Hamas endorsement numerous times in an attempt to delegitimize his opponent’s credibility.
Klein, who is now 32 years old, caught the journalism bug as an undergraduate biology major at New York’s Yeshiva University (YU). His intention was to study medicine, but as a student during the height of the second intifada in 2001, he became frustrated with “the media’s biased news coverage of the Middle East.” He says that “I felt I could create change by going into journalism, particularly reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
He discovered the true power of the pen during his senior year while serving as the editor-in-chief of the YU official student newspaper, The Commentator. “Before I took it over,” Klein says, referring to the newspaper, “it was a glorified synagogue newsletter. But afterwards, we started to do some serious investigative journalism.”
Not everyone on the YU faculty was pleased, especially after an article Klein published questioned whether an $8 million gift to the school was being used for its intended purpose.
Following that exposé and several other investigative pieces in which the integrity of specific decisions made by the institution was questioned, Klein was alerted that his newspapers had been disappearing from their displays. An undercover video recorded by students proved that the school’s maintenance staff had been confiscating the issues of the newspapers which featured the controversial articles.
Klein says that maintenance admitted off the record that they were ordered to remove the papers by upper-echelon university staff members. After threatening to launch a lawsuit against the university for violating the newspaper’s first amendment rights (significantly for $8 million), Klein was compensated financially for the missing newspapers.
While he admits with a laugh that because of his run-ins with the YU administration he has yet to receive even one piece of alumni mail, the incident, which made headlines on the front page of the New York Times Metro section and other prominent publications, solidified his decision to drop medicine and pursue hard-hitting journalism.
So when he wasn’t covering campus controversies, Klein focused on learning about and reporting on the threats of Islamic terrorism against Western civilization. In fact, he says that “before the September 11 attacks on America most Americans didn’t know who Osama bin Laden even was, but [through my research] I was convinced that we needed to pay attention to Islamic terror groups, specifically al-Qaida, since it seemed there was going to be an attack on American soil.”
Those beliefs were affirmed when Klein, just a 21-year-old student, took a potentially major risk and spent a weekend with the al-Qaida affiliated al-Muhajiroun terror organization in London while researching for an article. Klein, who was only somewhat nervous in the presence of Islamic terrorists, was “stunned” by how open the group was in expressing its true agenda: the destruction of the United States and England. He says that “they were so boastful of their goals, and even though they knew I was a Jew and the editor of the YU paper, they were thrilled I would share their motivation with the general public.”
Klein says he discovered from the terrorists during that unforgettable experience that it is in fact infuriating to them when “The New York Times [and other mainstream media outlets] describes a [Muslim] suicide bomber as being poor, or desperate, or acting as a result of [Israel’s] occupation. They want everyone to know they are driven [to attack] by Allah, in order to reach [what they believe] is the highest level of his paradise.”
Klein’s “al-Qaida weekend” was picked up by the Fox News Channel and he was interviewed on the station’s popular Fox and Friends morning program.
After graduation Klein was offered a job at the conservative news website. He says he was comfortable starting his professional career with World Net Daily since it was “one of only media outlets I trusted that would let me report without editorial censorship.”
IN 2004, when then-prime minister Ariel Sharon launched his Gaza disengagement plan, Klein decided to get on a plane for Israel “to report on the massive danger which would result because of the plan.” He recalls embedding himself in Gush Katif and reporting as World Net Daily’s Israel bureau chief while living under the daily barrage of Kassam rockets.
But unsatisfied with his reports on terrorism unless hearing directly from the horse’s mouth, Klein would often make his way into the Palestinian Authority-controlled sections of Gaza to interview Hamas operatives directly about their goals and motivation.
He says that at the time “Hamas openly boasted that thanks to Israel’s planned withdrawal they would one day take control and use Gaza as a launching pad for rockets in their war against (in their words) the Jewish state.” While Hamas made their intentions clear, Klein says that his revelations were “ignored by Israel, and nothing I reported was going to change the minds [of Israel’s leaders] once their decision was made.”
After the disengagement he relocated to Tel Aviv and continued to report for World Net Daily, where his focus gradually shifted from coverage of Israel and the Middle East to newsworthy items pertaining to American audiences, both on international and domestic topics. In addition to reporting for World Net Daily he writes for the New York Jewish Press, and is a frequent guest on cable news channels in the US, often having to drive from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for TV appearances, since that is where most international bureaus are located.
In 2010, WABC radio in New York offered Klein his own talk-radio show, after hearing him serve as a regular guest on other prominent radio shows being broadcast from the Jerusalem Post radio studios as part of the America’s Voices in Israel hasbara (public diplomacy) initiative.
After only two years, the show, called Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” airing on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. New York time, has over one million listeners, and Klein was recently named in Talkers Magazine “Heavy Hundred” for 2012. The annual award is the most prestigious recognition in the US talk-radio industry, given to only 100 hosts based on listenership and influence. Most impressive is the fact that Klein made the list while only hosting a local show, while other names on the list, including Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, are syndicated across the country.
Ironic yet again, that one of the top weekend talk-radio shows in the US is actually being broadcast live from Israel. Klein says that it is somewhat difficult with the time difference having to go on air from 2 to 4 a.m. Israel time. But it helps that he has converted a spare bedroom in his apartment into his own small but technologically advanced radio studio, allowing him not to have to leave the comfort of home in the middle of the night. Also, most technical aspects of the show, including patching in on-air guests, callers, and playing intro music, are handled by the production team in New York.
Klein continues to have well-known Islamic terrorist leaders as guests on his show on a regular basis. In response to whether some feel he shouldn’t provide a mouthpiece to groups like Hamas, he is adamant that “I would never allow them to make any direct threats. If they would do so, I would cut them off.”
He adds that “I think I do a much bigger service by informing the American public about the ultimate goal of terrorism – a planet run by Islamic law. By interviewing terrorists, I provide the most effective way of getting that message across.”