In the Arena

Alterman Yet Again

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Here’s Eric’s version of our conversation at the party last night via Atrios.

My version: Yes, we had a argument. “Screaming” though? Seems to me Eric’s voice was raised, as was mine. And backing into a corner? Oh please. My sense was that when I tried to have a discussion with Eric, he refused…I even tried to point out some things we have in common–like Springsteed and the Mets, and the fact that he probably agrees with 93% of the things I write (even if he never says so). I asked him why he never once called me–unlike, say, Greg Sargent, who has–when he has questions about my work. No response to that, either. In fact, this seems Alterman’s modus operandi: He’s not interested in honest argument. He doesn’t engage, but takes potshots from the sidelines. He writes about journalism, but it’s a subject he only understands vicariously, since he never does any reporting.

Finally, Eric’s right about one thing: I shouldn’t take him so seriously. But as a New Yorker, I do love a good argument. I take politics seriously and intellectual honesty even more so–and now that I’m spending time here in the blogosphere, I figured I’d respond to his constant abuse. If he doesn’t want the conversation, so be it. I won’t make the mistake of taking him seriously again.

Note to Readers: This controversy is oh-so-ten-years-ago, but Primary Colors was an anonymous novel.The rules of novel-writing are not the same as those of journalism, or even blogging. I followed the same rules of anonymous novel-writing as Henry Adams did when he denied authorship of Democracy. That case is long closed, and has nothing to do with Alterman’s purposeful mischaracterization of my work.