Search

got a tip? call (866) 667 - 2327 OR

E-mail us a tip

An Open Letter to Jonathan Alter

alter_051107_FRESH.jpg
ALTER-NATE REALITY Jonathan

Radar is perfectly happy to ignore the occasional ribbing, but cite us for bad journalism and we might just break form to respond. In this edition of “Minding the Store,” Jebediah Reed addresses criticisms of his recent piece on Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel by Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter …

Dear Jonathan,

The last thing I had in mind when I wrote that profile of Mike Gravel at the Columbia rally was getting into a Web tiff with you. I’ve read and enjoyed many of your columns. So when you called me out as a “bad reporter” in your HuffPo screed, it would have been traumatic if I wasn’t sure my reporting from that day was bulletproof. Fortunately, it is.

It’s kind of funny, isn’t it, all this hubbub over one little remark? But reporter Tom Edsall did say that David Broder is the “voice of the people,” and he did say it as I reported. In the conversation I documented, in fact, Gravel was accusing Broder of not believing in popular democracy. He referred to the Iraq war and mentioned Broder’s book, Democracy Derailed, which, as I understand it, argues that ballot initiatives often yield undemocratic results. Gravel, of course, is a huge believer in ballot initiatives. Edsall, without changing the tone of the conversation, said: “He [Broder] is democracy. He’s the voice of the people.”

It sounds like you might not have heard Edsall, but—scout’s honor—it was not said archly. I suppose you can criticize me for replacing a he with a David Broder and not bracketing it. I’ll plead guilty to that. But if you doubt my account, you’re welcome to pop by Radar HQ and listen to the exchange on tape.

blog comments powered by Disqus