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Altercation Extra: This is Forbes Journalism? My Complete E-mail Correspondence with Mr. Richard Behar of Forbes Magazine | The Nation

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Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman

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Altercation Extra: This is Forbes Journalism? My Complete E-mail Correspondence with Mr. Richard Behar of Forbes Magazine

This morning I received an e-mail from a Mr. Richard Behar, who says he is a contributing editor to Forbes and who, like apparently hundreds of people (most of whom were anti-Zionist but be that as it may), objected to something he read in the piece published on the Open Zion website yesterday, "Brooklyn College And The BDS Debate."

As you can see from the below, I tried to answer his question politely and get rid of him, repeatedly, until he informed me (after publishing my e-mails without even asking permission) that he planned to write a column about them. Since I have nothing to hide in this respect, but do not believe that Richard can be trusted to treat the exchange fairly and honestly—and moreover, he has already demonstrated that he does not believe in the privacy e-mail communication—I thought I'd put up the entire exchange here, so that (in the unlikely event that) he really does waste even more time writing about me, interested parties—again, I imagine that the existence of such a person might be a stretch—can judge for him or herself. Eric Alterman.

Dear Eric,

I just read your column (from yesterday) in the Daily Beast, and—as a longtime investigative reporter—was quite surprised to see that you could make such a sweeping indictment of a country without providing any backup to readers. Specifically:

"It is true, of course, that Israel's brutal treatment of the Palestinian people breeds hatred rather than a desire for cooperation with their oppressors..."

WOW. Please see my attached Comment if/when you get a chance, and I hope you will consider taking me up on my challenge.

In my view, you should have backed this up to begin with.  But it's hardly too late.

Thanks and all best regards,

--Richard Behar

 

Eric to Richard:

Here you go, sir.

http://www.hrw.org/world-report-2012/world-report-2012-israeloccupied-palestinian-territories

http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/israel-occupied-palestinian-territories/report-2012

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42527#.URUhYh1m68A

For a "longtime investigative reporter," this shouldn't have been so hard to find.

but happy to be of service,,,,

 

Richard to Eric:

Wow, that's quite nasty of you.

Happy to read, but it's not what you've written previously -- it's the backing up of a sweeping indictment in a current column.  I should think any "distinguished" journalism professor would know that.

Then again, the Nation has been anti-Israel in almost a knee-jerk way ever since the early days of Navasky, and it looks like you are a regular columnist there.

 

Eric to Richard:

Yes, well, as you might have guessed, I don't really believe I need any lessons in good journalism from you.

Or if I do, there's no evidence of it from your comment.

But I do wish you all the best life.

Now let's both move on, shall we?

 

Richard to Eric:

Oh, gosh. LOL. And I now see you are quoting the UN and other groups that are so provably biased against Israel that one could demonstrate that with one's eyes closed. Suggest you read the speeches of HRW's founder and longtime head, Robert Bernstein, who split with the group specifically over its obvious and over-the-top bias against Israel.

You're on the wrong side of history.

 

Eric to Richard:

Again, thanks for the advice.

Can I get back to work, now?

Or do you have additional instructions for me?

 

Richard to Eric, headline:

Yes, moving on, sir... you're a fool, a coward, and deceptive toward readers

 

Eric to Richard:

Yes, well, at least I don't bother people I don't know by calling them names like a second-grade school child.

but how about fucking off now, ok?

I've got work to do....

 

Eric to Richard (upon seeing that Richard had published my correspondence on the Daily Beast comments without asking permission):

I see you published my e-mails without asking my permission.

Any more lectures you might like to offer on journalistic ethics, sir?

If I gave a shit, I'd have them taken down. But since they reveal you to be such a moron, I'm happy to leave them there.

Let's hope we're done now.

 

Richard to Eric:

Take them down if you want. I may be doing a Forbes column on it/you anyway. The e-mails were not off-record, AND since you were so dismissive and insulting of me, I thought they should be published. I pity your students, "proud" professor.

 

Eric to Richard:

All my private correspondence is off the record. You did not write me for my comments for Forbes magazine. You wrote me asking for evidence for something I wrote and I was kind enough to waste my time responding, (since it turns out, you are, alas, a moron).

But do me a favor. Send this e-mail to your editor and see if he or she thinks it appropriate to publish my private e-mails (or even characterize them) without my permission and against my instructions.

 

Eric adds:

I guess that’s moot now. Publish away, sir.

Eric Alterman and Reed Richardson discuss Bruce Springsteen, Fox News and more in their latest post.

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