My new Think Again column is called “Acknowledging Our Mistakes in Iraq Would Prevent Us from Repeating Them” but I would have called it “Liberal Hawks on Iraq Anniversary: 'We were right to be wrong.'" Anyway, it’s here. You can be the judge of what it should be called.
My Nation column is called “The Passion and Eloquence of Anthony Lewis” and it is here.
How to get into Bruce Springsteen.
An annoying back and forth:
I found myself forced last week to get into a letters to the editor hassle with a conservative academic named Richard Vatz, who, in attempting to make the case in the Baltimore Sun that “Liberal media bias is beyond doubt,” wrote the following sentence:
“Nation magazine journalist Eric Alterman wrote a book, 'What Liberal Bias,' that is widely cited and heavily researched but filled with evidentiary problems.”
That was it. No evidence. No follow up. No nothing. And the dude could not even get the title correct.
Anyway, I responded:
To the editors:
I was almost tempted to admire both the irony–to say nothing of the audacity–of being accused of producing work flawed by “evidentiary problems” in a newspaper column by a professor who cannot be bothered to produce a single scintilla of evidence to support his claim. But since it’s my reputation at stake, my amusement was minimal.
For the record, the work to which your guest columnist, Richard E. Vatz, refers: What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News (Basic Books, 2003 and 2004), was meticulously fact-checked and contains fully 43 pages of source notes. I do not deny the possibility of error. It’s almost impossible to write a work of over 350 pages without them, though I am aware of none that have survived beyond its first printing. I also do not deny the likelihood that many people will disagree with my arguments. That is, after all, what honorable public discourse is all about. But I do deny both Mr. Vatz and by extension, the Sun’s right to cast aspersions on my scholarship by throwing out casually derogatory accusations without making any attempt to support them.
I hate to sound defensive, but it so happens that The New Yorker magazine, which is considered to be an authority on such matters, noted the“ meticulous care with which [Alterman’s] arguments are sourced and footnoted.” The Los Angeles Times called the book “well-documented” and “even-tempered.” The Columbia Journalism Review said the “research really is excellent.” The Orlando Sentinel called the book “thoroughly researched.” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel termed it “masterful, painstakingly documented.” Publishers Weekly thought it “well-documented” and “well-argued.” Providence Journal: “Exhaustively researched.” The Boston Review: ”Exhaustively researched.” I could go on, but my point is not to brag, but merely to point out that Mr. Vatz’s opinion is a lonely one, and requires, at the very least, significant supporting evidence to be taken seriously as anything but an ideologically motivated ad-hominem attack.