What Did He Know... | Letters | Chicago Reader

What Did He Know... 

Dear Editor,

A story by Jeffrey Felshman in the Reader [Hot Type, July 25] recently addressed the topic of a spat between myself and Jim Weinstein, former publisher of In These Times, about my account of his firing of Josh Mason, a less-than-earthshaking event I described in a column in the Nation. I was surprised to find Felshman quoting Mason to the effect that I "had the essential story right but got the details wrong." I heard of Mason's ejection from Doug Henwood, editor of Left Business Observer, and was then in touch with Mason, reading him the story to make sure it was accurate. He said it was.

After reading Felshman's inaccurate account I called Henwood and Mason, both of whom confirmed that my memory of the sequence was correct. So why, I asked Mason, had he given Felshman the impression I hadn't checked? Mason said rather lamely he thought Felshman was a friend of Weinstein's and maybe "had an agenda." Maybe he did; maybe Mason was being chickenshit and didn't want to admit he'd confirmed every word of what I had written. Mason has said he'll also write to your paper setting the record straight. Felshman might have checked with me, incidentally. There's no record at the Nation he tried to do so.

Alexander Cockburn

The Nation

PS: Did I check with Weinstein? Of course not. Jim has never told the truth about anything, the latest example apparently concerning the financial condition of In These Times when that poor sod from Vegetarian Times took it over. But mind you, I haven't checked that either. Maybe Felshman should take a crack at the story. How tiring journalism is.

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