For years I’ve said that there’s a wagon-circling function in media that makes criticism of certain connected people appear professionally risky. A lot of people in the media question the accuracy of that criticism, and I fully admit that at times I can be too sensitive to it. But I’m not inventing it, either. Here’s an email in response to my criticism of The New Republic’s Jeet Heer yesterday:
This is pretty much how it goes. It’s not an explicit threat, exactly. It’s just an editor at a big publication who has the ability to trade writing for money – or not – giving vague warnings about my reputation in the industry. It’s a bit of “nice career you got here… Would be a shame if anything happened to it.” And this, essentially, is how it goes down. This is far from the first email I’ve ever received like this.
Incidentally: some will turn around and say that, by printing this email, I’ll be scaring off other publishers, that this is a bit of exposure for the sausage-making process that I’ll pay for. So the circle gets a little tighter. And you know what? Those people are probably right.