altcox2.jpgaltcox.jpglehmanalter.jpg

>UPDATE: A reader writes in, “Wonder if AMC and Alterman could do a bloggingheads and put this to rest…?”

On Romenesko’s letters board, the tiff we mentioned earlier between Ana Marie Cox and Eric Alterman continues…

First from Eric Alterman:

    “I had no intention of speaking to her and had I known that what I was saying would be inaccurately passed along to a website that cared nothing for accuracy, I would never have done so.”

    “I told her, I’m fine with what she does. My issue with Time is that they hired a ‘liberal’ gossip writer who specializes in articles about ‘ass-fucking’ to offset their conservative heavy-hitters who regularly abuse liberals. If she, or any one else wishes to spend their lives as gossip writers, all I ask is that they try to be accurate when it’s about me — which I see turns out to be far too much to ask.”

    “Ana apologized for her behavior towards me, which ought to tell you something.”

    “So again, to sum up. I did not ask to have this conversation. I did not ask to have it reported on or taped. I did not demand anything of Ms. Cox or anyone else. I simply responded as best I could to her myriad accusations against me–accusations that strike me as rather hostile and hypocritical given her own position at Time. She later apologized and I accepted.”

Then, enter CQ’s Chris Lehmann (Ana Marie’s husband):

    “I am writing in response to Eric Alterman’s droll 8-point clarification of the conversation he had with my wife about her role at Time, and his quite personal attacks on her writing as a means of pretending to decry a conservative bias at the news weekly. (Normally I let Ana fight her own battles, but she’s off in New Hampshire — I hope you’re sitting down Eric — reporting a political story for Time.)”

    “Oh, and one other thing: Ana assures me that when she spoke to Alterman subsequently, she did not apologize for the content of her remarks–let alone her ‘behavior’ as Alterman has it here. She apologized for the _tone_ of her remarks, largely on the basis of Alterman’s disengenuously puzzled-sounding claim that she seemed ‘hostile.’”

But, best of all: We finally get to the heart of the “ass-fucking” example:

    “Consider the well-worn plaint that my coarse, perverse spouse somehow ‘specialized’ in producing an unending stream of blogposts about ‘ass-fucking.’ In reality, Wonkette–always more of a satire outlet than a ‘gossip’ site on her watch in the first place–first employed the ‘ass-fucking’ phrasing to ridicule the Bush administration’s proposed consitutional ban on gay marriage. The idea at the time was to call out the thing that the administration actually wanted to outlaw by its true name–’the federal no-ass-fucking amendment.’ … So forgive me, marital rooting interests aside, for failing to follow the reasoning that this one fateful phrase is somehow a grievous betrayal of the liberal faith–and to wonder a bit at how comfortable a putative liberal pundit feels in casually reducing a female writer’s career to a description of a sexual practice.”