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Do You Think Simon & Schuster Really Cares If Paul Begala Hates Its #1 Bestseller?

obama-nation-cover.jpgActually, the question Leon Neyakh posed in yesterday’s Observer “Media Mob” blog was “Will Simon & Schuster have to answer for [Jerome] Corsi?” But it amounts to the same thing: Neyfakh picks up on a Ben Smith Politico post about how S&S “doesn’t seem to have suffered any collateral damage, or provoked public complaints from any of its prominent liberal authors,” after the publication of Corsi’s Obama Nation. So Smith chases down some of those “prominent liberal authors” and puts them on the spot—and, lo, Paul Begala, who’s publishing Third Term: Why George W. Bush ♥ John McCain with S&S next month, emails back that “Corsi deserves a thorough de-lousing.”

Of course, criticizing an author is nowhere near the same thing as criticizing his publisher, which you’ll notice Begala didn’t do—and, no, “I can assure you the folks at Threshold have had nothing to do with my upcoming book” doesn’t count. (Nor does having a spokesperson field Smith’s inquiries, which is how Hillary Clinton evaded the issue, especially when all it produces is a variant on Begala’s line.)

Neyfakh promises “more on this later in the week,” but we can spare you the anxiety: No serious liberal who has recently been paid, is currently being paid, or thinks he or she has halfway decent odds of being paid good money from Simon & Schuster is going to say anything genuinely negative about the company or anybody who works there except possibly Corsi’s editor, Mary Matalin. And that goes double for anybody who has Bob Barnett arranging their book deals. “Oh, that’s not my Simon & Schuster” is as harsh as it’s going to get, and Smith and Neyfakh will give this up by Friday at the latest to dedicate themselves to trying to peek inside Bob Woodward‘s book before the laydown date. If they haven’t already.

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