Goldberg, Greenwald Spar Post-On Point on Israel, Iran

Looks like we touched off a war of sorts — yikes! Tensions are running high between two big blogosphere figures, following our segment Thursday, “Airstrikes, Israel, and Iran.”


Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg spoke with host Tom Ashbrook about his controversial new article, “Israel is Getting Ready to Bomb Iran.”  As he fended off criticisms of his current reporting and his previous work, he singled out Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald for what he said was one particularly spurious line of attack. (Note: Greenwald has made appearances on On Point, too.)


Greenwald responded with a fiery blog post titled “Jeffrey Goldberg’s Fabrication on NPR,” and then posted their subsequent email exchange, apparently without Goldberg’s permission (which has become another point of dispute.) Goldberg eventually conceded the initial point (see below) and gave him an “I was wrong” — he claimed on air that Greenwald had retracted a certain point about the Israeli air raid on Iraq in 1981 — but the feud continues.

Anyway, here’s the internal cross-fire between them: 

Glenn to Jeff

Hello again – Several people emailed me about your discussion today on On Point, in which you stated I had issued a “retraction” of the criticism I made of your Atlantic piece, specifically the contradiction I maintain you wrote about the 1981 Israeli strike.

I don’t recall issuing any such retraction, and I’m pretty sure I’d recall it if I had done so. I’d like to write about this, so could you point me to my retraction? Thanks

-Glenn Greenwald


Jeff to Glenn

You’re right, I’m wrong. My apologies.

As I explained on my blog, I believe you are misreading one particular line in the Iran piece. The line, admittedly, isn’t clear enough, but I think most people understood me to mean that the Israelis consider the Osirak raid to have been particularly effective since Saddam ultimately never fulfilled his nuclear ambitions. I should have added an extra line to explain that more clearly.
It does seem outlandish to think, doesn’t it, that Jeffrey Goldberg, of all people, would believe that Saddam Hussein was defanged in 1981. I mean, I still think he’s a threat, and he’s dead. Or so they say, at least. xxoo, Jeff
And then there’s Jeff’s response on his own blog:

Glenn Greenwald, Meshuggeneh (UPDATED)

Aug 20 2010, 8:42 AM ET

Enough already. My dear friend Glenn Greenwald continues to allege, despite all evidence and logic to the contrary, that I believe that Israel’s Osirak attack ended Saddam’s desire for nuclear weapons in 1981. I can’t seem to convince him otherwise, so I’m going to stop trying. It is true that I said on NPR that I thought Greenwald retracted the claim; I was wrong, obviously. I was confusing him with someone else. I made a mistake. I wish Glenn Greenwald had the capacity to write the words “I made a mistake” in reference to his ridiculous claims about me.

Anyway, that’s it. I might revisit the Glenn Greenwald psychodrama one more time, just for fun. But he’s incapable of reason; incapable of fairness; incapable of understanding complexity. My friends in journalism who have been targets of his attacks warned me against trying to reason with him. They were right, and I was wrong, again.

UPDATE: I just noticed that Glenn Greenwald posted our private e-mail exchange, without asking me if that would be okay. Very nice.

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