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So, Who Is Lying? Dowd or Halperin/Heilemann?

Sunday, January 31, 2010  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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My review of Mark Haleprin and Robert Heilemann’s Game Change is here. Today, the New York Times’ “Public Editor” Clark Hoyt got around to some of the issues the book raises, including one involving Maureen Dowd. The story within the story is nine paragraphs long:

I was curious about one incident involving Maureen Dowd, the star Times Op-Ed columnist, who in early 2007 quoted David Geffen, the Hollywood mogul, disowning Bill and Hillary Clinton. Geffen, who raised millions for Bill Clinton and then became disenchanted, said of both Clintons, “Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it’s troubling.” The column had an enormous impact at the time.[# More #]

According to “Game Change,” Dowd persuaded Geffen to give her an interview by telling him that, when it was over, if he did not want her to use it, she would not. She read the finished column to Geffen, the book said, warned him it would be explosive and asked if he wanted to take back anything. If true, Dowd would, in effect, have surrendered editorial control to her source, an unacceptable situation.

The book also implied that Dowd attended a private $2,300-per-person Obama fund-raiser the following night. Afterward, it said, she was among a small group of 35 who “repaired to Geffen’s mansion” for a dinner for the Obamas.

Dowd said it didn’t happen that way. “I never gave David Geffen veto power over the column,” she said. She said she did not read the column to him, warn him that it would be explosive or ask if he wanted to take back his words, and she did not attend the Hollywood fund-raising event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. She was a guest at the dinner later, she said, although the candidate’s camp sought to have her barred.

Dowd said that, as is often her practice, she told Geffen which quotes she was using and checked them for accuracy and context. He had been unsure whether he wanted to say some of the things he told her but agreed to all of it, she said.

Geffen, who did not want to get embroiled in a controversy among journalists, would only say: “I don’t think anyone imagines Maureen would allow anyone to edit her column. I certainly didn’t.”

Dowd said the authors did not interview her for the book but that Halperin called at some point to “check a few -but not all -of the details.”

So, what is a person to believe: someone speaking on the record, or the word of -whom? And what does it say about other parts of “Game Change?”

Halperin and Heilemann would not answer specific questions about the discrepancies in the accounts. “We stand by everything that’s in the book,” Halperin said. That response, he said, was ” a serious, considered answer” made necessary by promises to sources. While refusing to confirm that anyone had called Dowd, Heilemann said all the fact-checking was done while the book was still being written and while changes could be made.

Someone’s lying. But because it is a MSM family spat involving three lefties all living in the Manhattan-Beltway Bubble, it will be allowed to simply fade away.

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