Seymour Hersh’s blockbuster articles used to appear in the New Yorker. Indeed, by his own account he was once apparently the star writer contributing to the magazine. “There was a point with the New Yorker where I thought they should rename the fucking magazine the Seymour Hersh Weekly,” Hersh told Isaac Chotiner in an interview for Slate.
Why the New Yorker no longer publishes Hersh’s major articles is a question for which Hersh offers no clear answer.
“I am the one that decided to publish it wherever the hell I please,” he says, implying that his latest report on the killing of Osama bin Laden had not been declined by anyone.
Dylan Byers reports, however:
Sources with knowledge of the matter said Monday that Hersh began pitching the magazine on the story years ago and that The New Yorker declined it on the grounds that it didn’t hold up to scrutiny. The New Yorker similarly declined Hersh’s 2013 article, also published in the London Review of Books, alleging that the Obama administration “cherry-picked intelligence” from the chemical attack in Syria in order to make the case for attacking President Bashar Assad.
Hersh would like people to believe that he’s the victim of some kind of conspiracy — that his work is too hot to handle for any American publisher and thus he has to turn to more courageous publications such as the London Review of Books.
But when pressed on the issue, it becomes clear that just as much as he wants to posture as an outspoken maverick, he nevertheless seems to have difficulty giving straight answers to straight questions:
Chotiner: If people here are turning down stories because of certain politics — you yourself said it was easier in Europe — that is a story that should be written.
Hersh: Now you said the first intelligent thing you have said. If you had asked whether he [David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker] didn’t run this because he is in love with Obama and all that stuff that people think, no … It is a very good question. Although we have huge disagreements. My children and I have huge disagreements. I have a huge disagreement with my dog. We have a lot of disagreements and there are times when he will call me and I will not answer the call. Oh fuck hold on. He always has said to me he welcomes any information and it was I who said fuck it.
Chotiner: OK but you have talked about the New Yorker’s Americana and said my question was a good one, so is there something to it?
Hersh: I think it is a great question.
Chotiner: So what do you think of it?
Hersh: I just told you what I think. In the case of the Bin Laden story, he is open for anything. It was I who made the decision.
Chotiner: I feel like you are telling me two different things. One is that you get less pressure in Europe, and the other is that this story would have been fine at the New Yorker.
Hersh: So fine, I am glad you are confused. Write whichever one makes you happy.