Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"The New Nixon" Improves "Nixonland"

In an interview (actually, an exchange of e-mails) with the editor of the History News Network, Nixonland author Rick Perlstein tips his hat to "The New Nixon," the blog I launched in February 2008 at the Nixon Foundation:
I actually quite appreciated most of what was said at the New Nixon blog. New Nixon blogger Jack Pitney made several useful corrections in particular I was able to incorporate into six subsequent printings.
Less popular with the distinguished author was the revelation by your (still on hiatus) Episconixonian correspondent last July that Perlstein had altered the meaning of a quotation from another book to make it appear as though President Nixon had known in advance about a plan to break into the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist in September 1971. Perlstein told HNN:
[Dr. Taylor's] right on the narrow point, but I think more broadly the preponderance of the evidence suggests that Nixon probably knew what was going on.
Which prompted me to reply to Perlstein:
I appreciate that you think the preponderance of evidence suggests RN [knew] about the Fielding job in advance, but there's actually no evidence that he did. My lack of historical training and a Ph.D notwithstanding (although your describing me as Dr. Taylor was a mighty buzz), I don't think your gut call on Nixon's complicity is a justification for making a secondary source sound like he's saying what he actually didn't say.

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