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A primer on the Bernstein-Eno feud

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More  July 9, 2012 07:40 AM

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The ongoing feud between David Bernstein of the Boston Phoenix and Rob Eno of Red Mass Group moves to the airwaves today as the bickering pair are scheduled to appear on the inaugural broadcast of WGBH's new live and local two hour midday show.

Bernstein and Eno have been at each other ever since Bernstein published a piece that lumped Eno in with what he called "the right-wing smear machine." Bernstein accused "pseudo-journalistic" conservative news organizations of engaging in reckless speculation, pushing conspiracies, and even generating "dirt out of whole cloth." He then cited the way conservative outlets covered two lesser known controversies surrounding Warren while barely touching on the American Indian story.

He did have some nice words for Eno:

Eno, to be fair, does try to distinguish the credible from the conspiratorial. There are plenty of popular right-wing sites he won't touch, and he makes more efforts than most to seek out responses before posting his own material.

Eno, along with the others accused in the piece, strongly objected to Bernstein's take and raised a big stink about the American Indian story even though it is barely mentioned in his piece.

Bernstein shot back saying that the subjects of his piece were responding angrily to an imaginary article.

So here's an invitation to conservatives who have criticized the article: please try again, but this time respond to the actual content of the article, rather than the imaginary article you invented and ascribed to me. Or, admit that you're not interested in truth and fairness. Your move.

Eno and William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection took on his challenge and responded.

Eno took issue with Bernstein's insistence that the smear machine on the left is not comparable.

When a story is proven false, Red Mass Group will, when notified, print a retraction. Red Mass Group will strive, when reporting original news, to get both sides of a story. Bernstein's insistence however, that what he describes as a "smear machine" exists only in the ether of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, is laughable on its face. The left was first, and is quite frankly better at it. The right is just catching up.

Jacobson accused Bernstein of trying to discredit the coverage of the American Indian story by conservative outlets by going after them for their coverage of minor stories while not touching the Cherokee scandal.

Do you really care about the book accusation or the Press Secretary’s Twitter account? Of course not. You tried to play it cute by diverting the discussion to other issues, just like Warren does when she is asked about the Cherokee issue.

You tried to undermine the scrutiny of Warren on the Cherokee issue without having to defend her on the Cherokee issue, and instead attacking the messengers as part of a “right-wing smear machine.”

Bernstein hasn't responsed to their latest rebuttals.

Full disclosure: I used to write for RedMassGroup and have had Bernstein and Eno on my radio show several times. I am a paid contributor to WGBH.

Clarification: This post originally said Eno took issue with Bernstein's insistence that there is no smear machine on the left. Bernstein said that there is one but it is not comparable to the one on the right. A change has been made to reflect that.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Garrett Quinn began writing for newspapers at age 17 with CNC in his native South Shore. He has been published in BlueMassGroup, RedMassGroup, Pioneer Investigates, and Wonkette. He is a More »

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