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Hustler Interview Context


Noam, can you tell folks how it came about that you have an interview in Hustler and your feeings about it being there?


I give 100s of interviews. I received a letter from someone named Sinclair, requesting an interview for a journal that she described as “the most politically progressive, outspoken entertainment magazine today. We regularly feature exposés and articles from such writers as Pulitzer Prize winner David Cay Johnston; Greg Palast, the BBC reporter who broke the 2000 Election scandal in Florida; and Susie Bright, the famed feminist, author and activist. In the last year, we’ve exposed war profiteers, the Bush/Saudi royal family connections, election fraud, a nuclear waste cover-up scandal in Colorado, and the dirty secrets of the beef industry.”

I had never heard of the journal, but that is normal.

I wrote the usual form response asking her to contact my office to see if she could arrange an interview. There apparently was an interview, routine I suppose. I don’t remember anything about it. That’s the last I heard. I never got a transcript to look at, as is the normal procedure, so I assumed they had dropped the plan.

When I was informed that Hustler was planning to publish something — what, I do not know, since they never contacted me with their proposed version — and was told what the journal was, I had a letter sent to Sinclair insisting that they withdraw whatever they are planning to publish because they had completely misrepresented themselves, and also making it clear that I never would have agreed if I had known what the journal was; and that aside, they were not authorized to publish anything. There was no response.

That completes the series of events.

Of course, it is inconceivable to carry out investigations of the innumerable journals, radio programs, documentary producers, etc., that ask for interviews. Sometimes that naturally leads to errors. For example, very recently, I had an interview with a leading neo-Nazi journal in Germany that I’d never heard of, and that had presented itself to me as a mainstream journal of political affairs. Neo-Nazism, needless to say, is no small matter, particularly in Germany. They did send me a transcript to edit, in the normal fashion. When the interview appeared, I received a number of letters from people in Germany who were quite surprised. I described the facts, and that ended the matter.

As to how I felt about being misled in this way by a disgusting journal, the answer is: exactly as in the case of the neo-Nazi journal. Naturally one tries to avoid such travesties, but they are an inevitable consequence of trying to be as available as possible to inquiries — while, of course, lacking the time and resources to carry out investigations beforehand for very frequent interviews.

I should add, perhaps, that like all of us, I sometimes agree to interviews, even to publication, in journals that have an utter hideous role and record. I trust it is not necessary to give examples, or to explain why.

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