Dafydd ab Hugh interviews Linton Weeks

Dafydd ab Hugh has alerted us to today’s Washington Post story by Linton Weeks on Hillary Clinton’s soon-to-be-published memoirs: “Senator Clinton’s memoir to hit stores in June.” Mr. ab Hugh reports that he phoned Weeks to follow up on his suspicions that the manuscript may not exist. Mr. ab Hugh’s account follows:
I just got off the phone with Linton Weeks, the reporter at the Post who wrote the story about Hillary’s book. It was a very odd conversation. When I asked if he had actually asked the publisher or editor or anyone whether the manuscript had actually been handed in, his response was, “what is the motive for you asking me this question?”
I pressed him, noting that the simple statement had not appeared in his story, and he said, “well, people I trust said the book was at the printer. They wouldn’t have said that if there weren’t a book, would they?”
I said there are several steps: the manuscript must be handed in, edited, typeset, and then finally sent to the printer. Again I asked, did anyone at S&S actually say that the manuscript had been plopped down on someone’s desk.
“Well I don’t know,” said Weeks; “it could have been sent electronically.”
(Sigh) “Mr. Weeks, I’m just trying to find out whether a manuscript was actually, physically received by the publisher. I’ve written many books, and I always send a manuscript, whether electronically or on paper. Did you actually ask anyone whether there was a manuscript received?”
“People I trust said the book was at the printer. I guess I don’t understand your motive for asking this question.”
“I’m just trying to find out. I thought it was a little strange that neither in your story today, nor in the story published yesterday, did a simple statement appear that a manuscript had been delivered.”
“I’ve written dozens of stories about books, and I have /never/ written
such a sentence!”
“Look, we’ve all be awaiting J.K. Rowling’s fifth Harry Potter book, right? Well, when she finally handed in the manuscript for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, that was the lead line in nearly every story: that she had finally handed in the manuscript we’d been awaiting. Now we’ve been waiting for a Hillary manuscript for a couple of years now… I just want to know whether you asked the editor or publisher the question, ‘did she actually send a manuscript?’”
“I don’t know if she personally sent it. Maybe somebody else sent it.”
“But did you ask if a manuscript arrived?”
“I think I’ve already answered your question. What is your motive for asking it?”
“I guess that’s the best I’m going to get. I’m sorry for taking up so much of your time, Mr. Weeks.”
“Can you please spell your name?”

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