Hanging up on the New Yorker [updated with word from VDH]

I noted on Power Line that I was sideswiped by the New Yorker’s Benjamin Wallace-Wells earlier this year. I also noted that Victor Davis Hanson was blindsided by the New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner around the same time.

I wish Israel’s former Ambassador to the United States and former Deputy Prime Minister Michael Oren had been following along on Power Line. He might have avoided Chotiner’s call this past Friday for an interview to discuss Prime Minister Benjamin “Netanyahu’s recent electoral victory and the state of politics in Israel.” It didn’t take long for Ambassador Oren to figure out that he had made a mistake taking Chotiner’s call. He terminated the interview and hung up on Chotiner.

Like Chotiner’s interview with VDH, Chotiner’s interview with Oren has been “edited for length and clarity.” This is how the interview ended according to Chotiner’s edited transcript (I have inserted the speakers’ names):

Amb. Oren: Listen, I don’t think I want to continue this interview. I don’t think this is a constructive interview. You can do with it—I would like to request you withdraw it. I don’t think you are actually interested in anything I have to say. And that’s been my experience with The New Yorker all the time. You guys are just into delegitimization. You are not really interested. Why don’t we call it quits right here, and I will pull this interview? I am relying on you to do that, as a journalist.

Chotiner: I have some other questions you might be interested in.

Amb. Oren: I’m sorry, I am not interested, because you are not interested in anything I have to say. I get it. I get what you are trying to do. You are not actively participating. That’s it. Let’s just pull it.

Chotiner: You don’t even want to hear my other questions?

Amb. Oren: Nah, not really.

Chotiner: I am curious about American-Israeli relations.

Amb. Oren: But you are not interested in this; you are not actually interested in what I have to say. And I can see already you are going to put things in my mouth that you have taken out of context.

Chotiner: I am not going to take anything out of context.

Amb. Oren: Sure you are. You already have in the questions. Your questions are hostile, but they are not even informed hostile. You are not that good. So let’s just pull it, and we will call it quits, and please don’t call me again. Take care. [Hangs up.]

Moral of the story: If Isaac Chotiner calls, save yourself the trouble of returning his call.

SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE, VICTOR DAVIS HANSON ADVISES BY EMAIL: “If Chotiner makes numerous calls and sends emails, go with your original and initial instincts that he is a disingenuous and snarky performance artist, not a journalist. We can be sure the tone and substance of his outreach were toadyish and insidious too. Thanks for reminding people he needs a warning label given his toxicity.”


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