Wayne Barrett Isn't Pissed At Michael Isikoff After All!
There's a feud brewing between Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett and Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff over who broke the story about Rudy Giuliani's ties to terror-financiers in the Middle East. Or so a bunch of catty mainstream publications' blogs would have you think!
"If you got a strong sense of dèja vu when reading Michael Isikoff's "The Qatari Connection" in this week's Newsweek, it may be because you read Wayne Barrett's "Rudy's Ties to a Terror Sheik" in last week's Voice," reads an annoyed post up this morning on the Voice's daily blog.
New York magazine's Daily Intel is criticizing Isikoff for using quotes similar to those in Barrett's story; in particular, the Voice says, comments made by former CIA agent Robert Baer. Over at the Observer, newly-minted media editor Zach Roth asked Isikoff what the deal was. "The truth is I was aware of, and done reporting on all this, before the Village Voice piece," Isikoff replied in an email. "No intention to slight Wayne Barrett who was generously credited in our cover story on Rudy last week."
We rang Barrett up today to find out how slighted he actually felt. As it turns out, the answer is not at all, which is somewhat surprising in and of itself: In March, Barrett spent several hours speaking to Newsweek for a cover story on Giuliani and was furious when the piece mentioned the discussion only in passing.
"I don't have any quarrel with what Isikoff did," Barrett told us. "I've never spoken to the man in my life, and he's a fine journalist. If he says he was working on the story, then I accept it. He advanced the story, and that's the name of the game." Putting aside competition for the sake of the bigger picture? What means this?
"News stories are building blocks; I didn't invent this story," Barrett said. "I think I added greatly to it. That's what happened with news stories, people build on them."
As for the Baer quotes used in Isikoff's story, they actually bear more resemblance to a Thursday ABC.com blog post, written by Marcus Baram, who at one point interned for Barrett at the Voice. Baer is a consultant for ABC News, which pretty much rounds out this little media nexus.
In other Giuliani news, Vanity Fair's investigative piece (Disclosure: written by my brother) is online.
Earlier: 'Voice' And 'Vanity Fair' Are Tag Teaming Rudy Giuliani