Roger L. Simon

Phillip Bennett Responds

The other day I was pretty hard on Phillip Bennett about what the Washington Post editor allegedly said in an interview with China’s People’s Daily. Now Bennett has responded to a query from Hugh Hewitt with his own transcription of that interview which does not entirely comport with the one published by the Chinese. I leave it to you to decide what you think of Bennett’s real statements, but I am curious about what the editor of the Washington Post expected. I have been interviewed on several occasions by the controled press – by the Chinese themselves in 1978 and four or five times by Soviet publications between 1986-1990. In every case my words were distorted to one degree or another (they have been here too!). I was not surprised in any of the cases and back in the ’78 interview it didn’t even bother me (I was in synch with the Chinese in those days, to some extent anyway). But I was a private citizen — a left-leaning novelist/screenwriter and fully aware of what was happening. The Managing Editor of the Washington Post is someone rather different. He speaks for one of the most important newspapers in America. I am amazed he could have been so naive, but then maybe I shouldn’t be. I believed the interview was accurate.

UPDATE: Several people have emailed to say the differences between Bennett’s version and the Chinese version to be small. I am in between.