Taylor: Start the Feud With Jonathan Alter Without Me
Writing on his Episconixonian blog, Taylor notes that Alter reprints his April 1994 Nixon obit "and writes in a blurb that some had accused him of spitting on RN's grave. He adds that the director of the Nixon Library, 'the friend I tapped to bring Nixon to Newsweek in 1988,' had never spoken to him again." Taylor apologizes if he did not get the passage entirely correct, word for word, noting that he did not buy Alter's book. But you get the gist, and the gist "confounded" Taylor.
Taylor has a different recollection on how Nixon made his way into Newsweek, crediting Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham with tapping the former president for magazine's famous "He's Back" cover, although Alter did write the story. Taylor also did not remember ever reading Alter's 1994 obit, and, "As for my never talking to Alter again, I don't know why I necessarily would have, since we didn't have a social relationship."
That matters not because Alter and Taylor did speak again, a year or two after Nixon's death, when they debated each other on cable television, Taylor writes. "I expected the conversation to be reasonably friendly, since we did know each other, but Jonathan had a better understanding than I of the emerging etiquette of cable news channels," Taylor recalled. "He ripped into Nixon and taunted me personally for defending him. If Alter means I hadn't talked to him since that episode, he's right. Actually, I've always assumed that he wouldn't have wanted to talk to me."