To the Editor:

In my few years in publishing, I’ve observed that it may be more agreeable—and much, much safer—to be the reader of, not the object of, a New York Observer article. A phone message from an Observer writer is so not a good turn of fortune.

In the event, however, Tom Scocca’s writing on me and the current work at the Atlantic [“Atlantic Owner Scours Country for Cinder-Editor,” Off the Record, Aug. 29–Sept. 5] was intelligent, professional and honest to what I said. It is that latter—my own performance in a Tom Scocca interview—that underserved.

This may be too finely tuned a sensitivity, but I worry that I have left behind the wrong impression: that is, that I might be of two minds about the talent of The Atlantic’s editorial staff in Boston. It would be hard for a communication to run further from my belief.

At least in this owner’s eyes, The Atlantic’s staff in Boston is extreme talent in the extreme. To walk into the North End offices is to see just what you would want to see for the country’s great literary magazine: a gathering of the most acute, elegant, reflective minds in literary journalism. I don’t know if the profession presents any better than in our editor, Cullen Murphy, and his 30 colleagues.

There are some measures of The Atlantic’s success more objective than my own appreciative opinion. Atlantic readership has grown 50 percent in four years. Atlantic newsstand sales have grown 250 percent across the period. The current editorial staff has won The Atlantic’s own record number of National Magazine Awards. The title makes the “Top 10 Hottest Magazines” list of all the major publishing trade papers—sitting unobviously with Lucky, Maxim and Sports Illustrated Español. And writing on the magazine’s success, The New York Times offered: “Atlantic is on a tear like no other in its history … ,” an observation we manage to work into even the most casual conversation.

My decision to move The Atlantic to Washington and thereby join it to the 300 writers, editors and magazine professionals we have here is about matters of scale. If we employed 300 in Boston and 30 in Washington, my family would be pricing Back Bay real estate this holiday weekend.

David G. Bradley


Atlantic Media

Washington, D.C.

No Joke

To the Editor:

Sheelah Kolhatkar’s article [“Hitchens Manning Iraq Barricades in Siege at Home,” Aug. 29–Sept. 5] on the intellectuals and Iraq reports that I responded “half-jokingly” to a question about my own views by saying, “I have to go now.” This is a mistake. There was nothing halfway about my joke. It was entirely a joke. Asked whether I had changed my views, I told Ms. Kolhatkar flat-out that I had not. I have always thought that Al Qaeda and the Baath are fascists, and it is right to fight against them. I have always criticized and opposed Bush, beginning prewar, for doing a miserable job of it. I have always called on the Democrats and the left to offer an alternative to Bush’s incompetence.

Paul Berman

Brooklyn Letters