Sam Chips in His Two Cents on the Columbia Journalism Review Taking the Hartwig Challenge

I’m going to leave Sam alone this time.¬†ūüėȬ†His blog entry today shows that passion for insurance that¬†makes reading¬†Sam’s blog enjoyable. Today¬†he is not happy with Dean Starkman’s CJR story we profiled here earlier this week.

Three thoughts: Sam is no shill, not even close. The big time insurance shills are Hartwig and Rossmiller. I agree with Bob Hunter here 100%.

This battle–“pitting journalist against journalist,” as CJR characterized it–was detailed in an July 8 onlne CJR column by Dean Starkman. As part of his “audit,” he solicited my take via e-mail, and we had a rather lively but polite exchange. He also spoke with Bob Hartwig to hear out his complaints about the facts supporting the story.

Unfortunately, Mr. Starkman concluded that “a review by ‘The Audit’ found no significant factual errors and no errors at all involving the insurance industry. The [Insurance Information Institute’s] allegations are unfounded.” (You can read his entire post by clicking here.)

In his posting, he reported that “…where I saw strength, critics saw weakness. They believed the story lacked balance and unfairly used anecdotes, even if true, to tar an entire industry.” A point-by-point rebuttal by Mr. Hartwig and my blistering critique failed to convince him about the article’s shortcomings.

That’s really too bad. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

Mr. Starkman quoted me extensively in his piece, noting that: “In an e-mail to me, Friedman says that if he influenced the [Deadline] Club, ‘so be it.’‚ÄĚ