GQ editor Dylan Jones has described as "rather sad and silly" a Sunday Times article by Cosmo Landesman, in which he is attacked for his "ruthless pursuit of publicity and self-promotion".
Jones was responding to a piece in last weekend's News Review, in which Landesman suggested that Jones is the "main culprit in a deafening roar of back-slapping and mutual promotion in the media".
Landesman accused "the Dylan Jones Network" of a "you publish me/I publish you/we promote each other" mentality. He cited Jones's recent appointment of Spectator editor Matthew D'Ancona to the GQ political correspondent role as evidence of mutual back-scratching, because Jones occasionally writes the political weekly's diary.
Landesman said making David Cameron a GQ cover star in May this year sealed Cameron's public support for Jones. He also cited GQ columnists and contributors Boris Johnson, Piers Morgan and Simon Kelner as part of the media clique, ruled over by Jones as "the Sultan of Schmooze".
He added: "The Dylan Jones Network is not dedicated to great journalism or innovative ideas in popular culture. It has one raison d'être: the ruthless pursuit of publicity for products, and self-promotion for the people in the Jones camp."
Jones said Landesman, who used to contribute to GQ, must have been upset by the rejection of an idea for an article in the magazine.
He said: "Hell hath no fury like an ageing hack spurned. I've known Cosmo for some time and he has always been highly complimentary about GQ, and occasionally written for it. A while ago he suggested writing something for the magazine that I wasn't interested in. I forget what it was, but obviously Cosmo hasn't. I can only assume Cosmo is upset and thinks he has now had his revenge, although his piece struck everyone here as rather sad and silly."
The piece was written in response to a new book on style and etiquette written by Jones, called Mr Jones' Rules: How to be a Modern Man.
Landesman said the article was not retaliation for a pitch being rejected, adding that it was he who had declined to take part in a GQ photoshoot for a collection of writers. He said: "It wasn't a revenge piece and not the response of a vindictive journalist. It was nothing personal.
I like Dylan, but it's about an issue. "He embodies a trend in PR-led journalism. It's about what he represents. It struck everyone I know as funny and spot on."