The Mountains of Mourne
I'm off to where the Mountains o' Mourne sweep down to the sea.
(Picture from Walks in the Mournes.)
Likely no more posts before Independence Day.
I'm off to where the Mountains o' Mourne sweep down to the sea.
Earlier I reported that The New York Times apparently found it newsworthy that some Conservatives were plugging a book which casts aspersions on Senator Hillary Clinton. As the Times headline read, "Conservatives Promoting Anti-Clinton Book." (The AP headline in USA Today ran, "Conservatives tout anti-Hillary book.")
This is one of the most sordid volumes I've ever waded through. Thirty pages into it, I wanted to take a shower. Sixty pages into it, I wanted to be decontaminated. And 200 pages into it, I wanted someone to drive stakes through my eyes so I wouldn't have to suffer through another word.
We need a serious book about Hillary Clinton. Ed Klein's isn't it.
I have read the Hillary book by Ed Klein, which has been heavily dumped on by conservatives, and understandably.... The book is poorly written, poorly thought, poorly sourced and full of the kind of loaded language that is appropriate to a polemic but not an investigative work.
Senator Clinton is a politician with whom we've had our differences, but we don't mind saying that she has done nothing to deserve the kind of treatment she's received in a new book called "The Truth About Hillary." ...[W]e've rarely read a book about a serious politician with more of an off-putting smarminess.... [W]here is the decency here?
...We don't want to sound prudish. We relish a good scandal as much as anyone. But the kind of attack that this book levels against Mrs. Clinton strikes us as something different - and something that is not good for America. It is detached from policy. It discourages capable people from entering public service, knowing that they will be subject to this sort of personal denigration. It debases politics and government....
Folks, there are plenty of arguments against Hillary Clinton, her policies, her views, her proposals, and her philosophies. This stuff ain't it. Nobody on the right, left, or center ought to stoop to this level.
I am no defender of Hillary Rodham ClintonÂ?s, to put it mildly. But the recent charges in Ed KleinÂ?s book... are as crazy as the list that was circulating around of the 20 or so people the Clintons allegedly had killed.
These accusations do not belong in our public dialogue.
[I]t suddenly flashed through my mind that there might, conceivably, be circumstances in which I would vote for Hillary...And snow begins to fall in Hell...
Admit it, there's a case for cold-blooded ruthlessness in the White House. There are times you might want that -- really want it, more than you want strict-constructionist judges, more than you want federalism, more than you want to preserve marriage or restrain spending or keep women out of combat. Right after we lose our first city to a nuke, perhaps.
I still find it really, really hard to imagine myself voting for Hillary. Just not impossible.
I try to make a habit of reading lefty blogs better to understand various points of view. Too often what I learn is that a deep, deep suspicion, even hatred, of President Bush and his policies can lead to a distorted view of world affairs.
If this whole stupid, rotten, sordid Iraq fiasco had gone well, the long-term
consequences for the country and the world might have been even worse than they
will be if it goes badly.
An amusing account of grading AP exams:
The best exams, the ones that lighten our day, are those of the students who just don't care. Some students get to take the exams for free. Many of these haven't the faintest about the topic at hand. A subset of these spend their 100 minute period writing about their lives. Writing for people you'll never meet seems to be liberating. I've read bitter tirades directed against the entire male gender. I've read multiple loss-of-virginity accounts. I've read about drug use, crushes, future plans, baseball, football, cats, parents and whatever else you can imagine seventeen year olds caring about. All of these get zero points, but I always read them with great care.
Accuracy in Media has an overview article today on Victor Navasky running Columbia Journalism Review entitled "Leftist Takes Over Columbia Journalism Review." [Update: There is also a link to a radio version of the story available on the same page.] In a piece which expands on her earlier article for the One Republic Journal, Sherrie Gossett, associate editor of the AIM Report, gives much appreciated credit to this blog:
In another case of a blogger breaking a story and establishment media following up on it, a blogger known only as "David M" reported on May 31 that "Victor Navasky, publisher, editorial director and apparently co-owner of iconic left wing journal The Nation, is running the Columbia Journalism Review; however, he is not on the masthead."Gossett also bemoans the paucity of MSM coverage of the issue:
Apart from E&P and The New York Sun, there has been no coverage of the CJR-Navasky connection. One can imagine the broad coverage that would ensue would it be learned that some outspoken conservative was pulling the strings behind a major journalism's school's prime publication. Adding to the intrigue would be why was the relationship hidden from the public?And she draws on Laura Vanderkam's February piece in the DC Examiner, "Hammered: How blogs are shattering the arrogance of the Columbia Journalism Review and why that's good for journalism."
William Kristol is engaging in what he calls "somewhat well-informed speculation" that:
Paul Johnson has an essay on anti-Semitism in Commentary. I was struck by this list of contradictions. I've heard all these stereotypes before, but never thought of pairing them the way Johnson has:
Asked to explain why they hate Jews, anti-Semites contradict themselves. Jews are always showing off; they are hermetic and secretive. They will not assimilate; they assimilate only too well. They are too religious; they are too materialistic, and a threat to religion. They are uncultured; they have too much culture. They avoid manual work; they work too hard. They are miserly; they are ostentatious spenders. They are inveterate capitalists; they are born Communists. And so on. In all its myriad manifestations, the language of anti-Semitism through the ages is a dictionary of non-sequiturs and antonyms, a thesaurus of illogic and inconsistency.
Why did John Kerry refuse to grant The New York Sun access to to his Navy service files?
John Hinderaker at Power Line called Senator Dick Durbin's office today on the topic of the senator's recent comments comparing the actions of American troops at Guantanmo with the actions of Nazis, the Khmer Rouge and Soviets in their gulags, and to find out what explanation his office had for Durbin's remarks.
David M: I'm calling to convey my disappointment in Senator Durbin's comparisons on the Senate floor of the actions of US soldiers to the actions of the Nazis, Khmer Rouge and Soviets in the gulags. And to see if someone there can explain the rationale for the Senator using such charged comparisons.So, to summarize the aide's points, I'm upset because the media are slanted against Durbin and because I haven't read enough to understand the full context.
Staffer #1: I'll note your opinion. But I am not here to give the rationale.
David M: Is there someone there who can?
Staffer #1: Please hold. [Brief silence]
Staffer #2: Hello.
David M: Can you explain to me why the senator would use such charged language on the floor of the Senate--comparing the actions of US soldiers to the actions of Nazis, the Khmer Rouge and Soviets in the Gulag?
Staffer #2: I'd urge you to read the senator's remarks in full. He explains himself well.
David M: I've read everything I can find that the senator said on the topic.
Staffer #2: You should read the Congressional Record.
David M: I've read what you've put on your web site, including the senator's speech-- I believe it's there in full--where he made the remarks and then the follow-up statements by the senator on subsequent days. I still do not see any reason for the senator to have compared US soldiers' actions to those of some of the most murderous regimes of the past century. The senator knew those comparisons were charged with symbolism, and he made them anyway, and he has not retracted them. This seems inappropriate to me. And I suspect the bulk of Americans agree with me.
Staffer #2: I disagree.
David M: You think most Americans think it's okay to compare our soldiers to Nazis?
Staffer #2: You said "the bulk." That means much more than a simple majority.
David M: I'm not sure it means that. But in any case, do you think a simple majority of Americans think it is okay to compare US soldiers to Nazis? Do folks in your office think it's okay?
Staffer #2: I can't speak for the others, but I think what the senator said, in context of his speech, was appropriate. The reason people are so upset about this is because they've received a slanted view of what the senator said.
David M: But I've read the senator's actual words, in context. And I've read his follow-up comments. How then are my feelings colored by slanted coverage?
Staffer #2: You likely read slanted coverage before you read the full speech.
David M: So are you telling me that, despite that I read the senator's words myself, the only reason I could be upset with the senator's words is that I've gotten a slanted view from the media?
Staffer #2: Well, what I'm saying is [pause] Click. [Dead line.]
Condoleezza Rice spoke about democracy today in Cairo:
For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East -- and we achieved neither. Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people.(Via Hofer.)
Seems like this is something Glenn Reynolds should be blogging. It is a project aiming
to develop the nano-scale tools needed to create a 'tissue machine' - a device using stem cells that could produce, for the first time, a specific population of cells or tissue needed to heal a variety of ailments.Sounds cool.
"Imagine that we could transplant into a patient's body new cartilage or bone to reverse spinal cord damage, or heart muscle tissue to repair a damaged heart," says Benayahu of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology. "The research we're doing could turn that vision into reality."
Stephen Moore writes a piece entitled, "Real Tax Cuts Have Curves: The economy booms, and Arthur Laffer has the last laugh":
Earlier this month the Congressional Budget Office released its latest report on tax revenue collections. The numbers are an eye-popping vindication of the Laffer Curve and the Bush tax cut's real economic value. Federal tax revenues surged in the first eight months of this fiscal year by $187 billion. This represents a 15.4% rise in federal tax receipts over 2004. Individual and corporate income tax receipts have exploded like a cap let off a geyser, up 30% in the two years since the tax cut. Once again, tax rate cuts have created a virtuous chain reaction of higher economic growth, more jobs, higher corporate profits, and finally more tax receipts.But on the down side, Moore (like Allister Heath) also writes,
The CBO also reports that federal expenditures are up $110 billion, or 7.2%, so far this year as the congressional Republican spending spree rolls on.I wish the Republicans would walk the walk of smaller government. It's shameful that the party of small government controls Congress and the presidency and still cannot--or will not--cut the size of non-defense related federal government.
Was the FBI's Mark Felt--Deep Throat--charged with the mission of unearthing and stopping himself?
Victor Navasky, in an interview in yesterday's Boston Globe:
To me, if you leave out inconvenient facts, if you stack the deck, it's intellectually dishonest, it has nothing to do with being open about your political values.An interesting sentiment, especially in light of the Navasky's not wanting to be put on the masthead of Columbia Journalism Review, a publication he was running behind the scenes. As readers of this blog know, Navasky is now running CJR openly, since his role there was outed by the blogosphere.
You have to figure that either A) The questioner didn't know, or B) The questioner didn't care. Hard to ascertain which is worse. I'd guess "all of the above." The questioner didn't know and if he knew, he wouldn't care.Ouch.
You'd think CJR would bend over backwards to avoid even the appearance of bias or conflict of interest. Instead, CJR's atttitude is "Sure we're biased. Sure we're hypocrites. What do you expect? Look who (isn't) at the top of our masthead!"Heh.
An organization called K12 Teaching is advertising a book apparently entitled,
Ensure gramar [sic], punctuation, spelling, format, etc., are perfect and appropriate for the medium, purpose, occasion, and audience.Oops.
The New York Times is shocked that Conservatives are promoting an anti-Hillary book:
Conservatives Promoting Anti-Clinton Book(Via The Buzz.)
Republican and conservative activists are behind a vigorous campaign to promote a controversial new biography about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, with some even suggesting that the book will help dash any presidential aspirations she might have.
John Podhoretz calls John Stewart's latest, "A brilliant denunciatory monologue." Betsy Newmark writes, "He is absolutely right. I hope everyone is paying attention.... he's very funny and spot on."
Allister Heath writing in The Scotsman:
IT IS one of the big, untold stories of the global economy. America's public finances are improving at last, to the great relief of the White House but to the puzzlement of much of the commentariat, which cannot fathom how tax cuts can possibly go hand in hand with a smaller budget deficit.Heath continues by ripping Bush and Congress for not stemming spending. Go read it.
The US budget shortfall fell to $35.3bn (£19.4bn) in May, down 43.5% on the $62.5bn seen during the same month last year, thanks to a continuing surge in tax revenues. This year's deficit was the smallest May shortfall since the $27.9bn seen in May 2001, which was also the last year the government ran a budget surplus. This is a much better outcome than almost anybody was forecasting; it follows a series of US tax relief packages between 2001 and 2003, making the lower deficit all the more surprising to most analysts.
This apparent paradox has a simple explanation: President Bush's 2003 tax cuts played an important role in boosting economic growth and share prices; in turn, this triggered an explosion in tax receipts which is now compensating for the revenue lost originally. Of course, there are other reasons why the US economy has bounced back, including the strong international recovery and normal cyclical effects. But there is no doubt that the tax cuts helped a great deal.
Former Soviet prisoner of conscience Pavel Litvinov commenting on Amnesty International's calling Guantanamo Bay prison the "gulag of our time":
But by using hyperbole and muddling the difference between repressive regimes and the imperfections of democracy, Amnesty's spokesmen put its authority at risk.Unfortunately Amnesty's authority has been compromised for some time.
Lest you think the Arab press might have missed the recent remarks of Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) comparing US military actions to those of the Nazis, Pol Pot and the Soviets in their gulags:
What is clear and obvious however is the overwhelming evidence of torture, extreme physical and psychological abuse and unlawful methods used by interrogators reported by human rights groups, Amnesty International, former detainees, X-military personnel and FBI secret reports that were leaked to the press on the conditions in Guantanamo. Sen. Dick Durbin made a comment on the Senate floor comparing the actions of American soldiers at Guantanamo Bay to Nazis, Soviet gulags and a “mad regime” like Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot’s in Cambodia. Amnesty International, also, branded the facility the “gulag of our times”.
During a speech on Tuesday, Durbin, the Senate's number two Democrat, quoted from an FBI agent's report describing detainees at the naval base in Cuba as being chained to the floor without food or water in extreme temperatures.
"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others - that had no concern for human beings."
Durbin is not alone in his criticism.
Human-rights groups have long accused the administration of unjustly detaining suspects at the prison camp. Amnesty International last month called the detention centre the "gulag of our times".
Columbia Journalism Review's blog, CJR Daily, has still not posted a single item on the CJR/Navasky affair. Do they think it is unimportant? Are they scared of annoying their new boss?
Paul McLeary of Columbia Journalism Review's CJR Daily in a post entitled "What You Don't Know Can Hurt You":
The sin of omission is a cardinal one among reporters....The quote is in reference to a New York Times article which McLeary thinks leans too far right. Stephen Spruiell of National Review's Media Blog takes issue with McLeary's analysis, which Spruiell thinks leans too far left.
And while we’re on the subject of “spins of omission,” CJR doesn’t have much room to talk, given the glaring sin of omission at CJR that blogger David M uncovered last week.Heh.
Senate Democrats, despite their minority status, have begun to achieve something which Republicans have only dreamed of -- a U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations.Heh.
Thanks to a Democrat filibuster on John Bolton's nomination as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., the United States has effectively disengaged from the global peacemaking body, leaving Republican strategists scrambling to reclaim ownership of the 'U.S.-out-of-U.N.' movement.
John Hawkins has unearthed a classic thread from far-left community site, Democratic Underground. Here's a comment from one DU member commenting on Republicans:
EVERYTHING with me is about politics. If they vote repuke, that is not anyone I would EVER want as a friend. They're disgusting human beings. They hate anyone who isn't white, Christian, heterosexual, rich, and they are the most SELFISH, hateful, GREEDY group of people I've ever seen. AND they are ANTI-CHOICE! WHY the hell would I want to be friends with someone who stands for everything I hate? That just doesn't make sense. I have NO repuke friends and never will. I can't stand the very ground they walk on and they are all a waste of oxygen."(Link via Betsy's Page.)
Heather MacDonald (whose writing on homeland security I greatly admire), comments on Harvard University's recent $50 million pledge for faculty diversity efforts:
The university would have been better off hiring a top-notch conjuror, since only magic could produce a trove of previously undiscovered female and minority academic stars suitable for tenuring.
I'm shocked, shocked!, to find that Iran lied about its plutonium processing activities.
This clip of a Saudi TV interview of an Egyptian historian, translated by MEMRI, would be funny if it weren't real.
When someone named "Dr. J" offered to write a column for the Wall Street Journal, the editors did know that he wasn't a PhD, right? Just asking.
In "Explaining the blog effect to the media," Hugh Hewitt wrote,
I have been a journalist for 15 years, in television, radio, print, and now text, and that of all the platforms, the blogosphere was the most accountable. The blogosphere has tremendous forces working to assure accuracy and almost instant correction of error, so that the blogosphere is really far more accountable than any of the other platforms. Its opinions are sharp, as are the elbows, but there are very few hidden biases. They are all out in the open.
Accuracy in Media's Sherrie Gossett has a piece on the CJR/Navasky kerfuffle in The One Republic Journal today. She calls the story,
another case of a blogger breaking a story and establishment media following up on it.But for the most part, I'm still waiting for establishment media to follow up...
Here is what Paul Krugman, one of the fiercest critics of President Bush's proposals to migrate Social Security toward a system of private accounts, wrote in 1997 (my emphasis):
I like Freeman's idea of providing each individual with a trust fund when young rather than retirement benefits when old, but we had better realize that this is a significant change in the character of the social insurance system. Social Security is structured from the point of view of the recipients as if it were an ordinary retirement plan: what you get out depends on what you put in. So it does not look like a redistributionist scheme. In practice it has turned out to be strongly redistributionist, but only because of its Ponzi game aspect, in which each generation takes more out than it put in. Well, the Ponzi game will soon be over, thanks to changing demographics, so that the typical recipient henceforth will get only about as much as he or she put in (and today's young may well get less than they put in).Of course in 1997, it was not Bush who was proposing personal accounts.
VodkaPundit's Will Collier comments on the CJR/Navasky story in a post entitled "Oh, That Liberal Media
And Collier's critique gets yet harsher in the paragraphs that follow.
Let's review, shall we?
The self-appointed "watchdog of the press in all its forms" hires, at least a year ago, the long-time director of a radical left-wing magazine to run its operations. Said watchdog doesn't announce this hiring, or disclose the presence of the hard-left publisher until he's outed by a blogger (or "drooling moron," in CJR's preferred parlance) at the end of last month.
CJR continued to stonewall on admitting to the hiring in its own pages for ten days, and gave no reason to believe that it would have revealed the presence of former Nation publisher Victor Navasky at the top of its organization if a blogger hadn't sniffed him out.
I just learned that CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) has a blog, Snapshots. And Snapshots is covering the CJR/Navasky story in a post entitled "Blogosphere Keeps MSM Accountable." A snippet:
Presumably, that means CJR encourages transparency in the media. Yet clearly it seems to be the blogosphere that watches the MSM and its watchdogs, including CJR.Go read it all.
Founded in 1982, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America is a media-monitoring, research and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East. CAMERA fosters rigorous reporting, while educating news consumers about Middle East issues and the role of the media. Because public opinion ultimately shapes public policy, distorted news coverage that misleads the public can be detrimental to sound policymaking. A non-partisan organization, CAMERA takes no position with regard to American or Israeli political issues or with regard to ultimate solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean have been doing a lot lately to energize their bases at the expense of broadening their tents. Is it part of a grand strategy?
Clinton is likely the next Democratic nominee for president. Mr. Dean is the head of the Democratic Party. They are important and powerful. They may one day run the country. It is disturbing that they speak as they do.Via Betsy Newmark, who thinks the media let the left get away with more than the right.
How do people who are not part of the Democratic base react to their statements? I think something like this: What's wrong with these people? Don't they understand they lower things with their name calling and bitter language? If this is how they feel free to present themselves in public, what will they do and say in private if they ever run the country?
The lead editorial in the current Columbia Journalism Review (which came out before it was revealed that left-liberal ideologist Victor Navasky was running the publication behind the scenes) has some delicious and unintended irony.
Honest journalism must make its case.Um, what about being honest about who is running CJR?
It’s Time to Reconnect the Press and the PublicHere's a tip for a first step: When you make a pretense of letting the public know who is running your organization by publishing a masthead, you may want to put on the masthead the name of the guy who is running the organization. And no points for putting him on only after you are embarrassed into doing so.
If we want people on our side, in other words, we have to do work that actually benefits them. And we have to explain ourselves.OK, we're waiting, CJR. Please explain yourself. Your recent attempt to do so was too late and fell far short of the mark.
Of course, in response to No. 1, it's also the closest I could come to a public acknowledgment that someone else wrote the editorial. Cheers, JamesThe "No. 1" to which he is responding is my comment that a piece he wrote "seems as close as Taranto can come, without violating Journal policy, to a public acknowledgment that he wrote the editorial."
This being a family-friendly blog, I'll just post the link.
A few months ago, Laura Vanderkam (of Reader's Digest and USA Today) wrote a column in The (DC) Examiner entitled,
Hammered: How blogs are shattering the arrogance of the Columbia Journalism Review and why that's good for journalismAs I have written before, how appropriate.
Friday, June 3, 2005
Told ya so: Columbia Journalism Review does lean left
Some folks are just lucky. Big stories bury smaller stories that might otherwise raise eyebrows. With media critics swooning over Deep Throat, few will notice another story involving politics, the media and a clandestine adviser.
On Wednesday, Editor & Publisher's Graham Webster confirmed that Victor Navasky, publisher of left-wing journal The Nation, has been "working behind the scenes in a key, if uncredited, role at the Columbia Journalism Review." Brought in by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism dean Nicholas Lemann, Navasky was originally tapped to shore up CJR’s weak finances. But his role has evolved, and now both CJR’s publisher and executive editor actually report to Navasky. He does not, however appear on the masthead.
He will appear there next issue as "Chairman." It’s not just that CJR contributors such as Scott Sherman and Trudy Lieberman also write for The Nation. The head of The Nation is in fact overseeing CJR!
But you have to wonder if CJR ever planned to announce its publisher answers to The Nation’s publisher, if E&P hadn’t picked up the story. The current CJR excerpts Navasky’s new book, "A Matter of Opinion," and merely notes in the middle of his bio that he "serves as a financial and editorial advisor to this magazine." A conservative blogger named “David M” received a tip about that information, smelled something funny and decided to dig deeper into the relationship.
“Imagine this scenario,” David M wrote on his Web site. “A supposedly unbiased publication is being run by someone with a clear political bias, and that person is not listed on the publication’s masthead. It’s just the type of story that media watchdog Columbia Journalism Review would love to uncover. Only in this case, CJR is the perpetrator.”
David M called Navasky, who confirmed he was guiding CJR, though he downplayed his role. He said, "I’m trying to help them out. I'm hoping to provide more editorial direction down the road, but I’m focused now on improving the finances."
Some might see the Navasky-CJR link as perfectly innocent. Magazines don’t update mastheads often. Navasky does have experience pushing a small magazine’s finances towards the black. The Nation’s circulation soared over 180,000 this year. That’s about eight times CJR’S numbers. And Navasky was close at hand — he’s on the faculty at Columbia’s journalism school
But there are other small successful magazines out there without leftist agendas. Why did CJR feel such a kinship with The Nation that Navaky was the obvious choice? The current issue’s table of contents offers some clues. A hit piece on the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, for instance, says the company strives to be “Fox News’s cruder but equally zealous acolyte” by running conservative commetary in its local news programs, among other sins (like not owning a helicopter). Then "After Rupert," by Neil Hickey muses on what would happen if News Corporation’s conservative CEO was hit by a bus. The line between the politics of CJR and The Nation is awfully blurry.
One reason might be that an institute affiliated with The Nation is now paying the bill for content that appears in CJR’S pages and is written by CJR’s staff. In the latest issue, a piece called “Stations of the Cross,” by a CJR assistant editor, appears with the note that it was supported by the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund. The article attempts to explain religious broadcasting to the CJR audience. “Evangelical news looks and sounds much like its secular counterpart,” Blake writes, "but it homes in on issues of concern to believers and filters events through a conservative lens. In some cases this simply means giving greater weight to the conservative side of the ledger than most media do. In other instances, it amounts to disguising a partisan agenda as news.”
CJR could have countered the scent of slant by bringing in additional advisers with experience at small magazines. Fortunately for CJR, though, media critics everywhere are too busy reminiscing about the glory days of Watergate to ask why not.
Laura Vanderkam, a contributing editor to Reader’s Digest, is a member of USA Today’s board of contributors.
From Victor Navasky's recently published A Matter of Opinion (pp. 404-405):
As for me, I divide my time between publishing The Nation, whose mission seems more urgent than ever, and teaching at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where the new dean, backed by the president of the university, is bent on transforming the curriculum (and using it as a lever to transform American journalism). He has asked me to take responsibility of the Columbia Journalism Review. This is ironic, since the last time I had anything to do with CJR was when I was helping Dick Pollak and Tony Lukas found MORE, whose mission was to challenge establishment journalism symbolized by, what else?, the Columbia Journalism Review. (And when MORE went out of business in the early 1980s, CJR picked up its subscription list.) We'll see.(Emphasis mine.)
Finally today Columbia Journalism Review put a notice up from dean of Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism Nicholas Lemann announcing Victor Navasky's new role of chairman of CJR.
A Note From the DeanDoes this mean that Navasky was in the has been on the job for a few months shy of two years, as Lemann's announcement implies? If so, the secrecy is far worse than I (or anyone else who has reported on the matter) thought. It means that for roughly 21 months, The CJR has been under the control of Navasky without acknowledgement.
Two years ago, when I became dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia, one of my first official acts was to accept, reluctantly, the resignation of David Laventhol as editorial director of Columbia Journalism Review, because he had decided to become chair of the Committee to Protect Journalists. I wanted to continue the tradition of having a distinguished journalist in the supervisory role at CJR, and, after a few months, I was able to persuade Victor Navasky to take this job on.
Victor was an ideal choice, to my mind, because he was already a member of our faculty and the head of our magazine journalism program, and also because, in his long run as editor and publisher of The Nation, he has established himself as a genius at guiding the fortunes of a small magazine.An "ideal choice"? Does Lemann have no understanding of the potential conflict that arises when a self-avowed "card-carrying ideologist" (A Matter of Opinion, p. 269)--one who is still running a left-liberal opinion magazine--takes over a "neutral" watchdog? Incredible. And remember, Navasky sees the role of The Nation in part as "serving as a forum for the debate between the radicals and the liberals" (A Matter of Opinion, p. 269)
The Nation's circulation was about 20,000 when Victor took over in 1978, and is now, thanks to the efforts of Victor and his colleagues, nearly 184,000.Kudos to Navasky for whatever role he played in driving up circulation.
I announced Victor's appointment to the Journalism School community one year ago.Is Navasky's discomfort sufficient reason to hide his role? Of course not. Not even his own staff thought as much.
Because Victor was still in the process of turning over the reins at The Nation to his successor there, Katrina vanden Heuvel, he was not comfortable taking an official title on the masthead of CJR.
Although that process is still not complete, he began supervising CJR—meaning that both the editorial and business sides report to him.Began supervising CJR when?
He holds a weekly meeting with the magazine'?s executive editor, Mike Hoyt, its publisher, Evan Cornog, and its business staff, but does not work there full time, because his primary responsibility here is still as a faculty member. Thus far he has concentrated mainly on the business side of CJR.Read: We've agreed to put him on the masthead only since we were embarrassed into doing so by an little-known blog and the others that picked up the story. He should have been on the masthead months ago. (Remember this from the Sun? "Shortly after that blog entry, Mr. Lemann and Mr. Navasky settled on the title of 'chairman,' and said Mr. Navasky's name would be on the masthead."
We'?ve now agreed on a title for Victor: chairman. He will appear on the masthead of CJR in the next issue.
Nicholas LemannWow. Dean Lemann, we need explanations:
Andrew Sullivan does not hide his thoughts today about Columbia Journalism Review and Victor Navasky:
It turns out that the Alger-Hiss-loving lefty, Victor Navasky, has been running the Columbia Journalism Review for a year already! Nick Lemann was instrumental in hiring the almost comically old left dinosaur as a "distinguished journalist" to supervise the publication. It remains, of course, strictly unbiased, if a lot less transparent than, say, blogs. Mediacrity has the details. Now can you imagine the fuss if they had hired Bill Buckley? And kept it on the DL for so long?By the way, Sullivan is not the first to bring up the Buckley comparison:
But, Navasky is not suited to be running a non-partisan media watchdog. I would say the same of William Buckley or any other pundit known largely for holding ideological views strongly slanted to one side.(And an off-topic question about Sullivan's post: What does on the DL mean? In my world it is a place where a post-steroid Jason Giambi spends far too much time. Presumably Sullivan is using some sort of Britishism for secretly or on the QT. Help, anybody?
Thanks to Conservative Edge's Brian Goettl for listing my vanity first in the carnival thereof. (Readers are encouraged to ignore the words "in no particular order" in his introduction.)
So, Kerry released his military records. Maybe.
The Globe, however, thought something in the records deserved front-page coverage. That would be: "During last year's presidential campaign, John F. Kerry was the candidate often portrayed as intellectual and complex, while George W. Bush was the populist who mangled his sentences. But newly released records show that Bush and Kerry had a virtually identical grade average at Yale University four decades ago." (Italics Ours.) And, sure enough, all day yesterday the Web sites of CNN, Fox News, and other outlets fronted the story on Kerry's college grades. And the AP story, which many of the sites published, made no mention at all of the other information found -- or, more accurately not found -- in Kerry's records.
Does anyone in America doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush? I'm sure the candidates' SATs and college transcripts would put Kerry far ahead.Yes, Mr. Raines, some of us thought that Bush was being inaccurately portrayed as a buffoon, and Kerry as an intellectual, by an unwittingly biased press corps (e.g., Howell Raines). Now the evidence you were seeking is available and it proves our point. Read on.
Yale grades portray Kerry as a lackluster studentThe Wall Street Journal's James Taranto writes that in fact Bush's record was marginally better than Kerry's:
His 4-year average on par with Bush's
During last year's presidential campaign, John F. Kerry was the candidate often portrayed as intellectual and complex, while George W. Bush was the populist who mangled his sentences.
But newly released records show that Bush and Kerry had a virtually identical grade average at Yale University four decades ago.
Kerry, it turns out, had a 76 average for his years at Yale--the equivalent of a C and one point below George W. Bush's 77 average.
Bush's IQ greater than Kerry's according to new study
Two news organizations reported on comments by William Schulz, director of Amnesty International USA:
CJR purports to be an unbiased media watchdog publication. Yet David M's reporting suggests that a major left-wing polemicist is calling the shots at CJR without any mention on the masthead. According to David M, the Journal's executive editor has admitted that he answers to Navasky. And Navasky himself, while downplaying his editorial rule, appears to have acknowledged that he provides some editorial direction.
Will the often-embarrassing media-crit magazine (and blog) now become an ideological clone of The Nation? That might require moving CJR slightly to the right.(Via Glenn Reynolds who pipes in with "heh.")
CJR asked about Fox News, in 1998, "Can a news network dominated by conservative hosts be genuinely 'fair and balanced,' particularly toward those on the left?"This prompted blogger Sisyphus's Tim Schmoyer to ask this week,
Can a media-crit magazine dominated by liberals be genuinely non-partisan and fair, particularly toward those on the right? In light of Victor Navasky's recently disclosed role, doesn't that question take on even more substance?Heh.
Gee, you'd almost think that they were trying to hide something.
I'm so glad that establishment media outfits have such strict rules of ethics and disclosure that we in the Shadow Media don't.
Where was the full disclosure? For that matter, where was the partial disclosure? And is this not yet another example of the very "astroturfing" that we are all supposed to despise and that some in the past were hellbent on denouncing--thinking all along that the denunciations could never apply to their side of the ideological divide, of course?
But the real damage is not Navasky but the head-in-the-sand attitude of the Columbia media establishment that brought this guy on to solve their problems.
why is this news? I mean, what do you expect from the Columbia Journalism Review?
we'?re supposed to be outraged because a lefty is working at the Columbia Journalism Review?Hard to argue with insight like that.
Start a phony war and get a medal, but if a registered Democrat litters, form a firing squad.
According to a just-published study, adolescents who drink lots of milk, even 1% or skim, put on more weight than those who don't. Calories, not dairy fat, appear to be the culprit.
Reader Brenda Ross sends a copy of a letter she was hoping Romanesko would print:
Excuse me, am I hallucinating, or has a blog--the "David M Blog" (http://davidm.blogspot.com/) totally wiped up the floor with the media on a major story, and nobody is pretending to notice?--------------------
David M broke the story that Columbia Journalism Review has been secretly run by Victor Navasky, publisher of The Nation magazine. Navasky's involvement in CJR raises a host of disturbing questions--absolutely none of which has been raised by the mainstream media.
Among them: Is it proper for a person with such an identifiable political position, one that some might say is toward the far end of the spectrum, to play such a crucial role at a mainstream journalism review that purports to be dispassionate and unbiased? How can conservatives feel confidence in CJR with Navasky in such a role? Furthermore, doesn't the secrecy surrounding Navasky's role smack of "guilty knowledge"?
Another question that troubles me: How does this impact -- and how has this impacted-- upon CJR's treatment of controversies involving The Nation? Neither the CJR website nor print publication has touched the recent controversy surrounding the discovery that Ian Williams, The Nation's UN Correspondent, performed media training and other work for the UN while covering the UN. Did Navasky's role at CJR have any impact upon CJR's failure to cover that story? And even if CJR does get around to covering this story, won't whatever it does be tainted by Navasky's hidden role at CJR?
These are just some of the serious and troubling questions surrounding this issue, and so far they have only been explored in what is sometimes dismissed as the "blogosphere." That alone says a great deal about the journalism profession, none of it at all favorable.
On Fox News last night, during the 6:30 pm "Political Grapevine" segment, Brit Hume covered the Navasky story by citing E&P:
'America's Premier Media Monitor'?(Via News Hounds.)
The Columbia Journalism Review has always insisted it is "America's Premier Media Monitor," and not, as some have suggested, a liberal political journal masquerading as a journalism review. But whom has it turned to lately for guidance? Why, Victor Navasky, the publisher and editorial director of the staunchly liberal magazine The Nation. According to CJR executive editor Michael Hoyt, Navasky has "gradual[ly]" been taking on a key role over the past few months, a role, Hoyt says, that's higher than his own.
But, Hoyt insists it's "99 percent financial," saying that every Friday Navasky meets with staff to "talk business side. ... He doesn't push anything editorially." Navasky tells Editor & Publisher magazine that the next issue of CJR will list him as "Chairman."
In February, Laura Vanderkam wrote a column in The Examiner, Washington DC's free daily, entitled,
Hammered: How blogs are shattering the arrogance of the Columbia Journalism Review and why that's good for journalismAppropriate, given recent developments. Rumor has it that Vanderkam has a follow-up piece running tomorrow.
The New York Sun has a good overview today on the Navasky/CJR story (only first few paragraphs available online without subscription):
...While Mr. [Nicholas] Lemann [dean of the Columbia School of Journalism] intended Mr. Navasky to oversee CJR, his exact role at the magazine wasn't agreed upon until this week, after a New York-based blogger, who goes by the name David M, wrote on Tuesday of the CJR's high profile hire. Shortly after that blog entry, Mr. Lemann and Mr. Navasky settled on the title of "chairman," and said Mr. Navasky's name would be on the masthead in the next issue of CJR....The article also cites Power Line (ellipsis in Sun story):
Mr. Navasky said the staff of the review "wanted me to be listed" on the masthead. He preferred to keep a lower profile, he said, because "I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing here."
A popular conservative blog, Power Line, had sounded a suspicious note. "CJR purports to be an unbiased media watchdog publication. Yet ... a major left-wing polemicist is calling the shots at CJR without any mention on the masthead," it said.So far, the Sun is the only newspaper I have found covering the story.
Radio Blogger has a transcript of Hugh Hewitt's radio interview of Mark Steyn today in which they discuss Victor Navasky and Columbia Journalism Review. Here is the relevant excerpt (ellipses in orginal):
Note that despite his comments above, Hewitt owes me no apology. He helped publicize the original story, albeit with a healthy sense of skepticism, at least in part because the whole story seemed so outlandish on CJR's part. Once he heard that CJR was indeed naming Navasky chairman, he updated his post accordingly. All along, he gave full credit to this blog.
Hewitt: All right. Second inside baseball story, and I am going to have to publish an apology to David M., a blogger, who broke a story that Victor Navasky is running the Columbia Journalism Review. I mean, what's that strike you as? And you might explain who Navasky is.
Steyn: Well, I think this gets to the problem. I mean, he is the...he is the big guy at the Nation, which is a left-wing opinion magazine, and nothing wrong with that.
Steyn: But when you buy the Nation, you know it's a left-wing opinion magazine, and you buy it for that reason. The problem with what they call the mainstream media in the United States, is that it has this pose of somehow being neutral arbitors, you know, like they're the Supreme Court. They weigh all the arguments, and judiciously...and that's simply not the case. And so, when you find out that the most left-wing publisher in the country is actually in charge of, you know, a big influence of the Columbia Journalism Review, that actually does help explain the sort of dreary, monolithic bias that you get in a lot of the people who graduate from those things. A neighbor of mine asked me, she wants to go into journalism, and she said, you know, whether she should save up and bankrupt her parents in order to go to Columbia Journalism School. And I said that's ridiculous. If you want to write, start writing. And almost anything you do, in however many years you'd be spending at Columbia Journalism School, whether you want to go to Afghanistan and check out Bagram Air Force Base for yourself, or whatever, anything you do will be more useful than going and sitting and becoming part of the club at Columbia. That's just no use anymore.
Hewitt: Well, it does get you a job, though. I spent a lot of time with Nick Lemon recently, the dean at Columbia School of Journalism, and they do help you get jobs. I don't know that they can necessarily give you the experiences that real journalists have to had to understand the world, but they can get you employed.
[Ellipses in original.]
There are two separate issues at hand here:
Apparently between yesterday--when this blog broke the story of Victor Navasky's involvement with Columbia Journalism Review--and today, CJR has decided to put Navasky on the masthead.