Thursday, June 09, 2005

Lemann: Navasky in the Closet More Than a Year

Columbia Journalism Review's website has finally acknowledged the elephant in the room, issuing a statement from Columbia J-school dean Nicholas Lemann acknowledging its Moonbat-in-the-closet, The Nation's publisher Victor Navasky.

In so doing, Lemann disclosed that Navasky has been its hidden-in-the-closet publisher for well over a year. He also revealed that, spin to the contrary notwithstanding, the editorial side of the publication reports to Navasky.

This contradicts the comments by CJR executive editor Michael Hoyt on the Britt Hume program, first reported on the David M blog. CJR executive editor Michael Hoyt was quoted as saying that Navasky has "gradual[ly]" been taking on a key role over the past few months."

Oh my. A boo boo! How careless. Lemann says, in his statement on the CJR website, that the Nation publisher has been on the job a lot longer than that. He said Navasky took on the job "several months" after the former publisher quit in the summer of 2003. Lemann says Navasky's role was announced internally one year ago.

Say, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it customary to issue a press release or put out a statement on your website when you appoint a publisher? Isn't this weird? It would be to Lemann, as it would to any journalist over the age of fifteen, if this involved someone else's publication. He'd be handing out "darts" left and right. But he says not one word on this whole weird Moonbat-in-the-closet phenomenon, nor on the inherent conflict of having the current editorial director of an extreme-left publication running the show at a supposedly objective journalism review.

Nor a word on how he was forced yank Navasky out of the closet because of the David M blog. Or how this affects coverage of journalism issues involving Navasky's rag, such as the UN payola scandal involving, among others, The Nation's UN Correspondent Ian Williams. That was covered by Fox news, Accuracy in Media and FrontPage magazine, but not by CJR.

This is how Lemann spun it: "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."

If he wanted to be accurate, of course, the proper phraseology would have been "and after a few months, since I couldn't find a distinguished journalist to take the job, I persuaded a well-heeled Moonbat to take the job secretly, since it would destroy CJR's reputation if anyone found out."

Lemann does ackowledge that it is an ackward situation, but as he puts it, it is a problem only for Navasky, not for CJR! "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," says Lemann.

Said Lemann: "Although that process is still not complete, he began supervising CJR—meaning that both the editorial and business sides report to him." [emphasis added]. However, "Thus far he has concentrated mainly on the business side of CJR." How ducky.

So there you have it, folks, the whole messy story (leaving out the embarrassing stuff, of course) straight from the word processor of the genius who dreamed it up, and is so clueless that he doesn't see a thing wrong with an ultra-left nut secretly running a journalism review. So far, this mess remains covered only by blogs, notably the David M blog, the New York Sun and, yesterday, a brief puff piece in the Associated Press. And now we have the CJR, covering the demise of what remains of its reputation by engaging in the worst kind of spin and selective reporting.

David M, which has been all over this story like a cheap suit, has a thorough analysis today.

UPDATE: CJR's Hypocritical Double Standard.

EARLIER ENTRIES ON CJR/NAVASKY: Navasky in CJR two months ago--no mention of his hidden role; Romenesko spikes letter on Navasky; Navasky/CJR ignored by mainstream media; the Moonbat guarding the henhouse.

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