It now appears that the former editor of the Nation, a leading left-wing magazine, has led the Columbia Journalism Review for as long as the last two years. The revelation helps explain the curious response from the CJR to the Dan Rather debacle.
A quick refresher — a sitting anchorman for one of the big-three networks airs an investigative piece very damaging to the president of the United States a month before a general election. The documents upon which the story is based are extremely suspicious, and the producers of the piece were well aware of the suspicions. The scandal ended with the anchor resigning and the ouster of four staffers. That’s the biggest journalism scandal that I’ve ever witnessed.
How does CJR cover this story? The headline to their piece read: “Yes, CBS screwed up badly in ‘Memogate’ — but so did those who covered the affair.” The latter culprits were mainly the bloggers who broke that story. So, CJR essentially ignored the story and focused instead on the alleged errors of those who covered it. Great idea! (I would have enjoyed sitting in on the budget meeting where that idea was floated and ultimately approved. Talk about groupthink.)
With the revelation about who’s leading the CJR, the decision becomes a little more understandable. The fox is watching the henhouse.