Comments: But They're Only The Rabble: Ignore Them

Very interesting comments from the TNR readers and subscribers. I continue to wonder, however, if even this kind of a reaction will have an impact on Foer and TNR.

I can't help noting that many on the liberal side of the blogosphere are marshalling a defense of TNR. For example, The Atlantic magazine and a couple of their bloggers have taken up a full-throated defense of TNR, mostly via attacks on NRO. Their most immature little blogger, Matthew Yglesias has written a particularly nasty piece of bile, including this sentence: "To me, though, it seems like rank hypocrisy for NRO to hold a particular writer out to dry like this -- Smith was just working to the long-established NRO standards." Needless to say, he has other nasty things to add.

And of course the blogosphere's own crazy old aunt in the attic, Andrew Sullivan, has generated at least ten separate posts on the emerging NRO/Smith story over the past couple of days, which he parses in a manner to make TNR look like the ultimate paragon of disciplined and accurate reporting. The utter hypocrisy is staggering given the regularity with which these Atlantic bloggers publish rank falsehoods encased in the most inflammatory language possible, and almost never ever provide a correction when called to account. Sullivan has become notorious for his ability to write a faux "correction" in such a manner that 99.99% of the readers would have not the slightest idea that it was even supposed to represent a "correction."

I wonder how much longer David G. Bradley (and his National Journal Group, which I believe still owns The Atlantic) will keep in his employ such potential Franklin Foers and Stephen Glasses.

Posted by Terry at December 3, 2007 11:52 PM

I actually read upwards of 270 of the posts to the TNR 'appology' last night. I tried to count the number of TNR supporters while discarding those that simply wanted the forum closed to non-subscribers.

Of those 270 posts, I counted about 4.5 supporters of TNR and FF. The .5 comes from one that excoriated FF but still thought TNR was a good rag (rag is my word).

There was one post in those first 270 comments that said something like "how Nixonian". What I find humorous about that comment is ..


wait for it



Nixion resigned.

Posted by Mark at December 4, 2007 12:09 AM

Yes, I need to go to bed...

That should be:

Nixon resigned

Posted by Mark at December 4, 2007 12:12 AM

Amongst his windy non-apology apology, Franklin Foer utters this line:

"I hadn't worked with Stephen Glass, who made up stories out of whole cloth, but I knew the lessons derived from that scandal."

No, Mr. Foer you haven't learned any of the lessons from l'affaire Glass. We could certainly school you for days on just how much you failed to absorb, but instead, let's just address the lengthy screed you have chosen to utter instead of the concise and up front apology that was required. We now turn to Gawker for this lesson:

Foer ought to have taken a page from the Chuck Lane School of Apologia. In 1998, when addressing TNR readers in the wake of the Stephen Glass scandal, the magazine's 500-word piece concluded simply: "We offer no excuses for any of this. Only our deepest apologies to all concerned."

What's that Franklin? No, I'm sorry, there will be no do-over for you. You had four and a half months, which is four months longer than any ethical editor would have taken when their primary interest is in protecting the credibility of their publication.

Having now affirmed your utter incompetence by way of this last act of trashing any viable brand name equity left in TNR, it wouldn't be unreasonable now to expect a CanWest operative to visit your office to deliver the final coup de grāce to your once promising career.

Posted by Justacanuck at December 4, 2007 02:19 AM

Resign? No! A thousand times, no! This guy has a lot more to endure before the pain ends.

Posted by Purple Avenger at December 4, 2007 09:06 AM


Andrew Sullivan.

Sometimes I wonder if he's on something stronger than alcohol.

Posted by memomachine at December 4, 2007 11:06 AM

My guess is that Canwest is insisting that TNR keep the comments on the nonapology open in order to gauge the reaction. They are certainly getting an eyeful there as well as elsewhere around the blogosphere. As Bob says, it isn't over yet.

Posted by daleyrocks at December 4, 2007 02:02 PM

daleyrocks: I believe when TNR launched their new website/blog (recently), they simultaneously opened up comments to non-members. Perhaps done as an experiment, or perhaps to be more blog-like. Either way, Foer can't be too happy with the weight of opinion from his own subscribers, former subscribers, or soon-to-be former subscribers.

I especially enjoy those who tell of receiving their refund checks from TNR for the balance of their subscriptions. That's a nasty sting on TNR, cubed.

Posted by Justacanuck at December 4, 2007 04:10 PM