November 19, 2007

Sacrificial Lamb? Head Fact-checker Gone at TNR

Interesting (my bold):

The New Republic is looking for an assistant editor to fill an immediate opening in our Washington, DC office. The assistant editor will be responsible for guiding the magazine's fact-checking department (including overseeing the reporter-researchers), along with writing stories for the magazine and the website. Ideally, you'd be coming into the job with 1-2 years experience fact-checking and reporting, some solid clips, and a passion for the kind of long-form magazine reporting we do. Experience with specifically political journalism is, of course, a major plus — attention to detail and strong research skills are a prerequisite. Send cover letter, resume, and 4-5 clips to Britt Peterson at with "assistant editor application" in the subject heading.

Looking at the masthead, the Assistant Editor that TNR is replacing seems to be Keelin McDonell, who was the longest-serving of TNR's most recent crop of assistant editors.

If she was indeed the "responsible for guiding the magazine's fact-checking department" during the period Scott Beauchamp published three articles with glaring fact errors in them, it would seem just cause for the magazine to find a replacement.

It would in no way, however, excuse the multiple, high level ethical breaches of more senior editors who seem intent on swearing to the veracity of this proven false fabulist to their very last breath.

(h/t Just a Canuck)

Posted by Confederate Yankee at November 19, 2007 10:26 PM

One hopes this is just the first of many heads to roll, and not just a token gesture to appease their critics that they're actually doing something.

We shall see how it plays out.

Posted by: C-C-G at November 19, 2007 10:31 PM

So now no one will be responsible for fact-checking?

Posted by: EvilDave at November 19, 2007 10:43 PM

Wonder what the exit interview was like.
Could they actually blame her for passing on falsehoods? 'cause if they did, they acknowledge publishing falsehoods. They could get away with that admission as long as nobody ever heard about it. Ever.
So, what was their cover story?
And if it was a bogus cover story, could she sue for wrongful termination?

"Yer honor. They fired me for stealing from the office coffee fund when what I really did was lie with and for Beauchamp. Never touched that stupid coffee fund."

Posted by: Richard Aubrey at November 19, 2007 10:44 PM

Was she let go or perhaps promoted and that's why they need the new fact checker?

Posted by: airedale at November 19, 2007 10:52 PM

EvilDave wrote: "So now no one will be responsible for fact-checking?"

How would they tell? No one was before.

Posted by: Barbara Skolaut at November 19, 2007 10:59 PM

I would presume that he/she resigned for the appropriate decent payout knowing he/she had a great wrongful discrimination case if they tried to fire her. You can't argue your employee made a mistake in court when you have public statements saying a mistake was made.

Posted by: Duh! at November 19, 2007 11:05 PM

Oh, Barbara, there was rigorous fact checking at TNR.

They checked the facts to see if they could be damaging to President Bush. If they passed that check, they printed it.

Posted by: C-C-G at November 19, 2007 11:06 PM

Or maybe she resigned to protest the ongoing cover up. Maybe she wanted to fire the one who was responsible for the actual fact-checking and wasn't allowed to. Or maybe she got sick and can't work. Or maybe she's retirement age. Or maybe she was kidnapped by aliens.

(OK, I'll admit the one about her protesting the cover up is a long shot).

Posted by: Doc Rampage at November 19, 2007 11:07 PM

Maybe she got a job working for the Clinton '08 campaign.

Posted by: C-C-G at November 19, 2007 11:31 PM

CNN debate rigging squad.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at November 20, 2007 08:31 AM

This just in from TNR!

Instaputz: I Get E-mail

Notice the absence of the words 'factual' or 'accurate' in that message?


Posted by: Justacanuck at November 20, 2007 01:01 PM

Must be a job opening for Mr Beauchamp!

Posted by: L8DBACK at November 20, 2007 01:12 PM

I may apply for that job. In the past, the fact-checker has done very little actual work, not even sure that anyone could tell he was at the office. Come to think of it, I could do this job from home... TNR, I'll take the job!! Send me a check!

Posted by: dldeskins at November 20, 2007 01:54 PM

Typical corporate clusterf&^%$#.

A long time ago, during the Carter Administration, I was involved in a major corporate f#$% up.

I was a young guy at the time and my involvement was writing a memo telling the villain that his scheme was illegal and that he should not do it.

When the $#;+ hit the fan, the villain got fired and the numbers 3 and 4 in the accounting department got thrown to the wolves at the SEC, the higher ups walked away and were allowed to retire on full pensions.

Oh, yeah, and I ...

I got fired.

Posted by: Fat Man at November 20, 2007 03:04 PM

That Foer and Co. still have their jobs is a disgrace. They throw some youngster under the bus and hope this sacrifice will pacify the critics. It won't.

Posted by: Increase Mather at November 20, 2007 03:25 PM

One down, 50 to go.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at November 20, 2007 08:26 PM
They throw some youngster under the bus and hope this sacrifice will pacify the critics. It won't.

Of course not, but their judgment hasn't been good so far, so what makes you expect it to improve now?

Posted by: C-C-G at November 20, 2007 08:33 PM

You've played an important role in bringing accountability to The New Republic. Bravo.

Posted by: CountingHart at November 20, 2007 09:07 PM