This account of how CJR stiffed an expose on the Nation’s decision-making with respect to Russia and Syria is sickening:
On 9 April 2019, my line editor emailed me: “Kyle told me this morning that he would write to you to talk fact-checking policy and give you the info you need to reach Katrina and the new editor [of The Nation].”
Pope followed up: “Just thought we should [have a discussion], given CJR‘s past and current tie-ups with The Nation.”
We spoke for 31 minutes at 1.29 ET on 12 April 2019. During the conversation, concerning conflicts of interest, Pope asked only about my own issues – such as that former editor Victor Navasky, who would figure in the piece, had moved from running and owning The Nation to being Chair of the CJR board; and that the independent wealth foundation of The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel – the Kat Foundation – periodically donated to Columbia University.
She and her late husband, Professor Stephen Cohen, were at the heart of my reporting on the support The Nation gave to Putin’s Russia. Sixteen months later, as Pope killed my report, he revealed that he had throughout been involved in an ambitious and lucratively funded partnership between the CJR and The Nation, and between himself and vanden Heuvel.
On the day we spoke, I now know, Pope was working with vanden Heuvel and The Nation to launch – 18 days later – a major new international joint journalism project ‘Covering Climate Now!‘
The manuscript in question was Campbell’s work on how the Nation decided to quash any criticism of Russia, to the extent of running an easily debunkable conspiracy theory on Russia’s hacking activity in 2016. The upshot of all this is that Katrina vanden Heuvel, along with her late husband, Stephen Cohen, has played an incredibly toxic role in progressive American journalism over the past decade, especially with respect to any attempt to accurately depict Russian behavior.
It is well past time to cut vanden Heuvel out of any respectable progressive journalistic institutions. She personally has played a poisonous role in the national conversation about America’s relationship with Russia. For journalists contemplating working in progressive spaces, the injunction should be clear and straightforward: If Katrina is involved, you most certainly should not be.