A journalist discussing a person crucial to his narrative leaves out important facts that define the person and explain the narrative. How do we look at this?
This is the case with Nation Publisher Victor Navasky's new book, A Matter of Opinion, about his fight to save the journal. He says little more about Nation Editor Katrina vanden Heuvel's background other than that she "started as a Nation intern (from Princeton)." He scarcely vaguely alludes to the fact she's heiress to a billion-dollar fortune and is a member of Insider establishment clubs like the Council on Foreign Relations. Unmentioned is that, simultaneous with her sudden promotion to Nation's Editor from the ranks of the grunts, Katrina put up a sum of money to keep the struggling rag (losing staggering sums of money-- $500,000 a year at one point) from folding.
Navasky is very specific about amounts people like Paul Newman gave for the Nation. He glosses over Katrina's investment with the words, "strong expressions of interest from Katrina--." Say what??? How strong? Keep in mind that Editor vanden Heuvel is "designated" to take over from Navasky as Publisher also as soon as he's kicked out the door; I suppose just because she's so wonderful.
In assessing the size and motive of Katrina's financial contribution, we have the example of her billionaire mother, Jean Stein (George Plimpton's good friend), who bought lit-journal Grand Street from Ben Sonnenberg fifteen-or-so years ago and installed herself as Editor (then turned it into a tax shelter and received taxpayer NEA grants for it!)
To ignore the salient parts of Katrina's history is like portraying Ted Bundy as a personable young man, failing to mention he was also a serial killer. Is this lying? It's not telling the truth.
The bulk of Navasky's book contains his descriptions of sucking-up to rich people at places like Harvard. This is what constitutes being an "independent" publication in America. Navasky comes across as a well-meaning upper-middle class fool who's generally out-of-it (saw Gorbachev as a "radical"), clunking around through the world of his office and expensive lunches at Harvard and Columbia but not knowing what's really going on. Maybe he's being disingenuous. Or maybe he's just stupid.
NOTE TO ELITISTS: You're not going to get people like me on your side when you don't tell the truth!