What the hell happened to the Columbia Journalism Review?

CJR’s latest attack on Lehmann and Quillette only solidifies their current status as another hack rag that fell from grace in the woke era.


The CJR used to be a respected publication. They famously audited the Rolling Stone / UVA hoax just a few years ago. Now they are issuing defamation in gif form.

In just a few short years, CJR has gone from a responsible outlet that investigated matters of journalistic ethics and integrity, to an army of woke zombies who point and shriek “Nazi” every time they encounter heterodox thought.

The editor of the once serious publication actually tweeted this:

While some of the people that CJR labels as “killers and Nazis” are legitimately bad actors, one name stands out as particularly defamatory: Quillette founder and editor Claire Lehmann.

Lehmann and Canadian Quillette editor Jon Kay responded promptly to the gross mischaracterization:

There is a willing glee among certain outlets to engage in the vilification of publications that they believe are on the wrong side of the political spectrum. This gif of CJR cartoons is something of an experiment in confirmation bias. Those “Nazis and killers” include:

  • Yevgeniy Prighozhen, a Russian businessman and Putin acolyte who was indicted by a US federal grand jury for interference in the 2016 American elections.
  • MBS, or Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who is warmongering in Yemen, uses famine as a weapon, imprisons political dissidents, and is suspected of participating in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • QAnon, anonymous online conspiracy theorists who believe and perpetrate the theory that there are people in the “deep state” operating in the US responsible for untold horrors.
  • Rupert Murdoch, a wealthy, Australian, media mogul who owns Fox News, The Times of London and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications.
  • President Donald Trump, a controversial figure on the national and world stage.
  • The Koch Brothers, Charles and the late David Koch, insanely wealthy industrialists, political influencers, and philanthropists whose companies have been penalized numerous times for pollution, and who built a libertarian-conservative cabal of political donors.
  • And the aforementioned Claire Lehmann, founder of an online journal for heterodox ideas and marginalized voices.

What Lehmann has in common with Murdoch is that they are both in media, and they are both Australian. What she has in common with any of the others on this list is unclear.

Lehmann’s influence is due entirely to Quillette’s readers and contributors, who have only one thing in common—that they read or write for Quillette. They are not bound by political or cultural ideology, money, or pressured to read or contribute. The ideas in any given article for Quillette may differ widely from one that ran the previous day, or will run the next. Quillette runs ideas, interesting ones that aren’t found in other publications. These days, that is apparently enough to be tagged Nazi.

This hyperbolic name-calling is a problem that’s being noticed by reasonable minded outlets on either side of the great left/right divide. Mason Pelt writes in Splice Today “…we are over-correcting, invoking Hitler comparisons too early and too often as a sort of ‘we don’t negotiate with terrorists’ strategy to avoid examining uncomfortable arguments. Collectively we’ve become the boy who cried wolf, with a combination of ‘this is self evident,’ ‘reasonable minds cannot dispute,’ and by comparing everyone to evil dictators who must be ignored.”

The CJR is not the only publication that engages in over-the-top call outs, but they are (or were) one of the most prestigious. It’s been a disturbing trend to see storied outlets submit to the name-calling and virtue signalling of using seriously insulting and false terms to decry their opposition.

As The Federalist executive editor, Joy Pullman, recently put it, “taking fire means you’re over the target.”

The Post Millennial reached out the Lehmann who told us “Among a certain echo-chamber of U.S. journalists, a caricature of Quillette has emerged that bears little resemblance to reality. I doubt very much that the cartoonist or editor at CJR responsible for the smear has read much of our work. If they did they would know that we are political moderates and have standards for evidence and reasoning that surpass most media outlets. Nevertheless, journalists who are part of the New York woke clique do not seem to do much research, instead relying on lazy tropes picked up from their hysterical Twitter feeds.”

Perhaps the cartoonist only read some of the numerous, error-ridden hit pieces about Quillette. The cartoonist and his outlet have every right to publish what they see fit, but it is defamation to call Claire Lehmann a Nazi or a killer. She is simply not either of those things. It’s absurd to say that she is. CJR’s latest attack on Lehmann and Quillette only solidifies their current status as another hack rag that fell from grace in the woke era.

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