The New York Observer scooped yesterday that Peter Beinart (right) is out at The New Republic and soccer guru Franklin Foer (left) is taking over as editor. It’s a rare bloodless coup at a magazine well-known for its internal wars (See “Shattered Glass“).
As David Carr writes at the New York Times, “For a small outfit, The New Republic has always gone long on drama. Its changes in leadership have usually arrived in the form of rolling coups or lightning bolts from above. So it is refreshing, if a bit underwhelming, to report that Franklin Foer, a senior editor with the magazine, is quietly taking over the shop next week from the current editor, Peter Beinart, who has a book to promote and ambitions of returning to longer form writing.”
Carr paints a pretty dire picture for one of the nation’s most respected thought magazines: “The New Republic’s circulation has dropped by almost 40 percent in four years; it cut its circulation and staff salaries after aggressively spending on the Web in 2002. Meanwhile, its historical role as a maypole for middle-way Democrats is under challenge from countless Web sites and bloggers. And one of the magazine’s major preoccupations–a search for the soul of the Democratic Party–would seem to require a lot of patience and a miner’s helmet.”
Beinart’s book, The Good Fight, about John Kerry, Democrats, etc., is due out in June.
Foer now joins the elite crowd of one-time TNR chiefs, including Michael Kinsley, Andrew Sullivan, Michael Kelly, and Charles Lane. On the other hand, it’s hard to arrive at being the editor of TNR and still be the less successful writer in your family: Frankie’s brother is novelist wiz kid Jonathan Safran Foer.
>UPDATE: One has to wonder why the NYTimes got the scoop and not the Washington Post. Was it a consolation prize from Foer to the Times for his not accepting their long-standing offer to bring him on board as a reporter?