The Corner

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Jeffrey Hart: A Correction for the Record

Jeffrey Hart, a longtime writer and editor for NR, died on February 17. We ran an editorial appreciation of him the next day. Sam Roberts wrote the obituary for the New York Times.

I thought Roberts did a nice job, but he does make one error that hits close to home. He quotes a passage from a 2006 essay Jonah Goldberg and I wrote for NR as though it were a criticism of Jeff. It’s true that from time to time I disagreed with Jeff and said so in print. But this passage wasn’t directed at him, and neither was the article. That’s why he wasn’t mentioned in the article, although a lot of other people were.

What happened is that James Panero wrote a profile of Jeff soon after that article appeared, and he took the passage to be a shot at Jeff. Then Jeff responded, in a note to Panero, as though it had been. (Jeff was, at least at that time and in my recollection, always up for a debate.) I attempted to clarify the record as soon as I saw the profile and the note.

I’m trying again. Jonah and I weren’t criticizing Jeff in that article. Still less were we, as Roberts suggests, taking issue with his endorsement of Barack Obama, which had not occurred at the time our article was published.

Update (2/21/19 4:30 pm): The Times obituary has been corrected.

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Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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