The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Friday, June 14, 2002  

More on the Mysterious Lisa B. Edwards

Gossip columnist Lloyd Grove today chips in his two cents -- at most -- on the recent flurry of attention The Rittenhouse Review received, along with Tapped and Eschaton, as a result of a small error, since retracted and corrected, regarding a presumed, but actually non-existent, familial relationship between American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Joshua Muravchik and neoconservative crank Midge Decter.

Flattered as we are to see TRR mentioned in the pages of the Washington Post, albeit in the section of the paper that once was called “the Ladies’ Page,” we wonder what led Grove to believe he had a story worth running.

Having spent a good part of the morning pondering this question, and discussing the matter with colleagues, we are left at the conclusion that Grove’s sole purpose in raising the matter was to gratuitously spank Tapped, a weblog published by the American Prospect, a magazine of the liberal persuasion that no doubt irks the increasingly -- and inappropriately -- ideological Grove.

More to the point, the Post’s gossip maven has been misinformed about at least one aspect of the story.

Grove writes, “On Tuesday, the younger Podhoretz e-mailed the Rittenhouse Review that the nepotism charge was false and persuaded the [sic] National Review’s Rod Dreher to say so on the magazine’s Web site.”

As it happens we did see the brief note that Rod “I’m-More-Catholic-Than-You-Are” Dreher published at the endless yammering section of National Review Online, so very cleverly named “The Corner.”

Naturally, we can’t comment on whether Dreher is in the habit of publishing what in Grove’s gossip business are called “plants” on behalf of his colleagues and friends.

We can, however, inform Grove, as well as TRR’s loyal readers, that we did not receive an e-mail from John Podhoretz on Tuesday, June 11. In fact, TRR has never received an e-mail message -- not one -- from Podhoretz the lesser.

In fact, TRR received only one e-mail about the Muravchik-Decter matter before Tapped sent us its agitated messages.

And that e-mail came from one Mrs. Lisa B. Edwards.

Mrs. Edwards’s e-mail, which came from a Yahoo Mail address, reads, in its entirety:

You’ve been misinformed. Muravchik and Midge Decter are not related.


Mrs. Edwards sent her message to TRR on Monday, June 10, at 4:15 p.m.

As Mrs. Edwards’s note consisted solely of an assertion, with no explanation or means of verification, it was neither useful nor helpful in our effort to resolve the confusion surrounding the non-relationship between Muravchik and Decter.

It would have made no sense for Podhoretz to have sent a message to TRR informing us “the nepotism charge was false” on Tuesday, June 11, as we published our retraction and apology at 6:52 a.m. that day.

That means one of three things:

1. Grove made up the story about Podhoretz claiming to have sent an e-mail to TRR.

2. Podhoretz lied to Grove, or perhaps was confused, about having sent an e-mail to TRR.

3. Podhoretz sent an e-mail to TRR under the pseudonym “Mrs. Lisa B. Edwards” not on Tuesday, June 11, but on Monday, June 10.

Frankly, any of these three explanations is at least plausible to us, though certainly the third is most intriguing. Podhoretz the lesser, as TRR readers know, has in the past operated under the pseudonym Tiffany Midgeson, the false surname derived from his proved filial relationship to mother Midge Decter. As to the origin of Podhoretz’s adopted first name we haven’t a clue.

For the record, Grove did not confirm that TRR received an e-mail from Podhoretz and two telephone messages left today on Grove’s voice-mail system at the Post by TRR’s editor remain unanswered.

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