On Sunday, I received a copy of an email that reporter Chris Allbritton had sent to National Review Online last October. In the email, which I posted here, Allbritton called W. Thomas Smith Jr.–who had filed several loopy stories from Lebanon for National Review Online–a “liar” and said his work was “fiction.” As I noted, Allbritton didn’t have a direct email for Smith or NRO Editor Kathryn Jean Lopez so he sent his note to [email protected], the general address for NRO’s military blog. He received no reply.
Today, Allbritton received an email from National Review saying that the magazine had never received his letter. “Unfortunately,[email protected], the account to which you addressed your complaints, has never existed–the link on The Tank’s homepage is functional, but there is no email account to receive any mail,” the note from associate editor Joseph Abrams said. “We have a further query: Did you not receive an immediate error message in response to your email? We tested the [email protected] address, and received such a message within a minute.”
Allbritton tells me that he never did receive an error message. For my part, I find it bizarre to think that NRO would have on its website a contact link to an email address that does not exist, and that the magazine discovered this apparent oddity only now.
It’s hard to believe that NRO would go so far as to concoct this excuse, so I’ll assume that no one ever got Allbritton’s email. His note nonetheless demolishes Smith’s “reporting” from Lebanon and there were other public red flags about Smith that NRO ignored.