Charles Lane (journalist)

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Charles Lane
Born1961 (age 57–58)
United States
EducationBethesda-Chevy Chase High School
Alma materHarvard College
Yale Law School

Charles "Chuck" Lane (born 1961) is an American journalist and editor who is an editorial writer for The Washington Post and a regular guest on Fox News Channel. He was the lead editor of The New Republic from 1997 to 1999. After the New Republic, he worked for the Post, where, from 2000 to 2009, he covered the Supreme Court of the United States[1][2] and judicial system issues. He has since joined the newspaper's editorial page.

Early life and education[edit]

Born to a Jewish family[3] in 1961, Lane went to Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, where he was managing editor of the school newspaper, The Tattler. He earned his bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1983. As a Knight Fellow, he earned a Master of Studies in Law from Yale Law School in 1997.


Lane is a former foreign correspondent for Newsweek and served as the magazine's Berlin bureau chief. His coverage of the former Yugoslavia[4] was featured in the book Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know, edited by Roy Gutman and David Rieff.

The New Republic's owner, Marty Peretz, appointed Lane as editor in 1997 after firing Michael Kelly. Kelly had published a series of articles that Peretz felt were too critical of President Bill Clinton.[5] In 1998, a scandal arose at The New Republic when fabricated reporting by Stephen Glass was discovered. Lane fired Glass."[6][7] Peretz replaced Lane with Peter Beinart in 1999. Lane reportedly learned of his firing from the media before he heard about it from Peretz.[8]

The Glass fabrications were "the greatest scandal in the magazine's history and marked a decade of waning influence and mounting financial losses," the New York Times would later report.[9] Explaining why it took so long to catch Glass' fraud, Peretz blamed two of his editors, Michael Kelly and Lane, for not catching the fraud earlier. Lane, Peretz claimed, ignored obvious warning signs of the fabrication, and then attempted to unfairly lay the blame to his predecessor, Kelly. Peretz claimed that Lane's alleged inaction "sullied the good name of the New Republic. Peretz subsequently fired Lane."[10] According to an account in the American Prospect, "Lane got the news [of his firing] from a Washington Post reporter who called to inquire about his future plans."[11]

Lane has taught journalism at Georgetown University in Washington, DC and at Princeton University.

In 2008 Lane published The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction, about the Colfax massacre of 1873 in Louisiana of blacks by white militia, including the murder of surrendered prisoners. He explored its political repercussions during Reconstruction, including the resulting Supreme Court case from United States prosecution of perpetrators, United States v. Cruikshank (1876). The Court ruled that actions of individuals were not covered by constitutional protections and suggested that individuals should seek relief in state courts. But during and for many decades after Reconstruction, these rarely prosecuted and never convicted white men for offenses against blacks.

Popular culture[edit]

The 1998 journalism scandal at The New Republic was portrayed in the 2003 film Shattered Glass. Lane was portrayed by actor Peter Sarsgaard.

Glass published a "biographical novel" entitled The Fabulist (2003) about his career of journalistic fabrication. "Robert Underwood" was a major character in the "novel" and taken as a fictionalized version of Charles Lane. Reviewing the book for the Washington Post, Chris Lehmann wrote that the Underwood character "is meant to induce in-the-know readers to think poorly of Charles Lane."[12]

Personal life[edit]

Lane is married to a German immigrant from the former East Berlin. They have three children.[3]


  1. ^ Lane, Charles. "Full Court Press". The Washington Post. Retrieved 19 October 2007.
  2. ^ "Washington Post Is Now Chuck Lane's Show". 16 February 2010.
  3. ^ a b Charles, Charles (30 May 2017). "Why I shed tears this Memorial Day". Washington Post.
  4. ^ "Crimes of War Project The Book – Contributors". The Crimes of War Project. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 19 October 2007.
  5. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (6 September 1997). "New Republic Editor Dismissed Over Criticism". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  6. ^ Penenberg, Adam L. (11 May 1998). "Lies, damn lies and fiction". Forbes.
  7. ^ "The New Republic Was In Trouble Long Before Chris Hughes Bought It". The American Prospect.
  8. ^ Elder, Sean (1 December 1999). "The new kid at the New Republic". Salon. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  9. ^ Rodrick, Stephen (24 January 2011). "Martin Peretz Is Not Sorry. About Anything". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Last, Jonathan V. (30 October 2003). "Stopping Stephen Glass". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  11. ^ Alterman, Eric (18 June 2007). "My Marty Peretz Problem -- And Ours". The American Prospect. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  12. ^ Lehmann, Chris (13 May 2003). "Stephen Glass's Novel, More Than Half Empty". The Washington Post.

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