Beinart Out, Foer In at [em]TNR[/em]

New Republic editor Peter Beinart is not going to be the next editor of The Atlantic, he told the Observer two weeks ago. But he may not be editor of The New Republic much longer, either. Persistent Beltway rumor has Beinart stepping down from his post, to be replaced by TNR senior editor Franklin Foer. An announcement could come as early as Tuesday.

[Update: In a story for tomorrow's paper, posted on the Web this evening, The New York Times confirms that Foer is replacing Beinart.]

“I’m not going to confirm anything,” New Republic owner and editor-in-chief Martin Peretz said by phone this afternoon, as he prepared to catch a flight to Israel. “Call me tomorrow.”

Neither Beinart nor Foer returned calls seeking comment.

Beinart has been editor of the weekly since November of 1999. His presence has diminished recently, however. For much of the last year, he was on leave writing The Good Fight, a book based on a 6,000-word meditation on John Kerry’s defeat he wrote for TNR in 2004. The book is due out from HarperCollins in June.

Foer has recently been courted by The New York Times, which hoped to hire him to write about the culture of Washington, D.C.

Some New Republic staffers said they were unaware of any pending masthead changes.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” one staffer said. “Beinart is definitely back and 90 percent of where he was before. Before the book, he was committed 24 hours [a day] to TNR. Now it’s 20 hours. He’s still very committed, but with the understandable coda that he’s writing his book.”

–Gabriel Sherman