Sad news, folks. Brian Beutler, the Washington correspondent for the Media Consortium and a frequent contributer to this site and this blog, was shot three times yesterday in a failed mugging in Northwest Washington DC. Brian is in the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. Brian's editor, Adele Stan, wrote this after visiting Brian in the hospital:
Funny thing about being a journalist: your job is to write about people and mayhem and trauma, but let any of those touch you directly, and it becomes a different game. With that caveat, allow me to recount my brief visit today with my colleague, Brian Beutler, whose sign-off is a familiar one on this site, and has come to define the reporting of The Media Consortium's syndicated reporting project.
I was just about to leave the house this morning to meet with Brian
when I got word this morning, through a mutual colleague of ours, that he had been shot last night in Washington, D.C., in an aborted mugging.
I found him at Washington Hospital Center, where his good friend, Matt
Franklin, sat vigil through the night, as Brian underwent major surgery. By the time I got there, Brian was in recovery, and Matt and I were shown to his bedside.
Perhaps foremost among the topics about which Brian writes in his coverage of national security and civil liberties issues is FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the Bush administration's circumvention of the original 1978 legislation, and subsequent legislative attempts to widen the powers of the executive branch to spy on U.S. citizens. The entity of choice for such spying by the Bush administration has been the National Security Agency.
This morning, Brian and I had planned to go over the story he had just
delivered about efforts by Sen. Russell Feingold to stop the latest version of FISA legislation from getting through the Senate. As his editor, I had promised our members that we would deliver the piece today.
When I stepped up to Brian's hospital bed, he smiled through the clear, plastic mask covering his mouth, and said in a quite, hoarse voice, "Sorry. I left you high and dry."
What could I do but laugh?
After some housekeeping conversation about his level of comfort (not great, as you might imagine), he piped up, "I have a theory about the shooting." He smiled, impishly.
"Oh, yeah?" I said.
"It was the NSA," he said, with a deadpan look.
(Actually, it was two teenage boys who thought they wanted Brian's phone.)
The good word is that Brian is expected to make a full recovery. Please be patient as we await his return to his beat. Nobody covers FISA and the rest of his beat quite like Brian Beutler. I know that his passion for his work will bring him back to the Hill in good time.
--Adele M. Stan
Brian and Adele work in the same office as the members of Mother Jones' DC bureau, so it was a somber day around here after we got news of Brian's incident. David Corn, our bureau chief, and Dan Schulman, our associate editor, visited Brian in the hospital this afternoon. He was in high enough spirits to joke that his shooting was a result of undercover reporting on the DC hand gun ban.
Nick Baumann, assistant editor, and I want to know when Brian's rap album is dropping.