December 05, 2014

The New Republic is on life support? Good. #TNR is trash

Really, TNR died long ago.

It died when Marty Peretz inflicted his ultra-Zionism, plus his racism, on the journal. That's why, contra this former intern's claim, it's far, far away from "heterodox liberalism." Hell, Vox isn't the first place to halfway note that, as I blogged a few years back. Well, if you're on the Council for Foreign Relations, it's probably flat-out liberalism.

And, Mr. Greenberg, if it's impolite for me to email you calling Marty Peretz a racist? If you'd had a Twitter account, I would have done it more publicly, so consider yourself lucky.

And, if I had wanted to be impolite, I would have called Peretz a fucking racist, not just a racist.

Besides, The Nation publicly called you out. So did Gawker (insert irony, since new TNR owner Chris Hughes wants a new Gawker or something), but with more snark.

But, back to TNR's nearly 40 years of history being owned by ... a racist.

Instead, it had a nearly 40-year history of racism, racism fueled in part by a particular version of ultra-Zionism that is part of why some blacks have long been less than fully trusting of all Jews. Sorry, but I went there.

And, for Jews, especially with some degree of Zionism, to stay on, and to stay on not just through Peretz's craptacular management in general, but his racism, well ... it's no wonder that a lot of black journalists like Ta-Nehisi Coates feel little sadness for your loss.

Hell, I wouldn't blame them if they had a shade or two of schadenfreude. It would be well-deserved.

That said, back to the racism.

It's racism that was only further fueled when Andrew Sullivan (anybody calls him a liberal, I'll kick you in the nads) devoted a full issue of the magazine to singing a paean to Charles Murray's and Richard Herrnstein's love song to racialism, "The Bell Curve," a move that inspired my bit of Photoshopping at left. And a bit of punditry about that Photoshopping.

Dylan Byars at Politico has the inside-the-Beltway mourning for the mag, which is cutting its print issues in half, looking to go digital first, and ... moving to New York!

Quelle horreur!

In reality? TNR was a training ground for some neoliberals, and even more a lot of neoconservatives.

You know, the type that, at various levels of alleged liberalism, worked to give Shrub Bush pseudointellectual, pseudoliberal "cover" for invading Iraq.

Yes, since Peretz finally let go of the paper, it's gotten better on not being racist. But, the inside-the-Beltway thinking otherwise? From the occasional articles I've grokked online, little has changed there.

For those who claim TNR wasn't racist, an old cover.
Via Ta-Nehesi Coates' Twitter feed.
Who, outside the Beltway, would mourn that, or call it "heterodox liberalism"? Speaking of, I wonder how national Democrats will pontificate. Or national bloggers? Why am I not surprised that Josh Marshall called TNR, Peretz version, "really good"?

Additional serious points about its current status.

The Daily Beast nails one other angle.

Current owner Chris Hughes is a co-founder of Facebook. He's been a partner in Gawker.

You can form some idea of what the new TNR is going to look like just from that.

Clickbait articles. Political gossip. Political picture. A bit gussied up, still. Commentary to hold that together.

In other words, a kinder, gentler version of the UK's clickbait newspaper, The Daily Mail.

On the other hand, for the Dylan Byars types and beyond? Some people at TNR, and probably starting with Leon Wieseltier, probably did need some kicking around.

As for what this does, or does not, say about #JournalismIsDying, political/opinion mags have been money-losers for decades. Ask National Review and The Nation. Rich benefactors is the only way they stay afloat.

Chris Hughes will either become a rich benefactor, or his Facebooky click-bait model will fail without his wallet, and he'll move on. If we're lucky, Hughes will screw up enough to kill it.

That said, said failure will be blamed on anything and everything else but neoliberalism, and Net 2.0 related items.


Corey Robin has some interesting thoughts. While acknowledging that TNR was racist and warmongering, he says that's not what's caused its semi-demise. Rather, in what's probably going to be infuriating to Sully of my Photoshopping, down through the sacked Franklin Foer and everybody who quit in sympathy this week, Robin said that it ran out of intellectual steam.

I would modify that. I'd say that it was rather that its intellectual steam got adopted by so much of the modern GOP, as well as neoliberal Democrats, that its one big idea became an inside-the-Beltway commonplace.

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