Sunday, December 16, 2018

Trump and the Death of The Weekly Standard

The Weekly Standard, a neocon mag critical of President Trump, is closing after a 23-year run.

The final edition of the magazine will publish on Monday, Dec. 17.

Weekly Standard subscriptions will be turned into subscriptions to sister publication The Washington Examiner, which will be redesigned and expanded on Jan. 1, the publisher of both, Clarity Media, said.

According to The Wall Street JournalThe Washington Examiner was described by a Weekly Standard staffer as “friendlier to Trump” but not a cheerleader.

Fred Barnes, The Weekly Standard’s executive editor and also a founder, said the publication’s financial issues stemmed in part from its stance on President Trump, according to WSJ. “We’ve discovered that criticism of Trump affects circulation negatively,”  Barnes said in an interview. “That was definitely a factor.”

Though there are insider whispers that the billionaire owner, Phil Anschutz, killed the magazine for additional reasons.

David Brooks at The New York Times writes:
I’ve only been around Phil Anschutz a few times. My impressions on those occasions was that he was a run-of-the-mill arrogant billionaire. He was used to people courting him and he addressed them condescendingly from the lofty height of his own wealth.

I’ve never met Ryan McKibben, who runs part of Anschutz’s media group. But stories about him have circulated around Washington over the years. The stories suggest that he is an ordinary corporate bureaucrat — with all the petty vanities and the lack of interest in ideas that go with the type.

This week, Anschutz and McKibbin murdered The Weekly Standard, the conservative opinion magazine that Anschutz owned. They didn’t merely close it because it was losing money. They seemed to have murdered it out of greed and vengeance.

John Podhoretz, one of the magazine’s founders, reports that they actively prevented potential buyers from coming in to take it over and keep it alive. They apparently wanted to hurt the employees and harvest the subscription list so they could make money off it. And Anschutz, being a professing Christian, decided to close the magazine at the height of the Christmas season, and so cause maximum pain to his former employees and their families...

The closing of The Weekly Standard is being told as a Trump story, as all stories must be these days. The magazine has been critical of Trump, and so this is another example of the gradual hegemony of Trumpism over the conservative world. That is indeed the backdrop to what happened here.

But that’s not the whole story.
That said, across part of the political spectrum from neocon to libertarian, it is tough to go against the Diet Coke chugger.

The thought comes to mind of what Murray Rothbard wrote about Ronald Reagan:
There was no “Reagan Revolution.” Any “revolution” in the direction of liberty (in Ronnie’s words “to get government off our backs”) would reduce the total level of government spending...
I am convinced that the historic function of Ronald Reagan was to co-opt, eviscerate and ultimately destroy the substantial wave of anti-governmental, and quasi-libertarian, sentiment that erupted in the U.S. during the 1970s.
To be sure, The Weekly Standard was no small government supporter. It is something to say that even it could not survive under the administration of the military loving, high spending Trump.

Those of us running outlets far more anti-government than The Weekly Standard are having an even tougher time surviving under the era of the destroyer of the small government movement who fills arenas with people who have stopped reading any outlet that is anti-Trump.

Good riddance to The Weekly Standard but when do we get a president who fully takes up the advice of President George Washington in his farewell address and acts on it?:
The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities...
Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences...In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

1 comment:

  1. The inability of libertarians to remain relevant in the marketplace is the fault of nobody but themselves.

    Rest in piss, Weekly Standard. Taking down Kristol is another feather in Trump's cap.