the right side of the newsstand

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WaPo examines conservative magazines and their stances (to varying degrees) against Trump, particularly Rich Lowry's National Review, which WaPo calls "the country's preeminent conservative magazine:"

Lowry reached out to a wide range of conservatives, hoping to hit Trump from as many angles as possible. The eventual collection [from all the way back in January 2016], titled "Against Trump," featured essays by 22 contributors -- many of them editors of other conservative publications, including William Kristol, then editor of the Weekly Standard; John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary; R.R. Reno, editor of First Things; Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs; and Ben Domenech, co-founder of the conservative website the Federalist. The issue came out on Jan. 21, 2016, 11 days before the Iowa caucuses, and it generated enough notice that Trump himself felt compelled to respond. "National Review is a failing publication that has lost it's way," he tweeted. "It's circulation is way down w its influence being at an all time low. Sad!"

In addition to Rich Lowry's National Review (100,000 circulation), there is also The Weekly Standard (65,000 circulation), John Podhoretz's Commentary (26,000 circulation), American Affairs (12,000 circulation), and The American Conservative (5,000 circulation), also-rans such as Modern Age, and New Criterion are mentioned--but The American Spectator, home of the infamous Arkansas Project, did not make the list.) "Two surprising stars of the Trump era," WaPo writes, "have been the Claremont Review of Books and the religious journal First Things:"

It was in the normally restrained Claremont Review of Books that someone going by the name "Publius Decius Mus" (later revealed to be Michael Anton) published "The Flight 93 Election," an influential essay arguing that the election of Trump [see my analysis here], however extreme the risks, was the only hope of preventing a complete surrender to the cultural left.

I still read these magazines on occasion--CRB foremost among them--but the general decline of conservative magazines has been clear for some time, paralleling the decline in conservatism itself. WaPo's summation is replete with a backward-looking mawkish naïveté:

As much as their contributors may differ in opinion or even dislike one another, what unites these magazines -- and distinguishes them from right-wing outlets like Breitbart -- is an almost quaint belief in debate as an instrument of enlightenment rather than as a mere tool of political warfare. [...]

With so many Americans today engaged in partisan war, any publication with a commitment to honesty in argument becomes a potential peacemaker. It also becomes an indispensable forum for working out which ideas merit a fight in the first place. This is what, in their best moments, the conservative magazines are now doing.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on January 29, 2018 12:39 PM.

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