The New Republic: a magazine out of time
No hard feelings, really
I think it was Stephen Glass who showed how little the New Republic mattered.
Sure, he slunk off into sociopathy land, but in the end, his story was a dull movie, now cable filler, but it already confirmed that TNR wasn't exactly relevant. It was the extention of the Harvard Club for the moderately talented. But there was no great scandal, completely making up stories. But it just didn't matter, because TNR didn't matter.
But like armies runs by old generals, they rarely know how badly they've been beaten until they get beaten.
They had been Joe Lieberman's ideological home as moderates moved to the left and conservatives to the right. They sat in the yellow stripe middle when there was no appeal for it.
But, misjudging their audience completely, their army-aged writers signed on for the Iraq war, from their desks. And the worse the war got, the sillier they looked.
Then, of course, they realized the blogs were coming after them, hard. They didn't like the scruffy blogs, and tried to ignore them. Then they realized Kos and Atrios had more readers than they did and more influence. So what did they do? Attack.
Like a cornered rat, they lunged at Kos. Not at first, but after Yearly Kos, they shit the bed. Kos had to be on the take, he had to be doing something wrong. So what did they dig up? A six year old SEC complain against the non-Kos Jerome Armstrong. And they created some conspiracy around that.
Until they ran an e-mail I didn't write. Whoever sent it to them is a bed shitting moron, but the fact that they ran it without checking, was amazing. Not only was it bad journalism, it was stupid. I can make my case, Kos can make his case, and the people who read us like us more than them. And our readers send letters. Which means don't lie about me in print. I don't have take it like some peon.
Now, I don't fault Frank Foer in this. He should have fired Jason Zengerle, but I think he'll eventually have the chance to do the right thing. The fact that he didn't burn his source was disappointing, but now every word TNR publishes is suspect, it's management a joke, it's word questionable. Sure, it was gutless to not burn their source, but sometimes a man has to eat.
What they didn't understand is that the blogs can fight back, and they thought they had the upper hand. They didn't then and don't now.
But the reason I bring this up, besides mild pleasure, is to tie them into the collapse of Lieberman. Within the next few days, his black vote strategy is going to collapse. Al Sharpton is campaigning with Lamont, and that's going to be a problem for Lieberman. Because while white voters may not like him, if this race is about black voters, Sharpton is a credible figure. Sharpton is joining Maxine Waters and other, local Dems in supporting Lamont.
However, TNR has tied their publication closely to Lieberman. If Lieberman loses, it bodes ill for the current editorial direction of the rag. They will be facing bloggers who have no tolerance or time for their appeasement politics. They will be on the wrong side of American politics and doomed.
Will Marty Peretz see reality and dump the appeasers, or will he soldier on, running an irrelevant freak show, which has lower journalistic standards than the National Enquirer. After all, they have a financial stake in the truth.
Among the most nervous people on August 8th will be the staff of the New Republic. Because if Joerus the heretic goes, they may well be next
posted by Steve @ 1:40:00 AM