During the US presidential campaign I dropped my subscription to New Republic. I didn’t do any background research, I just found the drum-beat of pro-Obama, anti-Romney propaganda too tedious to bother with (much less pay for). Now I find out that this is because the new owner and self-anointed editor-in-chief, Chris Hughes, is a Obama campaign loyalist whose understanding of journalism, much less the storied history of The New Republic, leads much to be desired.
And just recently, Hughes unveiled the new masthead for his publication, in which, according to an article at the Washington Beacon, a host of Jewish writers have been dropped:
Daily Beast reporter Eli Lake, longtime TNR columnist James Kirchick, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, and onetime senior editor Lawrence Kaplan. Complicating the picture, former TNR editor Peter Beinart was also dropped from the masthead. Beinart is the publisher of Open Zion, an anti-Zionist Daily Beast blog sponsored by the New America Foundation.
Shades of CNN Middle East Bureau?
Not according to TNR contributing editor, Jonathan Chait, in a scathingly sarcastic post entitled “Hitler Alive and Well, Owning Liberal Magazine” (HT: Yair Rosenberg). Chait views the issue as an absurd tempest in a teapot by an embarrassingly alarmist and unrealiable source. And it may just be the long overdue cleaning up of a list, eliminating the names of writers who no longer contribute. After all, Leon Weiseltier is still there and (even) criticizing Obama and his new global “light footprint.”
But it may also be part of an alignment with a Term2Obama who will may raise the demands of journalistic loyalty. Whatever the case, under Hughes the decline in independent thought has been pretty noticeable.
That has not, however, kept Hughes from grandiose claims to the opposite:
The journalism in these pages will strive to be free of party ideology or partisan bias, although it will showcase passionate writing and will continue to wrestle with the primary questions about our society.
Alas. It’s not a good sign when the new editor in chief engages in unconscious parody.