Elsewhere: TNR RIP

Dana Milbank: "The New Republic is dead, thanks to its owner, Chris Hughes":

At a 40th-birthday party in July for Franklin Foer, editor of the New Republic, the magazine’s young owner, Chris Hughes, got all choked up as he pledged to the roomful of writers at Foer’s country home in Pennsylvania that the two would be “intellectual partners for decades.”

But the moist-eyed Hughes would, in the coming months, prove himself to be neither an intellectual nor a partner but a dilettante and a fraud.

Damon Linker: "One of TNR's best qualities was its ability to infuriate."

The New Republic...was a magazine by Cold War liberals who remained liberals—who didn't jump ship to the conservative movement and the Republican Party, who dissented from some aspects of Great Society liberalism but not others, who didn't become neocons. That made TNR somewhat more conservative on some issues than mainstream liberal opinion, but on most issues far more liberal than National Review, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, and the other leading journals of the right.

It also made TNR by far the most interesting, unpredictable, ideologically heterodox, and intellectually stimulating magazine in the country for years on end—provided that one was willing to be provoked and goaded into thought by smart, sharp, passionate argument.

George Packer: "The Real Crisis of Journalism"

The crisis in journalism is a business crisis, and it’s been going on for twenty years; the outcome remains far from obvious. Writers and editors at magazines and newspapers live with a perpetual sense of foreboding, which leads to plummeting self-confidence in their own work and a tendency to overestimate the new digital enterprises, or the new digitally rich owners of the old enterprises. It’s easy to feel that the very task of reporting and writing in depth, at length, and in complex detail is somehow to blame for their problems. It isn’t—but, faced with a deeply uncertain future, they become, in a phrase from Robert Stone’s novel A Flag for Sunrise, the mouse so scared it went to the cat for love. It shouldn’t be a complete surprise when the cat turns around and eats them, or, even worse, claws out their eyes with an inattentive swipe of the paw.

Matthew Boudway is senior editor of Commonweal.

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