The Weekly Standard demise imminent


#1

The owner of The Weekly Standard said Tuesday it’s “exploring a number of possibilities” for the conservative journal, leaving the future uncertain for the rare right-leaning publication that has largely opposed President Donald Trump’s brand of politics.

Rumors had been swirling about The Weekly Standard since Monday morning, when its owner, Clarity Media, announced that a sister publication, The Washington Examiner, would be expanding its footprint with a blown-out weekly conservative magazine with national distribution. That appeared to overlap with the Weekly Standard’s model, leaving staffers and supporters of the magazine to wonder what its fate would be.

“It is no secret that news organizations across the U.S. are dealing with an evolving business landscape,” a spokesperson for Clarity Media said in a statement Tuesday. “The Weekly Standard is dealing with these same issues. Clarity Media has been exploring a number of possibilities regarding the future of The Weekly Standard. At this time, Clarity does not have any news to share about its evaluation process.”

Whereas the Examiner has featured a range of opinions on the president — from “Never Trump” to full-throated support — The Weekly Standard has been much more opposed to him, often making it appear out of sync with its conservative base of readers.

Founded by William Kristol and Fred Barnes in 1995, The Weekly Standard was viewed as heavily influential during the administration of George W. Bush — becoming known as the in-flight magazine of Air Force One — but has seen the conservative movement shift in the Trump era. Kristol became one of the most prominent “never Trump” media figures, speaking frequently on cable news, and the journal’s editors and writers have largely shared his views.

The Weekly Standard has also faced the headwinds plaguing the entire magazine industry. As recently as five years ago, it boasted a print circulation of about 100,000, but by last year, that number had fallen to 72,000, according to the auditing group BPA Worldwide. Between 2016 and 2017, the year Trump took office, paid circulation for the magazine dropped by about 7,000, or roughly 10 percent, according to the auditing group.

CNN first reported Tuesday that the magazine could be in trouble, saying that the chairman of MediaDC — the publisher of The Weekly Standard and Washington Examiner, owned by Clarity Media — had requested a meeting next week with editor in chief Stephen Hayes, with the entire Weekly Standard staff available for a meeting afterward. Clarity Media is owned by Philip Anschutz, the billionaire businessman and conservative donor.

Even as The Weekly Standard’s circulation has dwindled, its list of subscribers could still be of value to MediaDC, as it launches its Examiner magazine nationwide. That, as well as the future of the Weekly Standard brand, may be key issues as the publisher decides what to do with the journal.

Jim Antle, who served for three years as politics editor at the Examiner, before being hired as editor at The American Conservative in October, said that The Weekly Standard’s situation reflected the wider crack-up inside the Republican Party. While elites have often resisted Trump, the grassroots of the party have enthusiastically supported him.

“The challenge,” he said, is “being a conservative publication that does not like the current Republican president.”

He commended The Weekly Standard’s “intellectual honesty and independence,” but added: “I think, in general, people don’t visit conservative websites and read conservative magazines to read that the president is terrible. So what do you do when your writers and editors have concluded the president is terrible? It’s a challenging thing.”

Other conservative publications, like National Review, have faced similar challenges. During the Republican primary, the journal published an “Against Trump” issue, but over time has placated its pro-Trump donors and readers by adding voices supportive of the president.

On Twitter on Tuesday evening, reporters from across the political spectrum worried over The Weekly Standard’s future.

“One of the great things about Weekly Standard and National Review is that I still think the most interesting debate to be had on the right is between those who defend the President at all costs and those who like a lot of what he has done, but are still deeply skeptical of him,” tweeted Erick Erickson, a conservative radio host.

Meanwhile, Atlantic staff writer Adam Serwer said on Twitter, “I’m obviously not the target audience for the Weekly Standard but its output in the Trump era has mostly avoided the bizarre tone of Trumpist sycophancy dominating much of conservative media and losing it would be bad.”


#2

I hope that National Review will be next.


#3

two P’sos… Barnes is a globalist, neocon turd, loved by NPR for his “moderate” politics and Kristol a pos mainstream news-jew… clearly they are on the losing side of history like Johnny War-Boy McCain. this is why they are now going down the tubes. true conservatism is on-the-rise.


#4

The sooner the better for this one.


#5