TNR’s Demise Voxsplained for the Rest of Us


Erick wrote with great clarity on the death of The New Republic as a pillar of progressive thought, but navigating the Byzantine maze of Washington liberal media is only for the bravest of brave hearts. So Ezra Klein has broken it down for us in the hoi polloi by Voxsplaining what has happened to the august TNR.

Before we delve into Klein’s truly dizzying intellect, let me sum up what happened at TNR.

Owner Chris Hughes, a Facebook jillionaire, decided that The New Republic wasn’t webby enough. He also decided that TNR should do something completely shocking to its the liberal-progressive denizens: make money for him. Not just make money for its editors and writers, who enjoy the power and mutual butt-sniffing of beltway wonk worship, but actually make a return on investment to Hughes, instead of him simply funding another 80 years of theoretical policy and a printed magazine with a circulation less than msnbc’s ratings.

Hughes was found guilty of being a capitalist, a high crime in the eyes of TNR editors, who have been leaving faster than John Travolta’s hair. Now back to Klein, whose stated and unrealized life wish is to work for TNR.

When I entered journalism there were three places I badly wanted to work: The American Prospect, The Washington Monthly, and The New Republic. The decision turned out to be easy: TNR never called me back.

Vox is like an IQ black hole; it’s a gravity well that consumes all intelligence which dares to penetrate its event horizon, and lets nothing out. All becomes crushed into a singularity of liberal narrative in which the rest of the universe ceases to exist. Klein did not fail to obey this law in his fawning eulogy-cum-resurrection piece about TNR. He started by listing all of Washington’s “new media powerhouses”.

The internet is now thick with outlets that pride themselves on covering Washington’s vast policymaking apparatus. Vox is one of them, as is The New Republic, but so are Wonkblog, the Upshot, Mother Jones, Storyline, FiveThirtyEight, and Politico, to name just a few. And that doesn’t even include the individual bloggers who are must-reads if you’re following policy: Kevin Drum, and Tyler Cowen, and Brad DeLong, and Paul Krugman, and Ross Douthat, and Ramesh Ponnuru, and Jonathan Chait, and Scott Sumner, and Megan McArdle, and Jonathan Bernstein, and, again, the list goes …read more    

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