Likelihood of Success

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TNR’s pathetic penance

Posted by Ron Coleman on July 28, 2007

Bryan from HotAir writes about the Beauchamp controversy:

[T]ruth matters. “Fake but accurate” amounts to a lie, TNR. And in a post-modern war such as the one we’re fighting, and especially as we place more emphasis on the morality of our actions in war than on actually winning it by defeating the enemy, Beauchamp represents an informational attack on our ability to wage war. Words are weapons.

All true, as I have been saying. I think he is missing a key point, however: The New Republic, like its former editor, Andrew Sullivan, supported the Iraq war. And now it has huge regrets over that, especially considering how a thin layer of financial and social support is all that ever props up even a very good opinion magazine, as that one once was.

TNR has made a lot of mistakes — under the long ownership of Marty Peretz, for example, it was (as were many of us) a big supporter of the pre-crackup Al Gore; it brought Andrew Sullivan (also pre-crackup, actually) to the big time; and it gave us, of course, Steven Glass, who established the journalistic standards the magazine seemed to be following in vetting Beauchamp.

All these errors were forgivable on the Upper West Side and among the Hollywood no-nothing political elite. Indeed, Gore is truly beloved of the left now in a way he could not have been during the Peretz days; Sullivan has become the reliable emblem of the relentless single-issue left-wing banshee, deciding all policy questions through the prism of same-sex marriage; and just plain making stuff up in national publications to further the Cause has been a left-wing publishing tradition since at least Walter Duranty. (Monkeyfishing, also akin, was a gift from Slate, which replaced TNR as the relevant, and free online, moderately liberal periodical of choice.)

But supporting the Iraq war? Priceless. It is going to be the issue that dogs Hillary Clinton from her supposed liberal base. Unlike Mrs. Clinton, TNR, however, is not set for life, win, lose or draw. If its readers don’t get enough anti-war red meat, on a regular basis, it will never overcome their suspicions. Under its new ownership, more than vanity will be required to keep it afloat. Ironically, however, this Beauchamp adventure is more likely to help than hinder its seaworthiness — for there is no more compelling mark of liberal dependability to live and promote “fake but accurate,” is there?

Thus TNR is the Judge Robert Kaufman of journalism. He is the one, as you remember, who sentenced the Rosenbergs to death for their espionage, and spent the ensuing decades on the bench issuing predictably liberal opinions in attempted penance. He never got it, of course, and meanwhile the harm kept on giving. For all its trouble, TNR is not likely to do much better, by itself or by the commonweal.

UPDATE:  The Monkeyfish come home to roost.

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4 Responses to “TNR’s pathetic penance”

  1. Dean Esmay said

    Walter Duranty, not Durant. 😉

  2. Ron Coleman said

    Narrative, Dean. The narrative is the thing. (Fixed!)

  3. […] 2007 How tawdry the Beauchamp story got at The New Republic!  I’ve weighed in on their motivation already.  Now they are hunkering down, circling wagons.  The first orderof business , described by […]

  4. […] Posted by Ron Coleman on January 8, 2008 The New Republic has recently become famous for its making-stuff-up journalism. […]

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