‘Some of them may lose their jobs next week. But they should be applauded for holding on to their dignity…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) The NeverTrump resistance movement suffered another casualty on Friday as a once venerable conservative publication, The Weekly Standard, abruptly announced that its Dec. 17 issue would be its last.
Even for those who were not regular readers and subscribers, the magazine’s personalities—including Editor Stephen Hayes, co-founders Fred Barnes and Bill Kristol, and many of its contributing editors—have been familiar faces from the pundit circuit, often making regular panelist appearances on Fox News.
Hayes described the magazine in a tweet as an “unapologetically conservative and fiercely independent voice,” adding, “That voice is needed more now than at anytime in our previous 23 years.”
While some commended it for acting as a guardian of traditional conservatism, however, others saw in its steadfast refusal to adapt to the changing Trumpian political imperatives an archaic—if not altogether traitorous—worldview.
As leftist politics became increasingly radicalized, pushing both media and legislators to its fringe, The Weekly Standard remained firmly entrenched in the middle, straddling the former battle lines of Right and Left.
For Hayes, it was a point of pride. According to CNN, he wrote in an email to staff on Friday, “Many media outlets have responded to the challenges of the moment by prioritizing affirmation over information, giving into the pull of polarization and the lure of clickbait.”
Ryan McKibben, chairman of the magazine’s publisher, MediaDC, suggested it was the broader challenges of print media that ultimately led to The Weekly Standard‘s demise, among them “double-digit declines in its subscriber base,” according to CNN.
Those challenges, however, also included declines in online traffic that some attributed directly to Trump’s inauguration.
Speculation loomed recently that philosophical differences between the editorial staff and publishers may have played a role and that the magazine’s founding members had been shopping around potential buyers.
Among those lamenting the magazine’s loss was The Washington Post, which noted in an opinion piece last week by columnist Megan McArdle that it was facing grim financial prospects.
Offering an array of backhanded compliments to the magazine for opposing the president—while also acknowledging a tinge of Schadenfreude and delight in its failure—McArdle said, “The past two years have given the lie to many of the nastiest accusations the left levels against conservative intellectuals … selling self-justification to the richest bidder. If that were true, there would be no civil war shattering the movement, and there would certainly be no #NeverTrump conservatives holding firm.”
Ironically, as elements of the conservative old-guard may have faltered financially (along with many left-wing publications), the Democrats have gleefully assumed their place as the party of elitism and billionaire special interests.
With the support of plutocrats like George Soros, Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg and Washington Post publisher Jeff Bezos leading the charge, Democrats outspent Republicans by more than $300 million in the record-shattering $5.2 billion 2018 midterm, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
And as long as institutions like The Weekly Standard do not threaten the liberal dogma, leftists are more than happy to toast their ‘principled’ anti-Trump stance.
“Some of them may lose their jobs next week,” said McArdle. “But they should be applauded for holding on to their dignity.”