February 14th, 2013

Martin Peretz is surprised…

…by the fact that the guy who took over TNR, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, told Peretz he planned to do one thing with the magazine and has actually done another.

Surprised, Martin? Why?

I can’t read the full Peretz article at the WSJ because it’s behind a pay firewall, but Volokh has some liberal (ha ha) quotes from it [emphasis mine]. Peretz writes:

[The most recent issue of TNR has] established as fact what had only been suggested by the magazine in the early days of its new administration: The New Republic has abandoned its liberal but heterodox tradition and embraced a leftist outlook as predictable as that of Mother Jones or the Nation.

That was hardly the fate I expected for the magazine. Yes, Mr. Hughes had run Barack Obama’s highly successful social-media operation during the 2008 presidential campaign, so a certain Democratic affinity was to be expected. But his assurances of open-mindedness in running the magazine inspired confidence. . . .

There is something strange about Chris Hughes’s journalistic vision. He has said in public and to me that he intended for the magazine no longer to be known as a liberal journal, for it not to take up only one side of an issue. Fair enough. An earnest expression of this sentiment is the fact that the magazine has stopped publishing editorials.

But maybe editorials are no longer needed, given the articles themselves. The magazine now seems to live in a space where those “little insurrections of the mind” are unwelcome. It is akin to the atmosphere in many colleges and universities: There are prevailing orthodoxies but they aren’t recognized as such. Mr. Obama himself is the main one. The president is an object of fealty at the New Republic in a way that Woodrow Wilson and even Franklin Roosevelt never were.

Welcome to the reality you’ve apparently been denying for years, Mr. Peretz. You thought you were creating an organ for the sort of fair, thoughtful, open-minded left that questions authority whether it comes from left or right, and that it could endure that way? That proves that you never understood the left at all, although you were part of it.

And you apparently never understood Barack Obama, either, or most of his hired hands, if you trusted them to do what they say they will.

Of course, this may all be some sort of reaction by Peretz to losing his fiefdom and seeing it taken over and steered in a new direction. It may, in other words, be more personal than principled. But although ego may have a bit to do with it, I think his surprise and anger about the larger issue is sincere, as well. Peretz’s sort of liberalism, including his support of Israel, has become increasingly out of date, and he may just be beginning to realize it.

12 Responses to “Martin Peretz is surprised…”

  1. Bob from Virginia Says:

    Expect an article on Obama’s superior intelligence in Scientific American soon, followed by one describing his breakthrough contributions to quantum relativity.

    The histories of our times will be written by humorists and published as an obituary.

  2. Sam L. Says:

    What Benghazi Barry wants, Benghazi Barry usually gets.

  3. artfldgr Says:

    The New Republic has abandoned its liberal but heterodox tradition and embraced a leftist outlook as predictable as that of Mother Jones or the Nation

    Gleichschaltung

    now that everyone sees where this is going, everyone is going to rush to change sides (As in germany, and as when i said when i brought up that term and no one else had yet!).

    at some point the numbers are going to be so great that what remains is the target they are going to attack.

    change sides, dont be last…
    which is what i said would happen if the process was unopposed and it WAS unopposed…

    your going to see this more and more as it collects speed and everyone knows the writing on the wall.

    so the sign of this is the sign its over…
    the ship is no longer seaworthy and everyone wants to join the rats on the other ship… NOT because they believe the same things, but because if they dont, those fanatical believers are either going to let them sink, or going to make sure they sink

    Welcome to the new reality tovarish…

    knowing whats next is like reading the book before seeing the play by the same author…

    and the only people arguing against, are the people who have no read the book, haven’t seen the play, and are getting their ideas from commercials, sound bites, and reviews… which are all very careful NOT to give away the last scene…

  4. Gringo Says:

    Anyone who believed that an Obama campaign operative would run an unbiased TNR is a fool. Sorry, Marty Peretz. Back in the day, TNR had a lot of good articles on Sandinista Nicaragua which raised howls from the lefties. My take is that Mary Peretz lost his touch.

  5. vanderleun Says:

    He may realize it but he cashed the check. He’s got no bitch.

  6. KLSmith Says:

    Reminds me of Mickey Kaus thinking he can have an honest debate with other lefties.

  7. NJcon Says:

    Neo,

    If you Google the title of the article “The New New Republic” you can read the entire article:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324880504578299863042281122.html

  8. Ymarsakar Says:

    “Peretz’s sort of liberalism, including his support of Israel, has become increasingly out of date, and he may just be beginning to realize it.”

    He’s on the Leftist purge list, whether he knows it or not.

  9. James Says:

    Mr. Peretz,
    The line for the bus is over here, please sir step this way.

  10. Baltimoron Says:

    As someone who’s read The New Republic regularly for years, I fully agree with Mr. Peretz about the magazine’s left turn. I’d add that the quality of their writing has gone way down and the new webdesign is terrible (maybe it looks better on a tablet).

    It really hit me the other day when I was reading Ruy Teixeira’s review of Jonathan Last’s new book. About half way through the article (which was extremely short by TNR’s old standards) I realized that Teixeira hadn’t actually read the book. His review was based entirely on an editorial Last did for the Wall Street Journal. Sad… just sad.

    Anyway, getting to neo’s point: of course Mr. Peretz should have seen this coming. Chris Hughes is a spoiled rich kid who became a billionaire because he had the good fortune to be Mark Zuckerberg’s roommate. He had a few failed news/social media enterprises on his own before, essentially, becoming a full time Democratic campaign donor. If Peretz cared more about the future of his magazine than he did about Chris Hughes’ money, he’d have realized the guy is a highly partisan Democrat with no clue how to run a magazine.

  11. Trimegistus Says:

    I do wish I knew how the Left manages to inspire such dedication and fanaticism. These vile assholes never seem to suffer remorse, have second thoughts, or change their minds. It’s as though you get a brain parasite implanted in your head when you join the Democratic Party, and free will ceases after that.

  12. neo-neocon Says:

    Baltimoron: I guess TNR is just keeping up with the times.

    Or the Times.

    It’s part of a generalized dumbing down, even in the non-political items.

    Of course, these days there are hardly any non-political items.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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