In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, former owner/editor-in-chief of The New Republic Martin Peretz sandblasted the refurbished edition now being published by new owner (and juice-box Facebook co-founder) Chris Hughes.
The first edition of The New New Republic was fat – 68 heavyweight glossy pages – and mildly controversial thanks to the fawning interview Hughes and editor Franklin Foer conducted with President Obama (see Reuters media critic Jack Shafer here and the redoubtable Dan Kennedy of Media Nation here).
Now comes the second edition of The New New Republic – and Peretz’s Journal strafing of it:
Like many readers of the New Republic, I didn’t at first recognize the most recent issue of the magazine. The stark white cover was unlike anything the New Republic ran during my 35 years as the owner. Having read the cover story, I still don’t recognize the magazine that I sold in 2012 to the Facebook zillionaire Chris Hughes.
“Original Sin,” by Sam Tanenhaus, purported to explain “Why the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people.” The provocative theme would not have been unthinkable in the magazine’s 99-year history, but the essay’s reliance on insinuations of GOP racism (“the inimical ‘they’ were being targeted by a spurious campaign to pass voter-identification laws, a throwback to Jim Crow”) and gross oversimplifications hardly reflected the intellectual traditions of a journal of ideas. What made the “Original Sin” issue unrecognizable to this former owner is that it 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.
Mind you, this is from a man who fired TNR editor Michael Kelly in 1996 for not being sufficiently Al Gore-ish.
But why get technical about it.
P.S. Chris Hughes says he’s all about the web and mobile media. Problem is, the New New Republic website is a hot mess. See for yourself.