magazines

The Weekly Standard Was Wrong About Almost Everything

But it was wrong for the right reasons.

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On December 14, the staffers of The Weekly Standard were called into a meeting and told that the issue they'd just put to bed would be their last. Writers and editors, many of whom had been with the magazine since it was launched 23 years earlier, were ordered to clean out their offices by the end of the day. They were not given boxes.

By Reason's lights, the editors of The Weekly Standard were consistently wrong about almost everything: the advisability of foreign military adventurism, the ethics of bioengineering and reproductive technology, the prospects for a John McCain presidency, and how many biographies of Lionel Trilling any sane human being could possibly be expected to care about, just to name a few.

For The Weekly Standard, the fundamental unit was the nation, not the individual. The magazine's signal achievement was making the case for the Iraq War, and in the wake of 9/11 the editors unreservedly endorsed classical notions of martial valor, civic duty, and traditional masculinity. They stuck by drug prohibition and straights-only marriage even as the nation left those notions behind.

And yet.

Bill Kristol, Fred Barnes, Steve Hayes, and the rest of the gang put together a magazine every single week because they thought that by doing so they could make the world a better place. And the very act of publishing the magazine was actually a small step toward that end, because the world is a better place when the people with whom you disagree offer the very best versions of their arguments. It's better still if they do so in a carefully curated package on a regular basis.

When The Weekly Standard tweaked its opponents, it did so lightly and in a spirit of fun. When it attacked, it did so advisedly, because it thought a great deal was at stake. And when its writers argued in earnest, as they did most of the time, they did so with the benefit of historical literacy, occasional insider information, and ruthless copy editing and fact checking.

My first full-time job in journalism was at The Weekly Standard, so I am far from a disinterested observer. I was an uneasy fit from the beginning. They indulged me as a kind of domesticated pet libertarian—harmless enough, but not ultimately consequential. Which was fair.

Still, the Standard was, in many ways, a home for ideological and partisan misfits. The flagship journal of neoconservatism housed more than one anti-war senior editor. Kristol himself, who stepped sideways into journalism from the once-lively, now-forgotten world of blast-fax policy wonkery, was always a conservative. But the magazine he edited until 2016 was at times only barely Republican.

In 1995, when The Weekly Standard was just a few weeks old, President Bill Clinton launched a military intervention in Bosnia. The Standard supported the president (while also publishing a dissent from Charles Krauthammer), "for which sin a not-insignificant chunk of our original subscribers immediately canceled out on us," Kristol wrote in the magazine's 10th anniversary issue. As he later elaborated on C-SPAN, critics "wrote in saying they didn't subscribe to a conservative magazine so they could read editorials defending Bill Clinton."

While the Standard by and large plumped for the GOP during its lifespan, its loyalty was not unconditional. Republicans, never fully grokking this about the magazine, were surprised and disappointed over and over. But The Weekly Standard's willingness to cross party lines and give the other guys credit was admirable and rare. Rarer still, it had a willingness to call out the failings of its own team.

At the end of its run, the Standard once again came in for some "strange new respect" from the left after Kristol emerged as one of the most prominent voices on the right to oppose Donald Trump. But despite what you may have read in the president's Twitter feed, Kristol's opposition to the current president was not what killed The Weekly Standard. Philip Anschutz, who owned the magazine and dealt the death blow, is hardly a hardcore Trumpster.

In the version of the story told by Standard alumni David Brooks and John Podhoretz, Anschutz simply grew tired of the Standard's editorial intransigence. Like his predecessor Rupert Murdoch, he turned his focus and favor toward the more conventional and potentially profitable media assets in his portfolio. But unlike Murdoch, who had let the Standard go to another owner as he zeroed in on The Wall Street Journal and Fox News, Anschutz opted to launch a direct competitor based out of his other major media property, the Washington Examiner. By euthanizing the Standard, he was able to grab its subscribers and reduce his new magazine's competition. While the transition could have been better executed—someone should have at least stocked up on boxes for the departing staff—it's hardly petty penny-pinching to prefer not to sink a couple of million dollars a year into an enterprise that strenuously resists your efforts to monetize its content and ignores your suggestions about its editorial line.

The shuttering of the Standard has been offered as a parable about the changing journalism industry, and it was hardly the only magazine to stare death in the face this year. Digital publications such as Mic and Rare died or dramatically shrank. Refinery 29 and Rookie closed up shop. Time, Fortune, and The Atlantic all have dedicated billionaire backers for now, and New York magazine is on the search for its own sugar daddy. But Vice, BuzzFeed, and Vox trimmed staff and made changes to their business models in 2018. Perhaps the Standard was just another casualty of a tough business climate? Reason, along with Mother Jones, The Nation, and now National Review, is supported by a large and varied group of donors. That nonprofit model has protected us from much upheaval in the industry over the decades.

All of these stories have elements of truth—if anything, journalism faces a Murder on the Orient Express scenario, death by a thousand cuts. The newsweekly barely exists anymore as a genre, and it would have been hard for The Weekly Standard to switch to biweekly or monthly; it suffered for having a mandatory publication schedule right there in the title. Editors never quite settled on whether to reserve the best stuff for print (thus putting out a book of old news every week) or going all-in online. If insider accounts are to be believed, Anschutz's Clarity Media didn't live up to its name in communications with Hayes, who succeeded Kristol as editor in chief, over the last year. And an anti-Trump Beltway-insider right-leaning magazine does have a rather limited audience.

When the erstwhile Standard staffers gathered at writer Andrew Ferguson's house after the firings, the atmosphere was uncannily like a wake (or perhaps a shiva, as co-founder John Podhoretz joked). People who believed in the power of a magazine to bring about change sat around eating ham and drinking whiskey. They wondered—as those who are left behind do after a death—whether they had done the best they could while the magazine was alive, whether they had left the world better than they'd found it. Those are always hard questions to answer. But they are the right ones to ask.

Funerary orations often reveal more about the hopes and fears of the eulogist than the deceased. This one is no exception.

I have to believe there is power in the deep liberal humanism implicit in the format of a classic American political magazine. You've got the news of the day, war and scandal, votes and vetoes. But the politics is literally bound together with essays about arts and culture.

The message is unmistakable and easy to lose sight of in 2019: There is more to a good life than politics. A steady diet of horse races and roll calls, broken up only by weather reports or news of the weird, is like having a tube of Pringles for dinner and washing it down with a Coke Zero. Sure, it might be fun from time to time, but make it a daily habit and you'll eventually rot from the inside out. That's what cable news and clickbait sites have to offer. And it's not enough.

Whether or not it succeeds every time, a political magazine aims to provide a balanced meal. In its best issues, it offers a moveable (type) feast, powered by a genuine belief in the power of words and ideas to improve things. The Weekly Standard was one such magazine. And the death of a magazine that gets to all the wrong answers the right way is a terrible loss.

NEXT: No, Gov. Northam Shouldn't Resign Because of 1984 Blackface/KKK Photo

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  1. The WS was wrong about some of the big things, but they were right on a lot of smaller things, and they wrote honestly and with humor. They’ll be missed.

    1. Your opinion. Being wrong about the Iraq war was just too big of a thing to let go. Bill Kristol, John Podhoretz and David Brooks are despicable progressives parading as Conservatives who have done more to damage the brand than even the Bush family could ever do. Rather than admit that some of what Trump is doing is far better than what a presidency under Hillary would have been they suddenly decided that she would have been a preferred choice. In the end the Weekly Standard was nothing more than a Never Trumper rag run by disgruntled “Bushies” who were mortified that the Bush legacy ended with GWB and not with Jeb.

  2. Beautifully expressed. Toward the end, I began to read it with a Peter O’Toole accent because it echoed his Anton Ego character from Pixar’s “Ratatouille” (apologies). Probably not the affect to which you aspired.

  3. Excellent eulogy. Makes me long for the more intellectual discourse of the pre-twitter 90’s. Maybe 1790’s?

    1. Forsooth, the Weekly Standard was a veritable rookery for moralizing mutton shunters and rhetorical hedge whores, intellectual tatterdemallions, vazey fustilarians and the occasional gillie-wet-foot.

      1. Look who got a thesaurus for Christmas.

  4. Dunno why the first attempt didn’t take.
    Well done, Katherine.
    I was most disappointed in their inability/unwillingness to distinguish between Trump’s personality, um, quirks, and his objectives and accomplishments. I would estimate the latter as 60-40, not bad for a first term pres, and far better than the alternative.
    I will particularly miss their articles on art, lit, and history.
    I particularly like your “While the Standard by and large plumped for the GOP during its lifespan, its loyalty was not unconditional… and The Weekly Standard’s willingness to cross party lines and give the other guys credit was admirable and rare. Rarer still, it had a willingness to call out the failings of its own team.”

    I can relate to that, though I would never criticize a Republican who didn’t really need to be called out (Ahnold?), and I’m not sure the WS held to that standard. I’m with Reagan on that, as well as *the best is the enemy of the good.*

  5. Well said. I would add that I am a long time subscriber to the Weekly Standard, some 21 or 22 of its 23 years. I read and get daily email from the Washington Examiner. No one at WaEx has contacted me about transferring my subscription. Hmmm.

  6. . People who believed in the power of a magazine to bring about change sat around eating ham and drinking whiskey.

    Neocons can eat ham?

    1. That’s what popped into my mind reading that bit.
      Somehow I just can’t see Podhoretz, Kagan, Kristol, Brooks and Berkowitz dining on pork, but I can’t imagine why.

      1. (((shrug)))

      2. The only pork they’ll touch is the one in legislation.

  7. So, they weren’t Republican…just VERY pro-war.

    Good riddance.

    1. +100

    2. “In 1995, when The Weekly Standard was just a few weeks old, President Bill Clinton launched a military intervention in Bosnia. The Standard supported the president.”
      Right from the very start they loved the war machine.

    3. They were actually Republican Progressives/Neocons which is why most thinking people grew tired of them. They were in favor of foreign intervention , nation building, big government, open borders without reason and of course the war on drugs.

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  9. The demise of The Weekly Standard is unfortunate indeed. But it’s not terribly surprising given what has happened to “the right” in this country over the past several years.

    The respectable, patriotic neoconservatives have seen their influence decline, and the white nationalist alt-right has largely seized control of the Republican Party. Culminating, of course, in the nomination of literal white supremacist Donald Drumpf as the GOP’s Presidential candidate. As a Koch / Reason libertarian I’d prefer any neocon Republican as President ? Bush, McCain, whoever ? if the alternative is a Richard Spencer disciple. Sure, the neocons gave us the Iraq War, which is widely recognized as a mistake. But that’s nowhere near as reprehensible as the alt-right’s war on immigration.

    #LibertariansForABetterGOP
    #PutTheNeoconsBackInCharge

    1. “Sure, the neocons gave us the Iraq War, which is widely recognized as a mistake. But that’s nowhere near as reprehensible as the alt-right’s war on immigration.”

      Gold.

    2. Sure, the neocons gave us the Iraq War, which is widely recognized as a mistake. But that’s nowhere near as reprehensible as the alt-right’s war on immigration.

      *chef’s kiss*

      This one should be archived.

    3. Sorry being a progressive/neocon and masquerading as a Libertarian doesn’t make you an authority on the Right. Most Conservatives and Libertarians would disagree with your opinion as to having a progressive / neocon as president. We’ve had 2 (GHB 41 GWB 43) and all we got was bigger government, wars and more debt. Trump has faults but many of his moves (ANWAR, Keystone, VA support, attempts to emasculate the EPA among others) are in the right direction. The alt right , the rise of white supremacy are really myths designed to appeal to the progressives in both parties. I have become very suspicious of so-called Libertarians who are willing to sacrifice our sovereignty and Constitution in favor of unfettered immigration. Especially while ignoring the economic ramifications of admitting millions of under-educated, low skilled workers into a welcoming welfare state. Regardless of color, people who have no skill and sub-par education become a burden on the progressive public assistance programs and education systems in all of our communities. While some rise above this, assimilate and become citizens many do not and really offer nothing except possibly more votes for more silly progressive policies.

      1. “Most Conservatives and Libertarians would disagree with your opinion as to having a progressive / neocon as president. We’ve had 2 (GHB 41 GWB 43) and all we got was bigger government, wars and more debt”

        This is also true of R’s (Reagan, Nixon), D’s (Clinton, Obama, whoever’s next). It’s much, MUCH easier to be against expanding the government when you’re not the ones deciding where the money gets spent. When you ARE the ones in charge of where the money gets spent, all of a sudden decreasing the size, scope, and power of government is no longer a priority.

      2. Most of Trump’s “successes” really belong to Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and the fact that Trump is probably the least effective President we have ever had. That would be fine (ignoring the insane amount of corruption in the Trump WH) except for the fact that Trump has managed to throw the House to the Democrats and seems determined to take the whole Republican Party down to defeat with him.

        1. Switch the parties and you have Obama.

        2. It’s only been ~3 years since the primaries. Have you already forgotten how not a single mainstream Republican put immigration at the forefront of their campaign? Part of the reason Trump is relatable, despite being a distant politician and a degenerate in his private life, is that he identified important issues, rebuked all the RINOs and focus groups who made it seem like political suicide, and summarily exposed every single Republican contender for the stooges they were. Giving anyone but Trump credit for policies that we weren’t even talking about in 2015 is silly.

      3. Restricting immigration and open borders only serves to replace one problem with another.

        The solution is to scale back (and eventually eliminate) the “progressive public assistance programs and education systems”; then problems of unfettered immigration will vanish while retaining the benefits.

    4. “Sure, the neocons gave us the Iraq War, which is widely recognized as a mistake. But that’s nowhere near as reprehensible as the alt-right’s war on immigration.”

      More proof that you are really a progressive tool. The damage of the Iraq war will take decades to recover from. Regardless of the cost in dollars the lost of lives, in particular American, as well as those physically and emotionally torn is devastating. Typical Neocon drivel since most likely you sat on your fat rear end while others did the fighting you feel fine making silly statements like this. Also I didn’t realize desiring a responsible and coherent immigration policy was considered Alt-right. I would imagine anything short of open borders is racist.

      1. You know that OBL is a parody account, right?

        1. I’m not sure if people just ignore the hashtags or skip them because they think they have something important to say.

      2. Actually OBL posts are all about taking the piss out of lefties. It’s mockery, which admittedly, as the left currently beclowns itself constantly, may be becoming redundant.
        It is getting so hard to tell between a joke and their actual beliefs anymore.

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    1. The base cost for an Atom is $50k, and nobody in America knows what it is. English usage better than most spam, but still poor.
      I’ll rate this spam at a C+

      1. I love the work at home and buy obscure, “new” but long out of production, and/or one-off sports car spam.

    2. Let’s see; 6292 for 4 weeks.
      1573 a week.
      78,650 a year if you take two weeks vacation and never get sick.

      I did better than that writing code, with full benefits.
      And I never had to cope with gape – – – – – – – –

      1. Some people are really into that.

  11. in the wake of 9/11 the editors unreservedly endorsed classical notions of martial valor, civic duty, and traditional masculinity. They stuck by drug prohibition and straights-only marriage even as the nation left those notions behind.

    Congratulations. You make me almost mourn the Weekly Standard.

    1. And by “left behind”, we developed the LGTBQ Gestapo in the form of “human rights” commissions to punish ideological nonconformists.

      1. At least the Gestapo were snappy dressers and imposing with their jodhpurs, riding boots and field tunics.

        If I’m going to be hauled away for crimethink, I’d rather it not be by waddling, soggy, pastey, purple-haired gits in clothes that look like burst casings on a overstuffed sausage.

  12. Pringles and Coke as metaphors for what the masses suck up daily from social media? More like crack and cheap cigarettes.

    1. Meth and Big Gulps.

  13. At some point, I do hope journalism finds a new life. Because I do think it is as necessary as version1 of the Internet (RIP).

    But gotta admit it’s gonna take a serious innovation cuz:

    Knowledge seeks to be free and

    The ad-based model is evil incarnate (and has been since maybe the 1890’s) but is the only model so far that can find a different paying customer

    1. These propaganda rags are getting exactly what they deserve- to go bankrupt.

      Americans don’t want to pay for propaganda that undermines their positions on issues.

      Its one thing to pay for news that explains facts with little bias or provides a bias example from different sides.

      Reason is headed that same direction.

      1. Yeah, Americans want propaganda that reinforces their positions.

      2. Is that why the new media is all hard nosed, just-the-facts-ma’am listicles?

        1. And skwerlz

      3. Is that why the new media is all hard nosed, just-the-facts-ma’am listicles?

      4. I agree
        I used to come to Reason because it offered a reasonable alternative to MSM. and now it has become an ally of of progressives focusing on legalizing heroin and impeaching Trump.

    2. Unfortunately, what I think of as journalism takes too much effort and skill to deliver, and too much effort to receive, understand, and appreciate.

      Meanwhile, we have dominant sources providing idiotic but easy and exciting bullshit for free, or at least in exchange for all kinds of info about your buying habits, financial history, and sexual preferences.

    3. ” version1 of the Internet ”

      4 Universities linked at 9600 bps?

      1. hahaha. No I meant Web pre-eyeballs

  14. It offers a moveable (type) feast, powered by a genuine belief in the power of words and ideas to improve things. The Weekly Standard was one such magazine. And the death of a magazine that gets to all the wrong answers the right way is a terrible loss.

    I don’t believe they were getting to the wrong answers in the right way, and I don’t believe their belief in the power of ideas to improve things was genuine. If their brand name became tarnished, it may have been because their audience no longer believed they were genuine.

    It’s better to get to the wrong answers in the right way than it is to get to the right answers in the wrong way, but The Weekly Standard wasn’t getting there in the right way. They got to their most important answers through preexisting bias and inaccuracy.

    It’s okay to be wrong so long as you’re not intellectually dishonest. If you’re intellectually dishonest, you lose your audience. There are anti-immigration regulars here who will give a fair hearing in comments to arguments for open borders when they’re grounded in intellectual honesty. Those people are not the exception in this country. They are the general rule.

    1. I don’t believe they were getting to the wrong answers in the right way, and I don’t believe their belief in the power of ideas to improve things was genuine. If their brand name became tarnished, it may have been because their audience no longer believed they were genuine.

      Like the NR crowd, they liked to crow about “MUH PRINCIPLES” while conducting a rearguard retreat on them the whole time. They seemed almost embarrassed by the fact that the Republicans made so many Congressional, state legislature, and governor gains during the Obama era, because their first instinct has always been to defer to the left and operate from a position of weakness. In a lot of ways, the neocons epitomize the way that the culture war has gone over the last 40 years.

      The only “principle” the Conservative Cruise Brigade ever seemed fanatically dedicated to actually conserving were wars in the Middle East. Everything else was negotiable or open to outright surrender.

      1. The neocons were originally progressives, and were always an uneasy fit for the Republican party. You can run on supporting the troops for only so long before people start noticing what demographics supply most of those troops, and start wondering why those troops are being risked for no good reason.

    2. While I will agree with your overall assessment are you saying someone who is in favor of legal immigration but wants an end to illegal immigration is “anti-immigration” ? I realize that for some Libertarians there is no such thing as illegal immigration and that borders are immoral but not for all of us I treasure this country, the Constitution and why I am a Veteran. I voted Libertarian in the last election despite Johnson’s VP. The Weekly Standard and it’s crew are simply Republican progressives. I will admit I am baffled at Reason’s turn toward supporting progressive policies as well but I guess it was inevitable

  15. “WASHINGTON (AP) ? Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists’ strike against this country.

    Sixty-nine percent in a Washington Post poll published Saturday said they believe it is likely the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks carried out by al-Qaeda. A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents believe it’s likely Saddam was involved.”

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com…..iraq_x.htm

    1. That poll was taken six months after we invaded Iraq. Why did people believe such things? I can point to a couple of likely causes, but both of them have to do with the wrong way facts were filtered through the news media, especially through channels like The Weekly Standard.

      People will pay a premium for quality journalism, but quality journalism is built on a foundation of intellectual honesty. Who credibly pointed to The Weekly Standard for that?

      Going back to Leo Strauss, one of the things neoconservatives have always shared with Marxists is the belief in a revolutionary vanguard, who would push the people further than they’d want to go otherwise. In the case of neoconservatives, that meant telling the people what they needed to hear–to make them support things they wouldn’t support otherwise. Those tactics are not compatible with intellectual honesty. They spring from Strauss’ appreciation for Plato’s noble lies.

      If the Weekly Standard had to pay the ultimate price for that, then intellectually honest people everywhere should celebrate.

      1. People will pay a premium for quality journalism,

        No they won’t. They may be willing to pay a nominal amount for a quiet place (no loud people attempting to shout things down with a different narrative or a different set of facts) to read something that confirms their existing biases. And they may even call that ‘quality journalism’. But that nominal amount won’t even cover the costs of that bastardized ‘quality’.

        1. I pay for quality journalism despite the fact that I can get coverage of the same events for free in real time online.

          And I’m not the only one.

          1. Fine you subscribe to something. Is it a source you AGREE with? Or is it a source that raises a slew of different perspectives – some of which piss you off, others which are more serendipity/new, some of which you nod in agreement.

            Because I will bet it’s the former – and you are conflating ‘quality journalism’ with ‘confirming my pre-existing biases’.

            1. I’ve read and paid for numerous things with which I disagree.

              I’m not sure I ever agreed with Christopher Hitchens on much of anything, but I rarely missed reading what he wrote–just like I have a lot of intellectual respect for Orwell even though he was a socialist.

              Here’s Masha Gessen being intellectually honest about the facts of the Mueller case against Trump–even though she despises him.

              “Commentators have tried to frame their outrage in legal terms. Trump Jr. should have called the FBI, writes Nicholas Kristof in the Times; a former ethics lawyer for George W. Bush says the same thing. The word “treason” is once again being bandied about. This, however, assumes that Trump Jr. knew?or should have known, or that we know?that whatever information the Russian lawyer was offering had been obtained through espionage. This is not the case. And for Trump Jr.’s actions to rise to the legal standard of treason, the United States would have to be at war in Russia?for starters. This is also not the case. The fact is, based on what we know so far, Trump Jr. may not have broken any laws.

              http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2…..ian-world/

              1. She’ll be be in the gulag or forced to recant by next week. Look at Alan Dershowitz– he was exiled to the Far Darkness for daring to suggest that the rule of law still apply.

                1. That article I quoted was from 2017 and was written after she’d already been chased out of Russia.

            2. Sorry but When I read Mother Jones I get propaganda in which I spend an inordinate amount of time working to disprove. Yet progressives I know swallow it whole and likewise disparage my sources (that they didn’t resource). So what is the point? After a while it is easy to see how an author /(so-called) Journalist can easily change the tone in a piece by using certain words and leaving out context. So your sanctimonious rant is a little hollow. I read the “other side” in order to strengthen my opinions not to suddenly get an epiphany that somehow progressive governance is ideal. I didn’t go to the Weekly Standard in order to read about Kristol bemoaning the fact that the Bush family was finally out of the White House.

        2. But that nominal amount won’t even cover the costs of that bastardized ‘quality’.

          Well, sure, but news media has never made money from subscription revenue. That was primarily to cover the cost of distribution more than anything else. Advertising has always been the media’s bread-and-butter going back to the colonial era.

          1. Agree completely. The difference now is in the capabilities of advertising to leverage our knowledge of the human brain, psychology, etc. Advertisers really don’t give a shit that readers are even ‘engaged’ with the material. Quite the reverse actually – they want the reader to merely be wasting time with the material and engaged with the AD.

            Which itself subtly distorts the material/content. Or not at all subtly distorts it in the case of eg patent medicines and news advertising – or the yellow journalism of Hearst/Pulitzer/SpanishAmerican War. Those distortions don’t even pretend to do ‘quality’. Just that eras clickbait.

            1. Advertisers really don’t give a shit that readers are even ‘engaged’ with the material. Quite the reverse actually – they want the reader to merely be wasting time with the material and engaged with the AD

              True. It’s a very passive means of manipulation, but it’s effective.

              1. Effective because it is passive. If it were active, it would engage our whole brain and we would be conscious of it and that would create the possibility of resistance/etc.

                One reason imo we are using the ad-blockers and such is because some publishers/advertisers are taking the wrong approach (out of money desperation or just not knowing better idk). Trying to overtly actively cram themselves into our head via the pop-ups and redirects and such. Doesn’t take many of those attempts before resistance kicks in.

        3. Lefties tend to pay for subscriptions because they want to support “the cause”.

          Why would non-Lefties give money to Socialists who are spreading propaganda and have a goal to put us into gulags?

          No fucking way, I am giving them any money. I even cut off actors who get way too involved in politics instead of making good TV or movies. Jim Carey is one of them.

          Jim Carey did “Kick Ass 2” and then disavowed it once the gun movement harassed him. Fuck that guy.
          Jim Carrey Disavows ‘Kick-Ass 2’ Due To Issues With Violence

          1. Huh. I don’t watch Jim Carey because he’s a one trick pony and that trick isn’t even verry funny. He’s obnoxious.

      2. And the fact that you are citing opinions about the Iraq War as an example of what you think is ‘the media’s’ fault is really nothing more than the antiquated 19th century Enlightenment/Romantic notion that we persist in clinging to about the role of information/citizens in a modern society – combined with a bit of hinted anti-Semitism that is actually EXACTLY the sort of manipulation that a modern mass society thrives on.

        This first surfaced as a public debate in the 1920’s with Walter Lippmann (Public Opinion) and John Dewey (The Public and Its Problems) – and the only thing that has changed since is our ability/knowledge about how to manipulate.

        1. Two years after 9/11 and six months after we invaded Iraq, a clear majority of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents were still wrong about Saddam Hussein being personally complicit in 9/11, and you think that has something to do with antisemitism and screwed up ideas about the proper place of media in society?

          Did you wake up hungover this morning?

          1. People’s perceptions about Saddam’s involvement were created deliberately by Cheney and his ilk. Who created that perception – using their control of the levers of govt, the authority of their positions, and their control of all access to information (the stuff Public Opinion was about) – in order to sell a war.

            The alternative narrative (opposition to that war) was NOT sold on the basis of anything rational about those war decisions. It was based on conspiratorial hints about jewsneocons secretly manipulating the world (now apparently via Plato). That narrative is not ‘quality’. It’s the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. So of course that narrative was not printed by the media.

            So of course the only narrative that makes it out there into the public to be widely believed is — pro-war propaganda created by the administration and distributed by the media that depends on them for access to information. To be believed as ‘truth’ by the bewildered herd.

            1. Again, noble lies are nothing new. Meanwhile, using them to advance their objectives is fundamental to neoconservative thinking–going all the way back to Leo Strauss.

              Whatever else you’re gleaning from this is your own strange trip. It’s got nothing to do with me or anything I wrote above. If you’re unfamiliar with what Strauss wrote about Plato’s noble lies, look it up yourself.

              1. ALL WARS start with lies. Yeesh. Gulf of Tonkin. Remember the Maine. We’re just sitting here all peaceful like and boom Japan attacks us out of the blue.

                We went to war and believed the horseshit that came out of the administration because:

                One side showed up to sell their lies.

                The other side didn’t. They were out jew hunting or frothing about Bush being Prez.

                Game over by forfeit.

                1. Tu quoque doesn’t justify anything, JFree.

                  Ad hominem attacks aren’t persuasive either.

                  Smearing people as antisemites because they point out both the philosophical basis and the falsehoods of the neocons shouldn’t persuade anyone of anything either–other than your own intellectual dishonesty.

                  You can’t refute the philosophical basis of their penchant for noble lies, and you can’t refute the fact that they were lies either. If you could, you wouldn’t resort to ad hominem smears. I see only a couple of likely explanations here–either you’re being intellectually dishonest or you’re legitimately ignorant of both the facts in this case and standard logic.

                  1. I’m not trying to refute them as facts. I’m saying they were irrelevant to the issue you yourself were talking about. Trying to make them relevant when they aren’t is itself a form of intellectual dishonesty.

                    Americans did not believe Saddam planned 9/11 or derive their beliefs about the Iraq War because of what Leo Strauss thought about Plato or even what his students carried with them 40 years later. The idea is rather obviously ludicrous.

                    Americans believed lies because that is exactly what happens in a modern mass society when those in charge of making decisions want people to believe lies (or believe lies themselves). The role of the mass media is no longer the same role that we assumed it to be – and that journalists may even still believe it is – when we wrote the 1st Amendment. The role of us as citizens is no longer the same as it was then.

                    This is not a partisan issue. It has nothing to do with Plato. It is just the changes that have occurred in a more complex modern society. Failure to understand those changes renders anyone who doesn’t like them irrelevant in their own attempt to change decisions.

                    1. We got into a war with Iraq because, in general, the country wanted it. We had kicked Iraq’s ass in ’91 and we had just been punched in the nose by assholes in the same part of the world.

                      This wasn’t some Bush conspiracy. It was simplistic thinking from people who were pissed off about 9/11. For 8 years under Clinton, the US had let annoying assholes like bin Laden nip at its flank- including a truck bomb at the World Trade center. And one day, bin Laden got lucky and thousands died.

                      Likewise, Saddam had been annoying the country for a decade- shooting at our jets in the no fly zone, and subverting sanctions. The Woodward book, Bush at War, has a pretty good review of what Bush was thinking at this point. He knew that at some point Saddam would get lucky and the country would have ZERO tolerance for him doing real damage that cost peoples’ lives. So he gave them what they wanted.

                      The idea that there is some media strategy to get “The Truth” out to people is sadly wrong. Everyone has biases, and they want those biases confirmed. There is all sorts of “objective” news out there on the internet and yet people choose to wrap themselves in the information that confirms their world view. I’m glad that Ken seeks out alternative viewpoints, but he should understand that he will ever be a minority.

                    2. “We got into a war with Iraq because, in general, the country wanted it.”

                      The invasion of Iraq was justified on the basis Saddam Hussein’s alleged ties to Al Qaeda (which turned out to be bogus), and it was justified on the basis of his ongoing WMD program (which from yellow cake in Niger to photos of mobile WMD labs turned out to be bogus, too).

                      The question isn’t whether the country wanted the Iraq War. The question is why they wanted it. The American people associated Saddam Hussein with terrorism and WMD for a number of reasons, and the anthrax attack after 9/11 was one of them. The other reason the American people thought Saddam Hussein was connected to 9/11 was because they were repeatedly sold a bill of goods by people both inside and outside the Bush administration.

                      Six months after we invaded Iraq, a huge majority of the American people still believed Iraq was a war of self-defense. I used to spend hours here arguing with my fellow libertarians who opposed the Iran War that opposing it on the basis that Saddam Hussein didn’t have WMD was a bad idea; after all, if we used that to justify our opposition to the invasion, what would we say if and when WMD turned up? Would we suddenly change our minds and support the Iraq War?

                    3. My opposition to the Iraq was predicated on how it wasn’t in the best interests of the United States to depose Saddam Hussein, that the benefits wouldn’t justify the costs. I was as surprised as anyone when they found that whatever WMD Saddam Hussein had, it didn’t represent an active program or a significant threat to the United States. After all, why would Saddam Hussein resist weapons inspections when the alternative was invasion and occupation? Turns out megalomaniacs are irrational–who knew?!

                    4. “We got into a war with Iraq because, in general, the country wanted it”

                      +1, a lot of the posters on this site are either too young or lived in a bubble. There was overwhelming support for the Iraq War.

                    5. I am still trying to figure out how claim that anti-Neocon equals antisemitism. Granted many identified as Neocons are in fact Jewish but most African-Americans are Progressive Democrats. Disagreeing with progressive policies doesn’t equate to racism and likewise seeing the duplicity in the Neocon movement doesn’t make me antisemitic. Self identified Neocons in the Bush administration supported by the despicable GHB throwbacks (including Cheney) pushed us into a war that proved to be a complete boondoggle costing a Trillion and destroying thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis. Excuse me if I don’t conflate this atrocity with meaningful border security.

                    6. “I am still trying to figure out how claim that anti-Neocon equals antisemitism.”

                      One of the other things progressives do is call people names in order to discourage criticism of their positions.

                      If you’re opposed to Hillary Clinton’s policies, it’s because you’re a sexist or a misogynist.

                      If you think fundamentalist bakers shouldn’t be forced by the government to do things that violate their religious convictions, it’s because you’re a homophobe.

                      I used to bring up the question of why necon commenters here were sure that the people of Iraq wanted a U.S. style democracy. I was told this meant that I was racist against Arabs and a bigot against Muslims.

                      The connection to calling people antisemites because they bring up certain facts that reflect badly on neoconservative foreign policy is there if you look for it.

                    7. “The connection to calling people antisemites because they bring up certain facts that reflect badly on neoconservative foreign policy is there if you look for it.”

                      But you have to close your eyes and forget everything you know about rational discourse in order to see it.

                    8. “I’m saying they were irrelevant to the issue you yourself were talking about.”

                      That the necons sold us a bill of goods in harmony with their philosophical foundation of noble lies and a vanguard–that’s unrelated to the fact that a majority of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents still believed that Saddam Hussein was personally complicit in 9/11? Publications like The Weekly Standard painted this horseshit picture and the news media resold it wholesale free from criticism, that is somehow disconnected from the fact that a majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents still falsely believed that Saddam Hussein was personally complicit in 9/11–six months after we invaded Iraq?

                      You have left the realm of rationality behind.

                    9. Oh for fuck’s sake. Dick Cheney sold that shit every time he appeared on TV.

                      Here – Dec 2001: Meet the Press – It’s been pretty well confirmed that (Atta) did go to Prague, and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in (the Czech Republic) last April, several months before the attack.

                      They’ll throw flowers. Saddam’s got nukes. Drip drip drip drip drip. Of course people believed it. He’s the Veep and pretty much everyone knew that he not Bush was the supposed ‘foreign policy expert’ in the White House. And of course everyone else who supported the war including the neocons sold the war. That’s what I said. They showed up. The other side didn’t.

                      And don’t put too much into anything that shows that the support for a war’s justification goes UP when the war starts. Of course it does. There are a lot of people who might oppose a war before it starts but who after it starts will NEVER question it again because to do so would be construed as undermining the troops.

                      Its what Walter Russell Mead identifies as the Jacksonian strain in American foreign policy. btw – the neocons are part of what he’d call the Wilsonian strain.

                    10. Oh – and no Republican should think the Iraq War was much of a surprise (ie precipitated in any way by 9/11) either. From the 2000 GOP Platform

                      We support the full implementation of the Iraq Liberation Act, which should be regarded as a starting point in a comprehensive plan for the removal of Saddam Hussein and the restoration of international inspections in collaboration with his successor. Republicans recognize that peace and stability in the Persian Gulf is impossible as long as Saddam Hussein rules Iraq.

                    11. So the intellectually honest way to sell the Iraq War would have been:

                      You voted for this war. We’re just carrying out our side of the deal. Stop whining. We’re already delaying the war in Iraq cuz of this 9/11 nonsense. Elections have consequences. Next time you vote for the lesser of two evils maybe you should read the small print bitchez.

            2. Okay, I get what “J” in JFree stands for now. Like all useful idiots you’ve conflated Globalism with race.
              You can fuck off now.

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  18. Foxconn Technology Group, a major supplier to Apple Inc., said Friday that it has decided go ahead with the construction of a liquid-crystal display factory in Wisconsin, two days after saying building such a plant would be economically unfeasible.

    The Taiwan-based company said it is moving forward with a planned facility that would make small LCD screens after productive discussions with the White House and “a personal conversation between President Donald J. Trump and Chairman Terry Gou.”

    . . . .

    Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., announced 18 months ago that it would invest $10 billion, build a 22-million-square-foot LCD panel plant and hire 13,000 employees, primarily factory workers . . . . The back and forth came after the Taiwanese contract manufacturer fell short of a job-creation target in Wisconsin last year to obtain tax credits, amid a tight U.S. labor market.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/fo…..549047068?

    1. 1) Construction will move ahead despite Foxconn not qualifying for tax credits.

      2) Foxconn didn’t qualify for the promised tax credits because they didn’t hire enough people.

      3) They didn’t hire enough people because wages keep rising.

      4) Why do wages keep rising?

      There are a number of reasons why wages may be rising. The strengthening dollar is a big labor cost for a contract manufacturer. Deregulation and tax cuts helped. There may be an initial push by other companies to move production to the U.S. to avoid the impact of trade wars. Maybe less in they way of illegal labor is having an effect. Of course, just because I’m pro-free trade and pro-immigration doesn’t mean I have to pretend there can’t be short term upsides associated with those things for some people–especially unskilled, blue collar workers.

      1. I’m pro free trade as well, but none of the trade agreements like NAFTA or TPP are free trade. They are managed trade.

        1. Was the free trade we’re talking about one of the options?

          Were Canada, Mexico, and the members of the TPP offering unrestricted trade?

          Because NAFTA and the TPP aren’t a perfect solution doesn’t mean people who believe in free trade shouldn’t support them. Installing a smoke alarm doesn’t guarantee that no one will die if there’s a house fire, but installing a smoke alarm is a good idea anyway because it improves things.

          1. It’s not that they aren’t perfect- it’s that they simply aren’t free trade. There is rent seeking and government chosen winners and losers.

            1. There’s this thing called black and white thinking, false dichotomies, etc.

              The idea that we shouldn’t support international agreements that lower tariffs because the result won’t be absolute free trade is ridiculous.

              We can’t accept agreements to lower tariffs because our trading partners won’t accept absolute and complete free trade? That’s plain stupid.

              1. The argument is that the government is picking winners and losers in those agreements.
                Tariffs are not the only aspect of trade.

                1. The argument is that freer trade is the pursuit of lower tariffs. Anyone who opposes lowering tariffs in the name of free trade has completely lost the plot. The idea that we shouldn’t be as capitalist as we can be because we’re not completely capitalist is absurd.

                  Much of this silliness entered into libertarian conversations in the wake of Ron Paul’s opposition to NAFTA, which had little or nothing to do with principle and everything to do with the increasing influence of fellow Texan Ross Perot in his constituency back in Texas.

                  If we refuse to become more capitalist until the rest of the country and the rest of the world is willing to become 100% capitalist, then we will never become 95% capitalist, much less 100%. One of the great things about capitalism is that a little bit can improve people’s lives dramatically. Even in the Soviet Union, they found that letting people have their own gardens could be the difference between starving or not starving.

                  Am I to believe that shielding people from the benefits of capitalism makes them want more capitalism?

                  It’s the same thing with free trade. More of it is better even if we can’t get 100% free trade. Anyone who is arguing against making the world more free market capitalist whenever it wants to do so might be doing more harm to the cause of capitalism than a socialist would–especially if the socialist is willing to settle for more socialism every chance they get.

                2. The government is already picking winners and losers. If we lower the tariffs for most industries besides a favored few we then have the government picking fewer winners and the losers have an easier time catching up.

                  The question in economic policy isn’t ‘is this perfect’ but ‘is this better than the status quo?’

        2. All multilateral trade agreements since GATT ended are multinational protectionism.

          Their entire purpose is to protect widely decentralized supply/production chains and to move all disputes to a supranational level that is not accountable to anything that ever existed before.

          What we used to call protectionism was about this or that industry. What is now protectionism is about big/global v small/local.

          1. JFree|2.2.19 @ 2:06PM|#
            “Their entire purpose is to protect widely decentralized supply/production chains and to move all disputes to a supranational level that is not accountable to anything that ever existed before.”

            Tin-foil hat bullshit.
            Is it the JOOOZE, JFree?

          2. The division of labor is a good thing, yes?
            How are “widely decentralized supply/production chains” anything other than division of labor?

            1. Division of labor applies at the individual level. It’s what creates exchange.

              The supply/production chains that I’m talking about are the internal operations of a single producer in the market. Those really aren’t trade in any economic sense because they aren’t arm’s length transactions between two independent entities. They are accounting transactions between subsidiaries/divisions/depts.

              Trade agreements that are built around favoring those are favoring a specific way of organizing production. And the trade/exchange that gets favored is not the trade of comparative advantage (which is what Ricardo’s free trade is built on) but of absolute advantage.

              1. JFree|2.3.19 @ 4:43PM|#
                “Division of labor applies at the individual level. It’s what creates exchange.”
                Bullshit assertion. It also applies to skills available at different labor rates in different locations.

                “The supply/production chains that I’m talking about are the internal operations of a single producer in the market. Those really aren’t trade in any economic sense because they aren’t arm’s length transactions between two independent entities. They are accounting transactions between subsidiaries/divisions/depts.”
                Looks like cherry picking to me. Apple’s contracting assembly plants in the far east are subject to the treaties you now claim are all ‘internal’. Caught lying once more?

                “Trade agreements that are built around favoring those are favoring a specific way of organizing production. And the trade/exchange that gets favored is not the trade of comparative advantage (which is what Ricardo’s free trade is built on) but of absolute advantage.”
                Yes, if you pick that particular cherry it’s true. Unfortunately, you claimed “*All* multilateral trade agreements since GATT ended..”
                If you didn’t bullshit as much as you do, you wouldn’t get called on bullshitting as much as you do.

  19. Nice Post.

  20. They published LaBash, which makes them better than 99% of the shit out there.

  21. . . . they thought that by doing so they could make the world a better place.

    That’s not an excuse.

    And the very act of publishing the magazine was actually a small step toward that end, because the world is a better place when the people with whom you disagree offer the very best versions of their arguments.

    We’ll allow them to present this as a mitigating circumstance at the sentencing hearing.

  22. Sorry, the Weekly Standard was simply Rush Limbaugh with a Harvard degree. It was not an honest publication, constantly sneering at Democrats for not being “manly”, snickering about presidential vacations when taken by Democrats but not Republicans. The Standard was, in essence, an arm of AIPAC, Israel its editorial obsession, strangely left unmentioned in this memoir. I know we don’t diss the people who opened doors for us, but a sentimental defense of hypocrisy has limited charm.

    1. “sneering at Democrats for not being “manly”” – Alan Vanneman

      I suspect that’s the part that struck a nerve with Vanneman.

  23. For The Weekly Standard, the fundamental unit was the nation, not the individual. The magazine’s signal achievement was making the case for the Iraq War, and in the wake of 9/11 the editors unreservedly endorsed classical notions of martial valor, civic duty, and traditional masculinity.

    Traditional Jewish gender roles are based on two fundamental principles:

    1) The wife is in charge within the home.

    2) No one gets poisoned.

  24. My concern is that the other politi-rags will take all the wrong messages from the WS’s demise: namely that civilized and nuanced political discourse doesn’t work. I wouldn’t put it past them. Something similar has happened in talk radio.

  25. I wonder how much of a role they played in killing of what was left of the Goldwater wing of the GOP, failing miserably with their progressive neocon fantasies, thereby helping to hand the GOP to the anti-market populists.

    1. Goldwater was the last of the Republicans who actually wanted to roll back FDR’s welfare state. The neocons always wanted to preserve it. The saw the “safety net” as a bulwark against the communist revolution that killed the neocon hero – Trotsky.

      Mangu-Ward was right, for the Weekly Standard the nation, not the individual is important.

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  28. those “conservatives” managed to conserve absolutely jackshit in their lifetimes, they didn’t even manage to conserve the culture from the most degenerate mutations imaginable, such a dressing children up as the opposite sex and sexualizing them at strip clubs for money and fame which is now celebrated in the media and biology is now a construct and a general creep towards pedophilia acceptance and the acceptance if not celebration of racism against whites, and then those impotent scolds had the temerity to piss on and demand the political destruction of the most conservative president of my lifetime (and I was born in the 1960s) after he proved his conservative bonafides through direct action.

    They didn’t contain any redeeming features whatsoever, and as far as I am concerned they can’t die soon enough.

    1. I always find these morality screeds bizarre. Were you really born in the 1960s? if anything we are living through a hyper-moralistic period, compared to the 1970s. It is fine to have a non-conformist identity, but not to act on it. In the 1970s being gay meant bath-houses, rampant promiscuity, and flamboyant parades through the Castro district. Now homosexuals are expected to get married, work in a tech start-up and raise two adopted children.

      Pedophilia was far more widely accepted in the 1970s. Portraying 12 year old girls as sex objects was almost normal (Shields, Brooke), priests and coaches had their way with boys and no one said anything, and NAMBLA was actually taken seriously by wackos on the left.

      Not to mention the new Puritanism regarding drugs, alcohol and diet. To call the culture degenerate today is to display amnesia.

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  30. It appears right-wing malcontents gullible, intolerant, and disaffected enough to embrace Pres. Trump and white nationalism didn’t like the Weekly Standard.

    1. It appears Arthur L. Hicklib’s still a self-loathing hayseed.

  31. The editor who regularly publishes Shikha Dullmeow and Sheldon Reichman, not to mention the endless parade of “both sides” false equivalances from Welch, Fonzie’s jacket, and even Rico Soave wants to tut-tut about other magazines getting stuff wrong…

  32. It was wrong for all the wrong reasons.

  33. It was wrong for all the wrong reasons.

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  36. I thought you would half agree with the “Invade them all, Invite them all here” crowd?

  37. Sorry, I just don’t buy that most of these Neocon hacks didn’t know EXACTLY what they were doing when pushing their agendas. These people aren’t morons. They’re crooked hacks, just like those on the left. The problem with these kind of warmongers is they don’t even want to do it right! If you expect your empire to last, you MUST properly loot the conquered nations, otherwise you will go broke very quickly. Massive empires in the past survived centuries of conquest by stealing shit from those they conquered. We paid all the cash, shed all the blood, and got nothing out of it… So it’s a failure on all fronts.

    So you either don’t go into stupid wars (my preference), or you make war correctly, and loot your conquered foes. Any other way is insanity!

  38. I don’t miss them in the least. A mouth piece for the perpetual war machine. Kristol is just struggling with the fact that the republican establishment he represented is dying.

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  42. TWS failed because it lacked credibility on every issue. By being in favor of every war you lose credibility on your assessment of every war. By being in favor of something, then switching because the President has changed (like Jerusalem) you lose all credibility on that subject.

    The problem for TWS is that they never had the respect of who they wanted respect from. And thus they forgot to curry respect from the person paying their salaries.

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