Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 05, 2014

The Death Of TNR Is Well Deserved

Some people mourn the death of The New Republic while claiming it was some kind of "liberal" magazine.

Since my first contact with TNR writing in the 1990s I have never experienced TNR as "liberal". It was a racist neocon rag written by overvalued white men who liked to hear themselves, and only themselves, talking. They reliably endorsed the worst possible policy on offer.

Some people agree with my take. And Billmon has, as always, some fitting and biting analysis.

Now would someone please take down the Washington Post or rebirth it as a somewhat serious newspaper?

Posted by b on December 5, 2014 at 19:12 UTC | Permalink


I remember reading TNR while in the Navy in 1972. I had a subscription. At that point it was "Liberal". If my memory serves, it was right then they did a format change. Changed the look of the cover, and layout, that kind of thing. But that is when the writing went in the tank to. I remember it was so bad that I did not even read the last few issues, just threw them straight into the trash.

Posted by: lefty | Dec 5 2014 21:21 utc | 1

Woo Hoo — three cheers for Facebook and Yahoo. Can't wait to see the new & improved TNR. Vacuity slouches towards Bethlehem.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Dec 5 2014 21:27 utc | 2

"Vacuity slouches towards Bethlehem", and reigns supreme in washington, lol..

Posted by: james | Dec 5 2014 21:50 utc | 3

The New York Times is the grey lady of central government propaganda for the elitists and their realpolitik agenda. Its demise along with the Washington Post would be a welcomed breath of fresh air for truth and justice.

Posted by: PokeTheTruth | Dec 5 2014 21:54 utc | 4

b -

Your assessment of TNR as a "racist neocon rag... [that] reliably endorsed the worst possible policy on offer" is spot on. When Democrats sought cover for going along, they almost inevitably cited the "liberal" TNR in support.

and PTT at 3 -

I'm more familiar with the Times, and I don't see it as quite as bad.

But from what I see elsewhere of the WaPo it's definitely the Beltway Village Paper of Record. Could use it, but won't get the revamp.

The Grey Lady offers a little broader spectrum of elite opinion, and is a little more self-conscious. There was, e.g., that whole mea culpa about their Iraq coverage -- well after "Mission Accomplished" was declared, of course. Better late than never, I suppose....

But I do think the quality & independence of the NYT has declined, with it becoming painfully obvious with their coverage of Syria and Novorossiya.

As a matter of triage, I think the cable and network broadcasts are more pressing. Mass quantities of minds and mass misinformation is a powerful combo.

Posted by: rufus magister | Dec 6 2014 1:43 utc | 5

TNR hasn't been the least bit left since about 1970 or so.

Posted by: John Zelnicker | Dec 6 2014 1:44 utc | 6

Thanks for your take B, and Frederik de Boer's, Bilmon's takes- hilarious. I expect these fools will be just as clueless on the day a fully fed up citizenry releases the Atari democratic leaders of the free world butt ass naked into the wild where they belong and tells them God love 'em.

Posted by: Nana2007 | Dec 6 2014 2:13 utc | 7

The letter T stands for "The". The first word of their name is the definite article. How lame.

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 6 2014 3:02 utc | 8

nana2007 @ 6 --

"releases the Atari democratic leaders of the free world butt ass naked into the wild where they belong"

Very colorful, maybe a little harsh. But, then again, maybe not.

Posted by: rufus magister | Dec 6 2014 4:20 utc | 9

@rufus magister But I do think the quality & independence of the NYT has declined

Seymour Hersh in a recent talk to young journalists :

“You don’t have to be in the New York Times or something like that. The New York Times is narrative. You want to be counter-narrative,” he said. “Mostly I’m embarrassed for the paper these days, having worked there. And that doesn’t mean it isn’t the best there is.”

The NYT IS the dominant "western" "narrative" even when its wrong (which it often is). It reflects the program of the rulers. That is unlikely to change.

Posted by: b | Dec 6 2014 18:28 utc | 10

Good riddance Marty Peretz and Leon Wieseltier ... however, John Judis produced informative and insightful stuff.

Posted by: chet380 | Dec 6 2014 22:24 utc | 11

I fucking love Billmon's responses. Jesus, I love realists.

Posted by: MRW | Dec 7 2014 0:07 utc | 12

@12, me

Kind realists, which is what Billmon is.

Posted by: MRW | Dec 7 2014 0:07 utc | 13

The NYT IS the dominant "western" "narrative" even when its wrong (which it often is). It reflects the program of the rulers. That is unlikely to change.

True, but what major publication globally doesn't do the same? They all do, to one extent or another, otherwise they would never get top billing.

Posted by: Cold N Holefield | Dec 7 2014 0:41 utc | 14


War by Media and the Triumph of Propaganda

The most effective propaganda is found not in the Sun or on Fox News – but beneath a liberal halo. When the New York Times published claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, its fake evidence was believed, because it wasn’t Fox News; it was the New York Times.

I remember reading the serial frame-up of Wen Ho Lee in the NYTimes and thinking WTF? Not only had "top decision makers in the executive branch ... embarrassed our entire nation and each of us who is a citizen." so had the mccarthyite neo-cons at the NYTimes. And, oh yeah, Wen Ho Lee was 'jailed in solitary confinement without bail for 278 days until September 13, 2000' when he was forced to accept 'a plea bargain from the federal government... ' and '... was released on time served after the government's case against him could not be proven.'

As the Pinch and Judy travesty unfolded I noted the date of Pinch's succession to Punch, just before the 'graylady' lay down with the neo-cons in the government and helped frame Wen Ho Lee, and blamed it all on the radicalized neo-con Pinch.

In an email exchange with the then editor of counterpunch it was pointed out to me that, yes the new squire was much less subtle than the old, but in reality - no difference. I couldn't accept that at the time. I thought he was punch drunk.

I read the had the NYTimes every day for thirty years. Stopped reading it sometime after that assertion, about a decade ago. As in so many other areas I have now come to accept the truth of that assertion. How I could have unaffectedly gone along with 'the narrative' for thirty years ... fifty years, but just thirty years 'well-informed' amazes me at this point. But I think that the greater part of the informed American public still remains 'well-informed'.

The USA is an island. Like Australia. A large island but isolated none the less. When Americans do venture forth it is as aliens, to American enclaves built in the parts of their world that are outside the 48 state 'Homeland'. How easily they have accepted that Nazi description of where they live. Increasingly I have the feeling that they are now retreating to similar enclaves with the 48, protecting themselves from the 'unwashed' of Cleveland, of Detroit, of Ferguson as well as of the streets of NYC itself.

It is not all that different from the situation in miniature here in Thailand, where the Sino-Thai elite, comprising 10-15% of the population and living in Bangkok - or in enclaves in Thailand itself - regard Thailand and its inhabitants as theirs to dispose of whenever they feel ready and capable to impose their final solution and to claim their property. Now with the Royal Thai Army of occupation ruling under martial law the are making their move. The MSM in Thailand, too, maintains an alternate 'reality', a la the NYTimes, explaining to the 'elite' that they are the 'exceptional', the 'moral', the 'indispensable' rulers of Thailand,

The rule of the oligarchs is self-similar throughout time and space. The NYTimes is imperial fishwrap.

Posted by: john francis lee | Dec 7 2014 2:08 utc | 15

15;Yesterday's news is tomorrows fish and chip papers,Elvis Costello.

Posted by: dahoit | Dec 7 2014 16:44 utc | 16

Dahoit at 16 --

IMHO, his "Radio Radio" is on topic here too.

They say you better listen to the voice of reason
But they don't give you any choice 'cause they think that it's treason
So you had better do as you are told
You better listen to the radio

Posted by: rufus magister | Dec 7 2014 17:59 utc | 17

Robert Parry wrote a good piece on TNR:

But the real question is: Does The New Republic deserve to survive? Wouldn’t it be appropriate that at least one neocon institution faced some accountability for the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, not to mention the other victims of reckless U.S. interventionism in the Middle East or the tens of thousands of murdered Central Americans during the Reagan years?

Though The New Republic’s apologists depict the magazine as an honorable place where “long-form journalism” thrived and “serious thinking” was nourished, the reality was actually much different. Indeed, much of the trivialization of U.S. journalism in the 1980s stemmed from the punchy opinions voiced by TNR columnists as they moonlighted as talking heads on the TV “shout shows,” like “The McLaughlin Group” and “Inside Washington.”

Many of the regulars on those media “food fights” came from The New Republic and lowered the intellectual level of Official Washington into a “thumbs up, thumps down” reductionism where political leaders were rated on scales of one to ten. Their well-compensated behavior was the opposite of true intellectualism or – for that matter – true journalism.

Posted by: Demian | Dec 10 2014 2:48 utc | 18

Once again, the neocon ideology is really just Jewish nationalism. No level of it has the slightest regard for the US except to keep it as a powerful military entity to secure Israel's interests.
TNR began as an explicitly Jewish entity. That such a magazine with an overwhelmingly Jewish editorial staff and management came to eventually harbour a neocon agenda along with what the Americans awkwardly call 'social liberalism' is not surprising.

Posted by: Altai | Dec 13 2014 14:42 utc | 19

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