October 11, 2007

TNR Has Too Many Readers?

An interesting email from "Mahon," who states he is a The New Republic reader... or would be, if they didn't cancel his subscription.

Try this on. Although mainstream Republican, I have subscribed to TNR for many years and liked it (more for Jed Perl and the book reviews lately, but never mind.) So I get a bulk email from Marty Peretz asking me to renew, and I "reply" politely castigating them for the Beauchamp matter and suggesting I was unlikely to send them any more money until they came clean. Two weeks later I get a $31.00 check from them apparently refunding the balance of my subscription – which I never asked them to cancel in the first place. In fact, although I think they look like fools over Beauchamp I no doubt would have renewed eventually, and probably still will. They start bugging you six months early anyway, so why not fuss a while?

This seems like bizarre behavior for a small magazine. Possible explanations:

  1. They are getting so many cancellations they just figured this was another one and dropped it in the hopper.
  2. They have some new business strategy that calls for only having lefties as subscribers, so I've been purged.
  3. Someone there is so huffy about this that he/she just said "well, we’ll fix you" regardless of business implications.

None of which really computes. You would think they would either ignore me or send back a note saying – something – and hoping I would reconsider, to which I would have been receptive. The whole thing suggests a pervasive lack of adult supervision top to bottom.


Their advertisers must be thrilled that they are turning people away... don't you think?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 11, 2007 11:37 PM

I can't but help wonder if the check will bounce.

Posted by: C-C-G at October 11, 2007 11:56 PM

If true...and Mahon's comments regarding the Beauchamp affair on the tnr forum were always very reasonable and gave no indication that he was a loon...this is extremely strange. Finding out what happened would be very entertaining.

Posted by: iconoclast at October 12, 2007 01:38 AM


Declamations of sharkiness are doubtless enjoyable, but meanwhile, what's your lead explanation for this anecdote?

Posted by: AMac at October 12, 2007 06:50 AM

Sorry A-Mac. I just remembered why I'd banned VoR before (inherent and pervasive trolling for the sake of trolling), and chucked him and his comment while you were responding.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at October 12, 2007 06:52 AM

Advertisers -- what advertisers? Opinion magazines are subsidized by wealthy people who want a platform where their views get an airing. Would you be surprised to find sinister Geo. Soros is embedded somewhere in the NR woodwork?

Posted by: Banjo at October 12, 2007 08:25 AM

TNR is leftist? Then why have all the leftist blogs repudiate them long ago?

Posted by: Frederick at October 12, 2007 08:54 AM

Frederick, you liberals never cease to amuse me with your attempts to re-write your way out of unpleasant bits of history.

TNR was recognized as "center-left," for much of it's existence, but that changed long ago, as soon as Franklin Foer took over:

The new ownership and redesign completes a period of change at the magazine, which shifted markedly to the political left under its new editor, Franklin Foer, and has sought to shake off its association with the Bush administration's pursuit of the Iraq war.

TNR isn't Mother Jones or The Nation (yet), but there is no doubt in anyone's mind that the magazine took a hard editorial tilt to the political far left as soon as Foer took the reins.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at October 12, 2007 10:45 AM

Magazines sometimes do cull subscriber lists so that they can present demographic pictures that potential advertisers find more appealing. Most print media earn far more revenue from advertising than from subscriptions anyway. So that could be one reason Mahon was dropped.

The same rationale might also be used when TNR shops for contributions from potential donors -- demographic studies could show the magazine goes to all the "right" people, so the donors know their money won't be tainted by association with people who them.

Posted by: Brett at October 12, 2007 11:19 AM

Never really paid much attention to TNR, actually. All I've ever seen is criticism toward the magazine from Sdaly No!, Atrios, and the like regarding their Iraq war cheerleading. Center left in America these days is about middle right pre-1980.

Posted by: Frederick at October 12, 2007 11:28 AM

So true, John F Kennedy would be considered a neocon now.

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at October 12, 2007 11:51 AM

What are the opinions of those blogs on Hillary? She hardly shows up on most left-wing blog polls, I believe, yet she can hardly be called a centrist...

Posted by: Grey Fox at October 12, 2007 12:09 PM

Whatever TNR may be doing, I sure would like to know if CanWest approves of dumping subscribers in this way?

Posted by: Dusty at October 12, 2007 01:02 PM
John F Kennedy would be considered a neocon now.

Indeed. He cut taxes and was for a strong defense. JFK would be right at home in today's GOP.

Posted by: C-C-G at October 12, 2007 09:25 PM

I canceled my online subscription when they ran a Kitty Kelley piece on the front page/lead story.

Please, Kitty Kelley?

Posted by: SteveMG at October 12, 2007 10:10 PM

Off topic but I saw this story,

Which claimed....

Christopher H. Bagwell, grandson of Nancy and Richard Hughes of Cleveland, was severely wounded Tuesday, Sept. 18, in Iraq.

Bagwell and his squad leader were the only two survivors of a 12-member squad decimated when an Iraqi youth detonated explosives wrapped around his body....

Dose not seem real to me. No such event happened on sept 18 as far as I know and you would think 10 americans killed is a single suicide bombing would have been a huge news story in the MSM. This seems like BS.

Fake news story?

Posted by: dlo at October 13, 2007 12:06 AM

I'm glad at least some people are keeping up with this story. The media (all the way around) gets away with crappy journalism - journalism that often hurts some person or group or nation - and then gets away with it when key facts turn out to be wrong or lies.

It takes a really big story before the media will feed on itself - spending anything close to the same amount of time tearing down another news outlet or story as they spent ripping down a citizen or institution like the military.

With some, like the Nogunri story out of the Korean War, the media is so in love with the idea of the original, they keep a myth alive permanently even after key facts and witnesses turn out to be identified clearly as liars.

Posted by: usinkorea at October 13, 2007 01:20 AM

I doubt very much they purged Mahon because he wasn't a true believer. An overworked member of their administrative staff probably had 200 subscriber letters to go through that day, had to scan them and categorize them quickly -- without getting bogged down in lengthy outraged essays, of which there have probably been plenty of late -- and then tossed Mahon's letter in the wrong pile. That's my bet, anyway. (If I may make an "argument from authority," I have worked at a couple of monthly mailed newsletters; stuff like that happens.)

Posted by: DWPittelli at October 13, 2007 07:10 AM

If I was the editors I'd be thinking "good riddance."

Posted by: Xanthippas at October 13, 2007 01:52 PM

I suspect that DW has it right. Fits my experience too and adheres to Hanlon's Razor;

"Never assume malice when stupidity will suffice"

Of course, were Xanthippas one of the editors both conditions might hold true.

Posted by: iconoclast at October 13, 2007 02:48 PM