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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Re: The First Sentence Is: “I Suspect That Al Gore Will Be Annoyed at Me for Writing This Article”

Posted by on June 22 at 15:18 PM

Some people don’t think you should subscribe to The New Republic anymore, Christopher.

…the New Republic betrayed, once again, that it seeks to destroy the new people-powered movement for the sake of its Lieberman-worshipping neocon owners; that it stands with the National Review and wingnutoshpere in their opposition to grassroots Democrats….

If you still hold a subscription to that magazine, it really is time to call it quits…. It is now beyond clear that the dying New Republic is mortally wounded and cornered, desperate for relevance. It has lost half its circulation since the blogs arrived on the scene and they no longer (thank heavens!) have a monopoly on progressive punditry.

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I'm on the email list of New Republic promotions, and I never get past the subject line. Today's promo advertises the war of words with kos. It made me wonder whether The New Republic is baiting the blogosphere, either for their own amusement or out of a more pragmatic interest in making themselves more new media relevant. If so, very cunning!

But then, I've had dealings with Zengerle before, and I think I'm giving him too much credit. I subscribe to the conventional wisdom: TNR misses its old monolithic media market, and they particularly resent the newcomers, who have somehow managed to gain influence and have ideas WITHOUT going to an Ivy League school. The nerve!

It's the other way around: Kos has been baiting TNR for ages. Kos thinks he's learned how to repeal gravity, and he's the only story that matters anymore. It's gone to his head. He thinks HE is the future of democracy, which is why he interprets less-than-adulatory comments about him as evidence of Right-Wingery.

No one -- NO ONE -- published more cogent criticism of the Bush administration's lies in preparation for war. That's just one example of TNR's leadership. Yes, they have disagreements in their pages, sometimes major ones -- and yes, sometimes on the war. But that's because they give intelligent people room in their pages.

Kos doesn't; Kos is all about Kos, and his "army" of bloggers. He's like a Scientologist; he only sees one thing, which is a perfect future where bloggers run the universe and Kos runs the bloggers.

Look, his web commentary is sometimes pretty good; but 99% of the comments on it are shit. It's impossible to read the stuff. And Kos's commentary has gotten dramatically worse over the past year, as he has become more and more interested in "the blogosphere" and less and less about the actual issues that matter.

Kos's minions raise some money for progressives, it's true. But how much other money has it turned off? There is ZERO evidence that his particular style of grassroots activism actually results in votes. Not only are major donors not being courted anymore, but they are finding new outlets for their influence -- in the Republican party. We have an historic moment here, when we can break the Republicans' back, split them in half between the kooks and the pragmatists -- but Kos is working crosswise to hold them together.

So, no, I don't think I'll be stopping my TNR subscription. They put together the best arguments from the moderate left and the moderate right, and the moderate left always wins. The Kos-left thinks that everything that isn't "BLOG THIS" is hard-core conservative, but that's just plain stupid.

Also, it must be said: TNR does amazing things in the arts. James Wood? Ruth Franklin? Zadie Smith on Kafka? Yes, sure, I'll have more.

I subscribed to TNR for years, but I agree - give it a push off the cliff.

man, that is just bullshit from kos. they've been endorsing democrats since fucking woodrow wilson. so they waffled on iraq. so did dan savage, and we still love him too.

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