Bad News for Liberals Leftists May Be Good News for a Liberal Leftist Magazine


Cross-posted from American Power.

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I’m bothered, increasingly, by the overwhelming tendency of the major actors and institutions of the political regime to treat those on the far left of the ideological spectrum as “liberals.” Leftists are not liberal. They’re anti-liberal. But one of the great achievements of radical left-wing politics in the second half of the Twentieth Century was to successfully label the massive Democrat Party interventions in the economy and bureaucracy as “liberal.” This is no secret, by any means. The late historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., is widely credited with the claim that “There seems no inherent obstacle to the gradual advance of socialism in the United States through a series of New Deals.” But thoughout history, the country’s manichean and existential struggle against Soviet Communism made it taboo to formally (and accurately) recognize leftist ideology in America as socialist.

As conservatives continue to sort out the lessons from the 2010 elections, one enduring ideological challenge remains clear: the need to appropriately and consistently identify so-called liberals for what the are, radical left-wing ideologues and statists.

We can see just large how the challenge remains at today’s New York Times, “Bad News for Liberals May Be Good News for a Liberal Magazine.” I’ve obviously altered the title of this blog entry to better reflect what the Times is attempting to say. Basically, and fair enough, Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor and publisher of The Nation, sees the current resurgence of right-wing politics as providing a burst of life-saving blood to her far left-wing organ:

No weekly magazine tracked by the Media Industry Newsletter has lost more pages of advertising this year than The Nation.

As of Nov. 8, ad pages were down 30 percent compared with last year’s figures, remarkable even though advertising accounts for only a 10th of the revenue. Traffic to TheNation.com has also declined recently. And since 2008, the magazine has run an operating deficit of about $500,000 a year.

Despite all the gloom, could last week’s Democratic pummeling actually have a silver lining for The Nation, once home to writers like Henry James, Ezra Pound, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and even Yeats? Katrina vanden Heuvel, the magazine’s editor and publisher, did not have to think long about that question.

“If you can’t expose the hypocrisy of this new group of Republicans, then we’re not doing our job. And I mean that,” she said in an interview from her office on election night as she sipped a glass of Champagne, defiant as Democratic losses piled up and the mood around her darkened.

“I mean you’ve got a lot to work with,” she said. “You’ve got a Tea Party caucus in the Senate, a Tea Party caucus in the House. So I think you have a lot of rich material.”

If history is any guide, Ms. vanden Heuvel could be proved right.

The Bush years were good — very good — to The Nation. After operating in the red almost every year since it was founded by abolitionists in 1865, the magazine turned a profit in 2003.

More at the link.

Interestingly, The Nation‘s main competitors are blogs like Daily Kos and online news aggregators like Huffington Post. And like The Nation, both of these are neo-socialist outlets, but with more modern technological coolness. And also like The Nation, both Kos and Puff Ho are treated as respectable media organs while effectively functioning as neo-socialist appendages to the Democrat Party in Washington.

All of these folks are on the extreme left of the spectrum, and, along with the New York Times itself, they all advance a progressive and statist agenda that reaches from the tops of the elite media shops in Manhattan to the lowest elementary school classrooms in the inner cities. We’ve seen it over and over. And conservatives need to keep pushing back: Say no to the media lies of neo-socialist press organs as mainstream “liberal” institutions.

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More at American Power.

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