Anti-Trump Weekly Standard reportedly on its last legs

Trump Derangement Syndrome may turn out to be fatal for one of the most strident conservative publications opposing the president.  Yesterday, CNN broke the story that the staff of the Weekly Standard have been warned:

The fate of The Weekly Standard, the conservative magazine that has staked out a position as a publication on the right still critical of President Donald Trump, is uncertain, Editor-in-Chief Stephen Hayes told staff in a series of phone calls Tuesday, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The magazine's precarious position comes after its leadership spent months searching for a buyer, the people told CNN.

The people explained that The Weekly Standard's leadership had butted heads with MediaDC, the current publisher of the magazine, and that the two parties had agreed to allow Hayes to search for a new owner.

However, MediaDC recently informed The Weekly Standard's leadership that the company was no longer interested in a sale, the people said.

Apparently, no new owner willing to sustain losses in order to keep an anti-Trump conservative voice alive could be found.

The current owner of the Weekly Standard is MediaDC, a subsidiary of Clarity Media.  MediaDC also owns the Examiner.  Does anyone believe that this is a coincidence?

Clarity Media, announced that a sister publication, The Washington Examiner, would be expanding its footprint with a blown-out weekly conservative magazine with national distribution.  That appeared to overlap with the Weekly Standard's model, leaving staffers and supporters of the magazine to wonder what its fate would be.

Let me translate: the Weekly Standard has killed its brand by remaining anti-Trump while the conservative movement has lined up behind President Trump.  Out with the Weekly Standard, in with the Weekly Examiner.  The key question is how many – if any – of the anti-Trump staff from TWS will have jobs at the new weekly.

CNN sees the connection:

One of the people familiar with the matter told CNN that the Washington Examiner is expanding at the expense of The Weekly Standard.

Make no mistake: The Weekly Standard was the institutional legacy of Bill Kristol and Steve Hayes.  By persisting in, even escalating in Kristol's case, their hatred of Trump, they have sacrificed that legacy, if this plays out.

Yes, it is absolutely true that publishing online and in print has become difficult for everyone, as online advertising dollars have been hoovered up by Google and Facebook, leaving precious little for the rest of us.  American Thinker faces those same challenges.  But our readership has never been larger, while, according to Politico:

As recently as five years ago, it [TWS] boasted a print circulation of about 100,000, but by last year, that number had fallen to 72,000, according to the auditing group BPA Worldwide. Between 2016 and 2017, the year Trump took office, paid circulation for the magazine dropped by about 7,000, or roughly 10 percent, according to the auditing group.

Part of me mourns the impending loss of a political journal employing a lot of smart people.  This is a tragedy in the original Greek sense of the term – a nasty fate that is the product of a fatal flaw: hubris.  

Don Surber maintains what he calls the "Trumpenfreude list" of people and groups that have opposed Donald Trump and suffered for it.  He has put TWS on "Trumpenfreude watch" and cannot help himself from gloating:

One month after Donald John Trump entered the presidential race, Bill Kristol, then editor of the Weekly Standard, announced we had reached Peak Trump.

And so we had, and Donald Trump dropped out of the race and was never heard from again.  The end.

Just kidding.  But his false prophecy inspired me to write the best chapter in "Trump the President."  Read it here.

What we had reached was Peak Weekly Standard. Its influence has slid ever since.

Maybe a last-minute rescue will be undertaken.  There are a lot of Trump-hating billionaires out there.

The other legacy conservative publication that bet big on hating Trump, National Review, has at least managed to include some pro-Trump voices.  I have no information on its circulation or online readership.  But my conservative friends have never forgotten its special issue "Against Trump."  So far as I know, it has no other potential pro-Trump title to morph into, the way the Weekly Standard can yield to The Weekly Examiner.

But you never know what's ahead.

The Weekly Standard, like National Review, has run a lot of cruises for wealthy readers to hobnob with its writers.  But for the last two years, it has been on one of those cruises to nowhere.

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