There were plenty of opinions to go around when Clarity Media Group announced they were shutting down The Weekly Standard, but none were more forceful than this one from President Trump:
“The pathetic and dishonest Weekly Standard, run by failed prognosticator Bill Kristol (who, like many others, never had a clue), is flat broke and out of business. Too bad. May it rest in peace!”
Trump had reason to loathe the magazine, which was the defiant home for conservative NeverTrump journalism and punditry long after the audience for such drivel had dried up. While some have slammed Clarity for “spitefully” closing the doors on the magazine because its editors and writers wouldn’t bend to its will, one need only look at their remaining (and expanding) publication – the Washington Examiner – to see that they didn’t want to turn the Weekly Standard into Breitbart. They wanted a little bit of ideological diversity. They didn’t want a staff full of Jennifer Rubins. They wanted one or two conservatives to occasionally, you know, write about what’s actually going on in the country instead of just mimicking the opinion section of The New Republic. Was that really too much to ask?
Instead of being flexible with a magazine’s whose primary purpose, we would think, can only be served when someone is actually interested in reading it, the Weekly Standard’s editors dug their heels in and refused to modify their slant. Even an iota. There might be something to be said for principle, granted, but can you really blame a publishing company for shutting down a magazine that no one is buying? How is that some tragedy? We would think the principled, free-market conservatives of the Weekly Standard would understand the concept of supply and demand better than most.
For as little credit as we feel able to give Bill Kristol as of late, we do have to admire his statement on Twitter, which was classy.
“All good things come to an end. And so, after 23 years, does The Weekly Standard,” wrote Kristol. “I want to express my gratitude to our readers and my admiration for my colleagues. We worked hard to put out a quality magazine, and we had a good time doing so. And we have much more to do. Onward!”
Unfortunately, the Standard was a magazine without an audience. That’s just not a formula for continued success.