I've been a Newsweek reader and subscriber for more than a half century and of course I haven't always been appreciative of all their regular columnists. I haven't ever in fact, but none the less, people like George Will or the current counterpoise to rational thinking, Niall Furguson, haven't made me cancel my subscription as I've threatened to do on occasion. But you can't fight progress and you can't fight the kind of decay progress leaves in its wake and the magazine that once published some of the best political writing and news reporting in America has been fighting a losing battle. Advertising revenue is drying up in the slow economy and advertisers may feel they get a bigger bang and a bigger audience elsewhere.
The venerable publication was sold last year and combined with The Daily Beast. Controversial editor in chief Tina Brown, known for saving The New Yorker a few years back hasn't been able to save Newsweek or stem the flight of advertising revenue -- or as I might speculate, stem the rising illiteracy and unwillingness to read objective journalism and I read this morning that as of the end of this year, Newsweek will cease to put out a print edition. Alas.
I had been meaning to write this week about the noticeable trend toward being 'fair and balanced' in Newsweek and indeed almost every other slowly sinking print publication by including a measure of snarky, sulfurous vituperation to balance out any accurate reportage or fact based opinion that will irritate the delusional Right, as if there actually were two sides to arithmetic or an alternate and opposite history despite the accuracy of the record. I was going to chastise Ms. Brown for the October 15th cover story "Heaven is Real" pandering, once again, to irrational beliefs, but at least for Newsweek, the Mayans were correct. It's the end of an era.
It may be more of a dignified end however, than being bought up by Darth Murdoch or some corporation controlled by the Koch brothers or Karl Rove. They plan to continue on the Web and I plan to read them but I can't say I don't have a feeling of loss or a suspicion that the future of Journalism is not the improvement of journalism but more like a large, dark cave full of screaming voices.