The Weekly Standard was formed more than 20 years ago by Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes. This afternoon there are multiple reports that the site’s owner may be fed up with its turn toward never-Trumpism and looking to go in another direction. From CNN:
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.
Instead, Ryan McKibben, the chairman of MediaDC, asked to meet with Hayes in a meeting tentatively scheduled for late next week, the people said. McKibben, they said, also requested the entire staff of The Weekly Standard be made available following the meeting.
No one is saying outright what that will mean but CNN points out that MediaDC announced Monday that another property it owns, the Washington Examiner, will be expanding into a weekly national magazine. Vox’s Jane Coaston says sources are telling her the idea is to raid the Standard for resources to build up the Examiner:
I reached out to Kristol for comment, but he did not respond in time for publication. But staffers inside the publication say that financial pressures aren’t the main reason the 23-year-old magazine is shutting down. Rather, one source told me that the magazine’s owners “have worked to sabotage TWS every step of the way” and now want to harvest the magazine’s subscriber base to help support the Washington Examiner, which is now expanding into a nationally distributed magazine.
Publication infighting — largely because of diverging attitudes toward President Trump — has done little to soothe tensions. “This isn’t a natural death,” another source told me.
If that’s so, I imagine some of the people currently employed at the Standard could be offered jobs at the new magazine as well. I guess we’ll find out on the 14th. Meanwhile, Ezra Klein is using this as an opportunity to dunk on the right:
Trumpism is conservatism now. Perhaps the lesson of this is that it always was. https://t.co/XqDGAAQ2zj
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) December 5, 2018
That’s one way to look at it, but Stephen Miller makes a good point in response.
Or maybe the lesson is it’s easy to fire off hot takes when you’re sitting on a $200 million nest egg from NBC universal. WS doesn’t have that luxury. Now ask yourself why. https://t.co/nKMvAHIhqF
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) December 5, 2018
NBCUniversal made the investment in Vox back in 2015. NBCU made the same investment in Buzzfeed at the time and invested a 2nd $200 million in Buzzfeed in 2016. It has always been the case in the media that if you want to advance, your best bet is to be on the left like everyone else in media.