The Weekly Standard’s Future Is Grim, Editor Says
The stalwart conservative magazine has faced dwindling readership as right-wing media has shifted to being overtly pro-Trump.
The Weekly Standard, the legacy conservative publication that has undergone an identity crisis during the Trump era, could potentially shutter.
CNN first reported Tuesday that the future of the right-leaning magazine is “uncertain,” and that its top editor has informed staff of the potential for an operational shutdown. Two sources then confirmed that account to The Daily Beast. The magazine’s owners had been searching for a potential buyer for months, CNN noted. The Weekly Standard leadership had also reportedly butted heads with the company’s parent company, MediaDC.
In the two decades since it was founded in 1995, The Weekly Standard has become known as one of the most prominent platforms for hawkish conservatives in print—most famously promoting an interventionist foreign policy and having been described as the George W. Bush White House’s reading of choice.
But President Trump’s brash rhetoric and aversion to traditional, Bush-era GOP orthodoxy on many issues had forced a wedge between some of the Standard’s most prominent writers and editors and the Republican Party’s increasingly populist base.
Founder and former editor-in-chief Bill Kristol has become one of the most high-profile members of the “Never Trump” movement, sharing his antipathy toward Trump on dozens of cable-news panels over the past two years. For his part, Trump has repeatedly ribbed Kristol on Twitter, dubbing him a “loser.”
Trump’s 2016 victory and Kristol’s decision to step down as the site’s top editor after the election led the magazine to do some soul-searching and refocusing in a new era.
In an interview with the Washington Post, editor-in-chief Stephen Hayes—a Trump critic who has also been a target of the president’s ire—acknowledged that the verbal attacks from Trump had been “challenging,” and found Trump’s frequent lies disturbing.
Hayes said the reaction to the election would be an expansion of the newsroom and a pivot more toward hard news. But apparently that might not be enough to bring back the conservative readership.