POLITICS
01/29/2013 01:17 pm ET Updated Jan 29, 2013

Free Beacon Claim That New Republic Purged Jewish Contributors Doesn't Hold Up

The New Republic, over the weekend, unveiled a brand spanking-new website -- the most outward-facing symbol of the magazine's semi-relaunch under the new management of former Facebooker Chris Hughes. But while most people covered the big site redesign with headlines that amounted to "The New Republic Does Some Stuff," The Washington Free Beacon chose to go with, "Hughes Drops Jews." Since editor Franklin Foer is a well-known lighter of menorahs (as well as the editor of a well-received book on "Jewish Jocks") and new editorial director Michael Schaffer is half-Jewish, the idea of a purge of Jewish contributors seemed awfully strained. But go ahead and convince me, Washington Free Beacon!

The New Republic has quietly dropped at least five prominent Jewish writers from its masthead in a move that may signal the publication’s continued drift away from a staunchly pro-Israel standpoint.

The magazine has launched an aggressive new editorial direction under the ownership of wealthy socialite Chris Hughes, who is best known for sharing a room with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard University.

The names of several prominent Jewish writers from both the left and right of the political spectrum were dropped from TNR’s masthead in the latest issue.

How thorough was this editorial pogrom? Not very, as it turns out! Wonkette's Rebecca Schoenkampf has undertaken her best imitation of Fred Malek in an effort to get to the truth about how many Jewish people remain on the New Republic's masthead -- or at least the half-truth, which is one-half more truth than this Washington Free Beacon article managed.

At this point, I'm just going to pass the microphone to Jonathan Chait, who notes the strange concern the Free Beacon has for a bunch of unpaid contributors with ceremonial titles who, with one exception, have "not published anything in the magazine for years." Chait also makes a rather obvious point, which was glossed over by the Free Beacon in that throwaway line about "left and right of the political spectrum":

However, by the end of the fourth paragraph, after listing the purged Jewish contributing editors, the story notes by the by that one of them, Peter Beinart, “is the publisher of Open Zion, an anti-Zionist Daily Beast blog sponsored by the New America Foundation,” a development the story concedes, with hilarious understatement, to be “complicating the picture.” So it’s sort of a combined purge of Jews and anti-Zionists?

Chait's response is one long glorious eyeroll, so treat yourself this morning and read the whole thing. I'd add that something that further "complicates the picture" is that while the Free Beacon makes note of Gregg Easterbrook being taken off the New Republic masthead, they don't note the famous scandal that Easterbrook became embroiled in while at The New Republic. Spoiler alert: it involved a review of the Quentin Tarantino film "Kill Bill" that was widely criticized for having an anti-Semitic tone. See if you can spot what ran afoul of readers:

Set aside what it says about Hollywood that today even Disney thinks what the public needs is ever-more-graphic depictions of killing the innocent as cool amusement. Disney's CEO, Michael Eisner, is Jewish; the chief of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, is Jewish. Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence. Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence?

Of course, Easterbrook made a profuse apology that I would posit was sincere and was accepted as such. Nevertheless, you'd think that a publication that's overly concerned about the staff turnover at New Republic -- insofar as clearing your masthead of the dead weight of non-contributing contributors can be called "staff turnover" -- falling heaviest on Jewish contributors might view Easterbrook's removal in a complimentary light. But there I go again, looking for "consistency."

The Free Beacon posts this today under the byline of no one, something the website does when it does not want the epically dumb things it publishes to become attached to anyone's actual names. I am also compelled to point out that the Free Beacon's own contributors have explicitly and publicly declared that much of the content on the site is not intended to be taken seriously. Having given the matter any credence at all, I acknowledge that I have "lost the battle."

Which brings me to my favorite part of the Free Beacon's complaint:

Hughes, a major Obama donor, was able to secure an exclusive interview with President Obama to carry the re-launch of the magazine. In the softball interview, Obama conceded, “Democrats, we’ve got a lot of warts, and some of the bad habits here in Washington when it comes to lobbyists and money and access.”

President Obama's blithe admission that Democrats have "warts" in the form of connections to the endlessly corrupting Influence Peddling Industry sort of reminds me of that time Gary Hart said, "Follow me around." And, indeed, there is a lot of mileage, journalistically speaking, to pursuing this sort of corruption.

Maybe the Free Beacon can help follow up on that stuff, after they're done writing silly articles about non-existent purges of Jewish contributors.

READ THE WHOLE THING:
Hitler Alive and Well, Owning Liberal Magazine [Daily Intel]
‘The New Republic’ Singularly Unsuccessful At Purging Its Jews [Wonkette]

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