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Ed Driscoll

Give The People What They Want, And They’ll Come Out For It In Droves

December 23rd, 2012 - 10:01 pm

#lastprintissue ? As Business Insider notes, “Newsweek’s Final Ever Print Cover Features A… Hashtag,” as the torch is passed from one communication medium to another.

I wonder how big a bestseller the last print issue will be? Perhaps the famous quote attributed to Red Skelton regarding infamous Hollywood mogul Harry Cohn’s packed funeral will give some hint as to how many will buy a copy for their archives. Or as the American Glob Website quipped in October when the date of Newsweek’s euthanasia was released, “So This Is How Newsweek Dies… With Thunderous Applause.”

In their Drudge-linked article, Capital New York writes, “Betrayed by the Zeitgeist she once channeled, Tina Brown invokes it one last time.” But of course, the real damage done to the magazine by not understanding the Zeitgeist was done by the magazine’s previous administration. Tina was simply duped into becoming an unwitting fall-girl for brand far, far too damaged to be salvaged.

Update: Twitchy rounds up bipartisan reaction from Twitter responding to Newsweek’s print demise; Jim Romenesko’s blog collates some Tweets mostly from the MSM. Regarding the latter post, Kathy Shaidle emails, “If only journalists were this clever when they wrote stuff intended for us lowly peons, instead of for each other on Twitter.”

Well, Newsweek tried to become a closed loop under the Washington Post — and we now know the answer to Andrew Ferguson’s query in the Weekly Standard back in 2009:

Jon offered another wonderful Meachamism in his own lead essay about President Obama.

“As he turned to make the walk back to Air Force One,” Jon wrote, “a breeze blew–and everybody scurried anew, to keep up with him. It was that kind of day–and it has been that kind of presidency: Barack Obama, moving as he wishes to move, and the world bending itself to him.”

You could just imagine everybody reading this if anybody read Newsweek. They would admire the rich, fecund gorgeousness of Jon’s prose–a breeze blew / scurried anew–and nod and tap their lower lips with their index fingers, because while everybody will say that Jon’s point is true, it isn’t. What Jon wrote, in fact, is the direct opposite of the truth. Even as the sentence was being written, the president was violating several campaign promises for the simple reason that he has had to bend himself to the world, as presidents usually do. And a good thing, too.

It was that kind of week: While flipping the pages of the new Newsweek, it began to occur to everybody that, hey, this is a pretty stupid idea for a magazine. Are there really 1.5 million magazine readers–the number of subscribers Jon has promised advertisers–who want a liberal opinion magazine written by liberals who don’t want to admit they’re liberals? Last week everybody looked at one another and pondered a world without Newsweek.

It’s a cruel and unforgiving Zeitgeist out there.

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