Ed Driscoll

Deface the Nation

Not surprisingly given their similar ideology, the New York Times is remarkably sympathetic to the woes of the fellow members of the Professional Left working for The Nation magazine:

These are difficult times at The Nation, and not just because liberals are in retreat. Lately the magazine has suffered a one-two punch. On top of political malaise, it faces the economic pressures that political journals often confront when the party in power is on their side.

In the words of Victor Navasky, a father figure at the magazine who served as its editor and publisher before retiring several years ago, what is good for the nation is bad for The Nation. [Is the New York Times a liberal newspaper? Of course it is — Ed]

So as liberal politics flourished in the waning years of George W. Bush’s presidency and reached an apotheosis with the election of Barack Obama in 2008, The Nation’s fortunes started to skid. Couple that with a recession as well as the worst advertising market in decades, and things started to look bleak.

No weekly magazine tracked by the Media Industry Newsletter has lost more pages of advertising this year than The Nation.

As of Nov. 8, ad pages were down 30 percent compared with last year’s figures, remarkable even though advertising accounts for only a 10th of the revenue. Traffic to TheNation.com has also declined recently. And since 2008, the magazine has run an operating deficit of about $500,000 a year.

Considering the company they’ve been (cough — Newsweek — cough) that’s some advertising decline. But talk about mixed blessings. Given the Nation’s anti-big business Kabuki — almost as bad as the president’s — and the radical environmentalism of the far left, isn’t losing advertising a good thing? Purge! Purify! Save the trees! Cut down on servers and reduce the air conditioning! Do you want to be wage slaves? No, of course not. But what makes wage slaves? Wages! (Oh wait, wrong Marxist dialectic. That’s Groucho’s line, not Karl’s).

And speaking of both Groucho and our post earlier this week on the Times, the Weasel Zippers find Mother Jones magazine doing a remarkably spot-on Margaret Dumont impersonation.

(H/T: Mark Hemingway.)