News & Politics

Weekly Standard Employees Brace for the Worst as Rumors Swirl Surrounding Mag's Imminent Demise

Bill Kristol attends Politicon at The Pasadena Convention Center on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Invision/AP)

On Tuesday, Emerald Robinson, chief White House correspondent for One America News Network (OANN), unleashed a powerful rumor that The Weekly Standard is on its last legs. Sources confirmed to CNN that Editor-in-Chief Stephen Hayes warned staff the future of the paper is uncertain. One of the magazine’s key editors, Bill Kristol, has adopted a firmly anti-Trump stance, becoming a well-known #NeverTrump leader.

“BREAKING: Multiple sources tell me that neocon magazine [The Weekly Standard] is expected to close its operations in a few weeks,” Robinson tweeted. “It had lost many subscribers since the 2016 election as its [Never Trumper] editors [Bill Kristol, Stephen Hayes, and Charlie Sykes] publicly aligned with the Left.”

Prominent conservative writer and editor Erick Erickson shot down Robinson’s rumors. “Sources in Brussels, where this person currently is, probably don’t know what is happening at [The Weekly Standard],” he tweeted.

CNN seemed to confirm Robinson’s report, however. “The fate of The Weekly Standard, the conservative magazine that has staked out a position as a publication on the right still critical of President Donald Trump, is uncertain, Editor-in-Chief Stephen Hayes told staff in a series of phone calls Tuesday, according to two people familiar with the matter,” CNN’s Oliver Darcy reported.

The magazine may be on its last legs after leadership spent months searching for a buyer. The magazine’s leadership butted heads with MediaDC, its current parent company, and the two parties had agreed to allow Hayes to search for a new owner.

Launched as a neoconservative outlet in 1995, The Weekly Standard has more recently been connected to the #NeverTrump conservative movement, and many consider the paper and its Editor at Large Bill Kristol traitors to the conservative cause.

Kristol, largely considered the face of the magazine, has not moderated his anti-Trump stance. He even started orchestrating a primary challenge to President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential cycle.

Whether or not the magazine folds in the next few weeks, many conservatives will cite The Weekly Standard‘s troubles as evidence that opposing Donald Trump is a failing strategy on the Right going forward.

All the same, The Weekly Standard is not monolithic, and some writers have acknowledged that Donald Trump has proven his conservative bona fides on many issues, even though his tariffs still draw criticism.

It remains unclear where Weekly Standard staff will end up if the magazine does indeed fold. Senior writers like Mark Hemingway do excellent work and will likely land on their feet, but it is always painful to see great writers and editors out of a job.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.