In the first issue published since the longtime liberal magazine committed suicide last December, the New Republic will feature this week a cover story on its “perceived legacy of racism,” a direct confrontation with criticism of the magazine’s racial politics that reignited after its recent mass staff exodus.
The cover story, shared with Politico, was penned by Canadian intellectual and the Joe Strummer of tweetstorms Jeet Heer, who tweeted voraciously about the magazine’s multifaceted history in the midst of its meltdown last year.
In the wake of owner Chris Hughes’ decision to reimagine the century-old intellectual rag as a vertically-integrated tech dealie, the New Republic saw most of its higher level staff slam the door on their way out, a move that coincided with public and at times maudlin obituaries from former writers and editors.
But the mourning had barely begun before writers like Ta-Nehisi Coates and others reminded us all of the New Republic’s squeamish decades airing discredited racist nonsense, epitomized by published excerpts of Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve.
It is this old-school liberal dualism of intellectual probity and doltish privilege that Heer appeared to address in his essay.
“How do we reconcile the magazine’s liberalism, the ideology that animated the Civil Rights revolution, with the fact that many black readers have long seen—and still see—the magazine as inimical and at times outright hostile to their concerns?” Heer wrote. “The New Republic owes an accounting to itself, its critics and its readers; an honest reckoning on where it has gone wrong is the necessary first step to figuring out how to do better.”
[Image via screengrab]
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