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New York Times: Boom Times For Liberal Magazines?

Though Democrats around the country are hurting after last week’s midterm elections, the New York Times argues today that liberal magazines like The Nation may flourish in these times. Jeremy W. Peters reports that historically, the 146-year-old magazine has seen growth in circulation and revenue in times when liberals were the minority party in American politics — and so last week’s disappointing election results for liberals may actually spell future growth for The Nation:

Despite all the gloom, could last week’s Democratic pummeling actually have a silver lining for The Nation, once home to writers like Henry James, Ezra Pound, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and even Yeats? Katrina vanden Heuvel, the magazine’s editor and publisher, did not have to think long about that question.

“If you can’t expose the hypocrisy of this new group of Republicans, then we’re not doing our job. And I mean that,” she said in an interview from her office on election night as she sipped a glass of Champagne, defiant as Democratic losses piled up and the mood around her darkened.

“I mean you’ve got a lot to work with,” she said. “You’ve got a Tea Party caucus in the Senate, a Tea Party caucus in the House. So I think you have a lot of rich material.”

If history is any guide, Ms. vanden Heuvel could be proved right.

The Bush years were good — very good — to The Nation. After operating in the red almost every year since it was founded by abolitionists in 1865, the magazine turned a profit in 2003.

From 2001 to 2003, the magazine’s circulation leapt from 107,000 to 149,000 and kept growing. By 2006, it had reached its peak at 187,000.

Read the full piece here.

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