This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, December 12, 2014:
Chris Hughes is so smart that he once was caught reading the French author Honoré de Balzac, in the original French. He led a pampered life, first attending and graduating from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts and then moving on to get a BA degree at Harvard University.
His roommates at Harvard were Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg was fooling around with a computer program that would link Harvard students together online when Hughes suggested that the program be extended to other schools.
When Facebook was officially launched, Hughes became Zuckerberg’s spokesman, making himself wealthy in the process. In 2008, he helped a virtually unknown senator from Illinois get elected president by running a social network website for him called MyBarackObama.com.
He was deep into the liberal lifestyle, marrying his sweetheart, Sean Eldridge, in 2011. Eldridge is the political director of an outfit called Freedom to Marry which promotes the LGBT lifestyle and works to remove the Defense of Marriage Act from the public’s memory. Appropriately, Hughes was asked to join the 17-member board of UNAIDS – the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS – which works to implement programs to keep homosexuals from contracting AIDs.
When Hughes learned that The New Republic (TNR) was in desperate trouble, he bought controlling interest in the magazine in 2012, promising to resuscitate it using both his millions and his skills.
Hughes is also a wimp when it comes to confrontation, and when it came time to sever ties with his editor Franklin Foer, he ran around behind him and hired someone else to take his place, without telling Foer he had done so. This so infuriated top people at TNR that 20 of them bailed out this month.
Dana Milbank, also of the elite, took serious umbrage at this. A graduate of Yale where he was invited into the secret and highly selective Skull and Bones fraternity, Milbank has bent his efforts towards promoting the Brave New World envisioned by the radical progressive left ever since TNR began 100 years ago. Writing in another establishment mouthpiece, The Washington Post, Milbank called Hughes “a dilettante and a fraud,” adding:
Hughes ousted his intellectual partner [top editor Franklin] Foer without even the courtesy of telling him; Foer found out when his replacement … began announcing himself as the new editor….
Most of the staff quit in protest, and the Hughes management team suspended publication until February.
They needn’t bother resuming at all. The New Republic is dead; Chris Hughes killed it.
No, he didn’t. Hughes merely recognized reality and saw a chance to embrace the new technology to save the tiny but highly influential publication. On November 7th, the TNA staff celebrated the magazine’s 100th birthday, remembering its influence all the way back to the time of progressive president Woodrow Wilson and his entry into “the war to end all wars.” Historians may disagree over the timing, but many point to TNR’s effective arguments, at least among progressives like Wilson, to get the US involved in World War I as the first stepping stone towards a New World Order. Ever since then, TNR has been at odds with traditional American values and the Founders’ Constitution, supporting such radical and immoral positions as free universal health care and same-sex marriage.
It supported most of President Clinton’s positions, both at home and abroad, never raising a single eyebrow about his serial adulteries. It also supported Connecticut Senator Joe Liebermann’s run for the presidency in 2004. As then-owner and publisher of TNR Martin Peretz summed it up in 2006:
The New Republic is very much against the Bush tax programs, against Bush Social Security “reform,” against cutting the inheritance tax, for radical health care changes, passionate about Gore-type environmentalism, for a woman’s entitlement to an abortion, for gay marriage, for an increase in the minimum wage, for pursuing aggressively alternatives to our present reliance on oil and our present tax preferences for gas-guzzling automobiles. We were against the confirmation of [Bush-appointed Supreme Court] Justice Alito.
Following the communist takeover in Russia in 1917, the magazine expressed relentlessly its internationalist and totalitarian views, supporting endlessly the wonders of the new Soviet state and its prime butcher, Joseph Stalin. In fact, so closely did TNR work with the Soviets that one of the magazine’s editors, Michael Whitney Straight, told the world in his memoirs that he simultaneously worked as a spy for the KGB along with others in the same cell: Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, Kim Philby, and Anthony Blunt. When those memoirs were published, experts from the KGB noted that even his revelations failed to tell the whole truth about his spy activities.
Peretz was also present and accounted for during what the New York Times called “the greatest scandal in the magazine’s history and marked a decade of waning influence and mounting financial losses”: the Stephen Glass plagiarism scandal. For years, Glass’s two editors overlooked or simply ignored Glass’s rampant and continuing fabrications of at least 27 of the 41 articles he wrote for the magazine. So egregious was his plagiarism that they became the basis for a 2003 film entitled Shattered Glass after Vanity Fair exposed it in 1998.
So no one should be surprised when Hughes responded to his former staff’s unhappiness with assurances that nothing politically will change at TNR – just the mode and the method of its transmission of progressive ideas. Writing in the Washington Post on December 7, Hughes confirmed his intentions:
I didn’t buy the New Republic to be the conservator of a small print magazine whose long-term influence and survival were at risk.
I came to protect the future of the New Republic by creating a sustainable business so that our journalism, values and voice – the things that make us singular – could survive….
Its voice and values have been important for a century, and technology should be used not to transform it but to develop and amplify its influence….
I have spent the last two-and-a-half years supporting an institution whose mission I believe in and investing millions of dollars into its singular journalism so that it can continue to be influential and important….
The vast majority of our staff remains. They are eager and excited to build a sustainable and strong New Republic that can endure … this 100-year-old story is worth fighting for.
Far from disappearing from the scene as some on the right had hoped upon learning of the defection of so many top people, the New Republic will reappear in February, promoting devilish and destructive ideas, philosophies, and opinions that it has fed the elite for decades. Its form will change; the message will remain the same.
Politico: Implosion of a Washington institution
Politico: Implosion of a Washington institution
The Washington Post: The New Republic is dead, thanks to its owner, Chris Hughes
The Washington Post: Crafting a sustainable New Republic