After 23 years in circulation, the conservative magazine the Weekly Standard — a home for anti-Trump conservatives over the past few years — is shutting down.
The news was announced at an all-staff meeting with the CEO of Clarity Media, the parent company of both the Weekly Standard and the Washington Examiner newspaper.
Founded in 1995 by Bill Kristol, John Podhoretz and Fred Barnes, the Weekly Standard is best known as a publication aimed at “neoconservatives,” a branch of conservatism stemming from, in part, former liberals who were disappointed with the cultural revolutions of the 1960s and backed a hawkish foreign policy that centers on interventionism. (“Having defeated and then occupied Iraq, democratizing the country should not be too tall an order for the world’s sole superpower,” wrote Kristol in 2003.)
But more recently, the Standard — and, in particular, Kristol himself — has proven a consistent, strident critic of President Donald Trump, and many blame the magazine’s problems on its “Never Trump” stance — it wouldn’t be the first time a conservative media company made cuts to align its brand closer to the president.
Staffers of the publication told me last week that financial pressures aren’t the main reason the 23-year-old magazine is shutting down. Rather, one source told me that the Standard’s owners “have worked to sabotage TWS every step of the way” and now want to harvest the magazine’s subscriber base to help support the Washington Examiner, which is now expanding into a nationally distributed magazine.
Publication infighting — largely because of diverging attitudes toward President Trump — has done little to soothe tensions. “This isn’t a natural death,” another source told me.
According to a source, those who want to receive severance payments will be asked to sign nondisclosure agreements, and Clarity Media told staffers to leave TWS’s offices by 5 pm Friday.
Clarity Media said everybody had to leave Standard by 5, and didn't provide boxes for people to put their stuff in.— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) December 14, 2018
According to a source, serious buyers did step forward with an interest in purchasing the magazine. But rather than put it up for sale or merge the publication with the Washington Examiner, Clarity Media chose to shutter it instead.