Marty Peretz Does Not Like Chris Hughes's New New Republic

The Atlantic

Well, this was bound to happen, wasn't it? Former New Republic owner Marty Peretz is very publicly bemoaning current New Republic owner Chris Hughes and saying he doesn't "recognize the magazine" anymore.

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In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Peretz leans into Hughes and the magazine's latest issue which features a stark all-white cover and the almost trollish title of Sam Tenenhaus's cover story, "The Republicans: The Party of White People." Inside, the piece bears an arguably more incendiary headline, "Original Sin: Why the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people." Peretz goes to town when explaining his complaint, too:

The provocative theme would not have been unthinkable in the magazine's 99-year history, but the essay's reliance on insinuations of GOP racism … and gross oversimplifications hardly reflected the intellectual traditions of a journal of ideas. What made the "Original Sin" issue unrecognizable to this former owner is that it established as fact what had only been suggested by the magazine in the early days of its new administration: The New Republic has abandoned its liberal but heterodox tradition and embraced a leftist outlook as predictable as that of Mother Jones or the Nation.

Tell us how you really feel, Marty! No, but seriously, that's a completely understandable critique coming from a guy who served as editor-in-chief, the same title that Chris Hughes now holds, for over 35 years. Plus, criticism is to be expected, as Peretz has been an armchair media critic for ages. We just hope he's not going to be backseat editing every issue Hughes puts out. In his WSJ piece, Peretz goes on to criticize Hughes's interviewing the president — "The magazine wasn't supposed to be a White House siphon." — and complain about the lack of op-eds — "The magazine now seems to live in a space where those 'little insurrections of the mind' are unwelcome." Again, it's totally cool to complain about a magazine, especially if you used to own it. But it's also a little silly to write an op-ed about how the world needs more op-eds.

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Maybe Peretz just feels left out. As we reported just over a year ago, Peretz wasn't even involved in the initial conversations that lead to Hughes taking over the magazine. A couple of months later, news emerged that Peretz wouldn't be contributing to the magazine for the first time since 1974. That's almost like telling a father in the autumn of his life that he's no longer allowed to speak to his kids. Rough stuff. 

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So if Peretz wants to rant a little bit, let the man rant. He'd better expect some more bold moves from The New Republic young, new and very wealthy owner and editor-in-chief, though. Just look at that logo.

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