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Sic Transit New Republic?

The news that The New Republic has been sold to Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has prompted some worries that the venerable publication may be heading in a new direction. While TNR remained steadfastly liberal in its view of most domestic issues during the past decades, it has also been a resolute defender of Israel and generally a strong proponent of sensible views on foreign policy. The fact that Hughes, who will assume the title of editor-in-chief, was an organizer of the 2008 Obama campaign leaves us wondering whether it will remain so in the future.

But no matter what happens next, it is worthwhile taking a moment to honor all that the magazine achieved under longtime editor-in-chief and publisher Martin Peretz. The distinguished historian Ron Radosh, himself a frequent contributor to both COMMENTARY and TNR, writes about this at PJMedia in an article in which the author echoes our fears while also celebrating the great journalism and the important careers that were fostered under Peretz.

Radosh rightly points out that TNR had a unique niche in the publishing world and it would be a shame if Hughes pushed it further to the left:

I am not optimistic about the fate of the new TNR. The last thing we need is a magazine slightly — very slightly — to the right of The Nation. Nor do we need another New Yorker, in which Hendrik Hertzberg’s predictable left-liberal views dominate the political commentary — and, yes, he too came from TNR as an old editor — and where its editor-in-chief David Remnick stands by the likes of Seymour Hersh as a major investigative reporter, despite the devastating expose of him in the new COMMENTARY  by a former TNR editor, James Kirchick. …

So, this is a swan song and sad goodbye to the old TNR. I wish the magazine well, and perhaps I will turn out to be very wrong. But as a natural pessimist, and for good reason, I only expect the worst.

We share Radosh’s sentiments. Let us hope TNR thrives under its new management while remaining a strong voice in support of Israel and the West.