The Weekly Standard could live to fight another day.
The future of the conservative political and cultural journal appeared to be endangered this week by the exposure of its owner of a restructuring plan that could restructure it out of existence.
The owner of The Standard, Clarity Media Group – which in turn is owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz – wants to expand his other Washington-based conservative Washington based publication, a move that may leave no room for the Standard that loses money .
Clarity was opaque on his plans beyond a statement released at the beginning of the week in which he reads: "It is no secret that US news agencies are dealing with an evolving business landscape. The weekly standard deals with these same issues: Clarity Media has explored a number of possibilities regarding the future of the weekly Standard, and at this time, Clarity has no news to share on the evaluation process. "
However, the founding editor of the Standard, Bill Kristol, said on Thursday that reports of the publication's disappearance sparked "a gratifying outpouring of support and, in reality, offers to buy or help buy" the magazine. "So it's cute," he said.
Kristol refused to name the interested parties.
Later he modified his comment to say that there have been "expressions of interest from serious people – not yet offered, but we will see".
In both cases, any interest in the Standard would represent progress. The editor Stephen F. Hayes reported having published the publication at the start of this year but does not seem to have found an available buyer.
Employees say they are not sure that Clarity wants to sell the magazine, bend it or somehow incorporate it into the Washington Examiner. The Examiner is renewing its magazine and would benefit from the Weekly Standard subscriptions list. The standard has about 48,000 subscribers to the press.
The Standard has differed from other conservative publications, including the Washington Examiner, from its skepticism and, sometimes, from real opposition to President Trump.
Under Hayes, he has kept his traditional criticisms of the Democrats while publishing a series of investigative stories and features that demonstrate his independence from Trump and his policies. A recent editorial, for example, blew Trump's rhetoric on Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Washington Post killing with columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
However, the approach has not produced great growth in digital traffic. According to the ComScore tracking company, the Weekly Standard website only attracted 822,000 unique visitors in April – about half of the monthly total obtained during Trump's inauguration in January 2017. It has gradually recovered that lost ground and saw a jump to 2.8 million and 2.6 million unique visitors, respectively, in September and October, the first month in which ComScore began to include the flow of traffic to Snapchat publishers.
The printed magazine, which is published 48 times a year, lost about 10 percent of its circulation during the Trump era.
Kristol co-founded the publication in 1995 with journalists Fred Barnes and John Podhoretz, with financial support from Rupert Murdoch. The Standard quickly became the main voice of the neoconservative movement and strongly supported the American invasion of Iraq under President George W. Bush.
Murdoch sold his interest in Anschutz in 2009. Barnes remains his executive editor and Podhoretz contributes with film reviews. Kristol, who resigned as editor-in-chief at the end of 2016, remains a writer and editor for the magazine. He is also a contributor to CNN, where he often criticizes Trump.
The eventual disappearance of the magazine has aroused the alarm of conservative figures and journalists on Twitter.
Conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt pushed the magazine, tweeting, "The @ weeklystandard is a great magazine, full of superb writing and analysis, we hope that a @JeffBezos is out there to buy it and keep @stephenfhayes and gangs in the game for decades to come." It's a big and serious brand. deep in the public mind. "
(Bezos, managing director of Amazon, is owner of the Washington Post).
The political editorialist Jack Shafer was more concise. He tweeted, "We will miss the @weekly standard when it is gone".