Jon Meacham, Newsweek’s current editor, has been visiting talk shows since the Washington Post Co. announced it was giving up on the magazine, which it’s owned for almost half a century, and hoping someone else might be willing to take it on. Meacham has mostly been saying that what’s happened to the magazine isn’t his fault. His defence is that he did the best he could and, given the state of the media business, nobody could’ve done much better. The fates just weren’t with him.
Meacham might be right. But his approach, to turn Newsweek into a middle-brow thumb sucker, reminiscent of Norman Cousins’ Saturday Review—a magazine that went belly up several generations ago—seems, in hindsight, more a determined last stand for a specific journalism class than a concerted and hard-headed business proposition.
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