As the highly-publicized contretemps at The New Republic shows once again, the left-of-center policy/political magazine biz is a small and turbulent universe where nothing should be taken for granted. That the crisis at TNR immediately follows all sorts of showy commemorations of the magazine’s centennial just makes the point more vividly: you never know when somebody’s going to pave paradise and put up a parking lot, do you?
Now the good news is that unlike TNR, the Washington Monthly has not been harnessed to the whims of savior/tyrant owners with too many or not enough axes to grind. Having to wonder if The Proprietor is going to step on the content with a crazed outburst of racist invective, or is becoming bored with the whole enterprise, is not one of our problems, praise Jehovah. Nor do we have to worry, like an awful lot of old and new media outlets currently do, about covering the big salaries of celebrity writers recruited to burnish The Brand. Nobody’s at WaMo for the money, believe me. We love what we do.
But on the other hand, that means Washington Monthly does have to rely to an important extent on donations from loyal readers. We don’t like having to rattle the cup; hell, in my years in and around politics, I could hardly bring myself to do an “ask” for a contribution from donors for whom my own salary was sofa-cushion money. But donations really are essential to keep this very special place going.
So forgive us for begging, and thank you for putting up with the solicitations even after you’ve given. But if you haven’t, please do take the time to contribute whatever you can. Then we can together navigate this next year, with all its hellish surprises and occasional victories for the good guys.