Creating More Diversity at TNR Good Move, But Not a Retroactive Excuse

In a very unsurprising development, the new editor-in-chief of The New Republic, Gabriel Snyder, has in a “Letter From the Editor” made a virtue of necessity by boasting that the sea of openings created by publisher Chris Hughes and CEO Guy Vidra will be filled with a diverse new staff:

As we build our editorial staff, we will reach out to talented journalists who might have previously felt unwelcome at The New Republic. If this publication is to be influential, and not merely survive, it can no longer afford to represent the views of one privileged class, nor appeal solely to a small demographic of political elites.

Though there is zero evidence the departure of more than 50 former staff was some sort of white-male strike against diversity, it makes sense the new team would try to get a retroactive indulgence for retroactively abandoning the retroactively recognized elitism of the ancien regime. And prospectively working to create a diverse staff is absolutely the right thing to do.

But pretending that was a motive for the blowing up of the old staff is as disingenuous as the parallel argument, also alluded to by Snyder, that the old folks were stuck in the Dead Tree Era, and were the proper object of a good Crolyite revolution. Hughes and Vidra screwed up and now they are scrambling to recover. Acknowledging that pretty well-established fact should be the first step in the rehabilitation of the magazine.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.