To listen to the right on any given day, you'd think that conservatives are being censored on a daily basis and the First Amendment is dead. Just last week, far-right bigot Laura Loomer got herself booted from Twitter and handcuffed herself to the door of Twitter's headquarters while wearing a yellow Star of David to protest her alleged victimhood.
This persecution complex runs deep throughout the right as white nationalists and other assorted assholes regularly find themselves banned from social media platforms for violating the terms of service (otherwise known as the "don't be an abusive asshole policy"). That is not censorship.
The future of the conservative magazine the Weekly Standard is at risk as the magazine’s ownership, MediaDC, is reportedly refocusing its attention on its other main publication, the Washington Examiner. And the Daily Caller is reporting that the magazine could be shut down as soon as December 14, though the company that owns MediaDC (and thus TWS) told CNN that it is continuing to explore possibilities and “does not have any news to share” at this point.
As one source told me, “This is not about dwindling subscribers. This is about strip-mining TWS for its assets” — namely, the magazine’s subscriber lists.
At the heart of the troubles is the Weekly Standard’s turn against Trumpism, which has proven a losing bet in a conservative movement that has increasingly embraced the president. MediaDC reportedly wants to jettison the anti-Trump brand of the Weekly Standard but use its subscribers to bolster the more pro-Trump — or at least Trump-agnostic — Examiner.
This still isn't an attack on the First Amendment but unlike being banned from social media for inciting violence or spreading hate speech, this is actual censorship. The Weekly Standard is being punished specifically and explicitly for holding views that upper management does not like. That's it. End of story.
And since it seems that the way the organization is structured means they cannot exercise direct editorial control over TWS, they're just going to kill it instead. In other words, the people who rail every day against political correctness and the tyranny of liberal censorship are silencing dissent within the ranks in the most heavy-handed of ways.
I doubt the irony is lost on Bill Kristol, Charlie Sykes, and the other writers at the Weekly Standard.
We're almost certain to hear about how they were losing money and it was a business move, nothing more etc. etc. but that's a lie in light of "wingnut welfare." Wingnut welfare, if you don't already know, is an endless pile of money for right-wing think tanks and websites and authors, etc. etc. Fox News alone cost hundreds of millions to create. All of this is funded by billionaires for the sole purpose of pushing an extremist agenda. Profitability is preferred but not necessary. The message is the point. Why do you think people like Dinesh D'Souza, a man sorely lacking in ability, is able to find all the funding he needs to write terrible books and make even worse movies? He's a propagandist for the right so the money will flow indefinitely for him.
But that spigot dries up if you don't adhere to the party line. At the moment, Trump owns the base. That means bucking Trump is heresy and so the Weekly Standard has got to go.
Don't shed too many tears for the odious Standard, though. They're war pimps that never a saw a brown person in another country they didn't want to bomb. As I was writing this piece, Matthew Yglesias published an article on why the Weekly Standard, barring its anti-Trumpism, was a poisonous endeavor that warped American foreign policy. You should go read it before someone whips up a pro-Trump neo-con alternative. Trust me, it won't be long. Perpetual war is a foundation of Republican politics now.
Something similar to the purge at TWS happened at Redstate earlier this year when they fired all of their anti-Trump writers in one fell swoop. It wasn't about money. Like many major right-wing websites, Redstate has a bottomless well of money at its disposal via the extremely right-wing Salem Media Group. Salem spent a good part of 2016 pressuring its talent to be more pro-Trump and fired those that refused. You may be noticing a trend here.
There's a difference between healthy debate within a movement about the direction of said movement and what is happening to the right. The left is currently having a vigorous debate between progressives and moderates. Sometimes it gets out of hand (aided by inflammatory propaganda from Russia and the GOP) but the debate itself is legitimate.
That's not what is happening on the right at all. There, the debate is being dictated from the top down. Slowly but surely, only one viewpoint is being allowed to propagate and all other voices are quietly being silenced. Conservatives claim to believe in the marketplace of ideas but in practice, they demand obedience and mindless conformity with all dissent expelled and labeled as heretical.
That's not a political movement. That's a cult.