I don’t mean to dwell on this subject, but I continue to worry about both Phil Anschutz and the Weekly Standard. I worry about the Standard because it is a wonderful braintrust of right-of-center talent that covers not just politics and news, but culture so well.
I worry about Phil Anschutz because I’ve always viewed him as a good caretaker of conservatism and scuttling the Weekly Standard would make him a bad caretaker of conservative. I just cannot imagine the man who so tenderly brought Narnia to the screen to delight both my kids and me, would scrap an institution like the Standard for any reason. I really believe it is not really a purge of anti-Trump sentiment driving this, but business machinations.
Regardless of the machinations, read this investigative piece in the Obama Administration by Steve Hayes, who is now the editor. Just read it. Phil Anschutz has that editor and writer on his payroll. He’d be a terrible steward of such a great institution to let Steve Hayes go.
Check out this piece on Cory Booker from just last week. For all the accusations about the Weekly Standard being “Never Trump,” it is actually never progressive. And it has a way of writing deeply and insightfully about progressivism and the candidates who will wave the progressive flag that one rarely gets elsewhere. Does Anschutz really want to end that?
Or read this captivating piece on Christopher Tolkien from Thanksgiving. The Weekly Standard has cornered the market on smart cultural pieces like this. These are the same sorts of smart cultural pieces that Anschutz funded on the screen with Walden Media.
Phil Anschutz has designs on starting a new magazine with the Washington Examiner. I think he should. I think there is room for another. But he already has the market cornered on substantive policy and non-Trump conservatism and culture with a pre-existing well oiled machine. If anything, the economies of scale shared within MediaDC as well as two publications competing against each other under one roof will make both institutions prosper and thrive. Having a Seth Mandel led Washington Examiner effort and a Steve Hayes led Weekly Standard under the same roof would catapult Anschutz and his MediaDC property into the forefront of conservative thought leadership circles.
The Weekly Standard is a multi-decade conservative institution of deep thought and care not just of policy, but of culture. Phil Anschutz signed on to be its caretaker and I think he would be doing both himself and conservatism a real disservice by scrapping it for parts.
I hope he considers this and I hope MediaDC doesn’t scrap the Weekly Standard. If they wish to place it in the hands of some other caretaker, so be it. But take care to let it go somewhere other than the dustbin of history.