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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The most insane edition of Newsweek ever?

Unlike the dismal Economist, Newsweek magazine does not claim to be a free market supporting publication.

Henry Hazlitt stopped writing for Newsweek back in 1966 and his replacement, as a free market voice, Milton Friedman was fired (asked to stop writing for the magazine – which is being ‘fired’ as far as I am concerned) many years ago – which is the reason I stopped subscribing to Newsweek, which I had done as a youngster.

In recent years Newsweek magazine has been fairly openly socialist (although it does not formally admit this). So why am I bothering to write a post about the publication? I am doing so because I have just seen perhaps the most insane edition of Newsweek that I have seen – not just ‘leftwing’, or whatever, but an edition that just makes no sense, whether from a socialist or any other point of view. Makes no sense as in ‘senseless’ – insane.

The front cover of the edition has the headline ‘Capitalist Manifesto‘ and this article is odd enough – page after page of standard statist stuff (supporting the bank bailouts and so on) written by one Newsweek‘s high ups. Why the high up is being given about half the magazine for his statist musings (rather than doing his job of editing the articles of real writers) is not explained – and the title of ‘Capitalist Manifesto’, for standard statism that one could hear and see on the BBC or American ‘mainstream’ broadcasters any day of the week, is also not explained.

However, this is by no means the most odd article.

There is also an article about a group of ‘rebels’ who are out to “save capitalism” from President Barack Obama. I was astonished to see such an article in the ‘mainstream media’ (especially in Newsweek) and read it. That is when the utter insanity of this edition of Newsweek hit me.

The ‘rebels’ are actually Democrats (and one is Bernard Sanders, the openly Socialist Senator from Vermont) who are “saving capitalism” by “opposing” Barack Obama (in reality they are all strong supporters of Barack Obama) who they fear is “too soft on Wall Street”.

So capitalism is to be “saved” by even more statism than there is already. People like Senator Sanders of Vermont are interested in “saving” capitalism (which it has been their life long dream to destroy) and they are “rebels” against the (life long far leftist with Marxist background, whom they all really support) Barack Obama, who is too free market – in much the way Lenin or Mussolini were too free market I guess.

After I put my head back together (it had exploded), I tried to make some sense of this article. The only thing I can come up with is it is some sort of cover for the new regulations announced by President Barack Obama. By saying they are not enough (selling out to Wall Street and so on) and pointing at ‘rebels’ (i.e. pro Obama fanatics) who are out to “save capitalism” (i.e. are determined to utterly destroy what is left of the free market), life long far leftist Barack Obama can be presented as a ‘moderate’.

Also the real causes of the present crises (the endless increases in the credit money supply by the Federal Reserve system and the wildly harmful “affordable housing policy” pushed by Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Barack Obama and the rest via Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and so on) can be hidden by lies about the “deregulated” (!) financial system.

However, this explanation is rather complex and does not really convince me. A more simple explanation is that the people over at Newsweek have just finally gone totally insane.

21 comments to The most insane edition of Newsweek ever?

  • zevatron

    Time and Newsweek are very very poor, lacking quantity and quality of news content. This is especially apparent when one compares them to The Economist (even before taking into account the political and philosophical leanings of the respective weeklies).

  • Alisa

    Zevatron: you must be new here…tell him, Paul:-)

  • mike

    “This is especially apparent when one compares them to The Economist.”

    I’ve never tried Newsweek, but even the Economist isn’t quite as comfortable as Andrex.

  • Subotai Bahadur


    You may have missed it, but Newsweek changed its format immediately after the election. Their editor literally said that their job is not now to do “news”, but rather to be a journal of political commentary. He claims to aspire to being an American version of the Economist.

    Aside from the first post-election cover story being entitled, “We are all Socialists now!”; his orientation is proven by his changes. They cut the size, dropped thousands of subscribers, raised the price, and deliberately spurned readers more conservative than Trotsky. Through some miracle of Leftist economics, this is supposed to lead to financial success.

    Their actual plan is probably to await getting a permanent subsidy from the Federal Ministry of Enlightenment. Actually, that plan is almost a sure thing for all of our MSM.

    Subotai Bahadur

  • Laird

    Last month Iowahawk explained(Link) the metamorphasis of Newsweek. It’s a hoot.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Alisa I have often attacked the Economist – but at least I understand the articles, it is just that I do not agree with a lot of them (the Economist supports the Welfare State, the bank and other corporate bailouts and so on).

    What really knocked me sideways about Newsweek was that the articles made no sense (they were senseless) – even from a socialist point of view – indeed from any point of view.

    One does not declare that fanatical supporters of Barack Obama are “rebels” against him.

    And one does not declare that life long enemies of capitalism (such as Barack Obama and the various other people the article named) are out to “save capitalism” and are somehow in two rival camps when they are in the same camp.

    Well one can declare all of the above – but only in the same way that some people declare “I am a camel, a camel made of glass – see how I hop to Pluto”.

    That is not the sort of thing finds in the Economist.

    Of course in the past Newsweek has declared that Paul Krugman was “Obama’s leading critic” (some sort of Stalin versus Trotsky dispute – of no interest to people outside the left). And named as “the man who predicted the bust” not any of the Austrian School economists who actually did predict it (due to their observation of the increase in the credit money supply by the Federal Reserve and the antics of the “affordable housing policy”) – but, instead, some leftist who wants even more statism.

    However, this issue of Newsweek goes beyond all that – way beyond it, deep into the land of the fairy folk.

    The question is does the Washington Post group want to continue to pick up the losses for this sillyness.

    Perhaps they are counting on the recent order from the Obama Administration that top government people will not appear for questioning on media outlets that do not slavishly support his regime (the first President in modern times to do this).

    For example, it does not matter that Fox News contines many Democrats, indeed many Obama supporters, the fact remains that some leading Fox News people pose hard questions about the policies of the Administration – so it must be blanked out.

    Do not worry Newsweek will be the opposition – with Paul Krugman, and the “rebels” in Congres and so on.

    The opposition to the left will be the left – that is the vision.

    A vision that is both evil and insane (mad and bad) – but which may come to pass. After all it has long been the dream of the education system people.

  • Paul Marks

    By the way Newsweek did produce an “arugment” supposedly proving that the “rebels” in Congress were out to “save capitalism”.

    One of the so called rebels was a rich businesswomen – i.e. the standard Marxist mistake (“mistake” is the polite word) of confusing a rich businessperson (“a capitalist”) with a supporter of the free market (“capitalism”).

    Almost needless to say, many of the far left (the biggest haters of the free market whether one chooses to call it “capitalism” or not) have been and are very rich.

  • Al Williams

    magazines are last week’s news- they’re totaly irrelevant in today’s world.

  • K

    I think Subotal made a good comment.

    They are looking ahead to subsidies for the media and staying employed themselves. Perhaps not explicitly or consciously; we all like our base motives to remain unexamined while our conscious thoughts rationalize and justify our behavior.

    Print journalism is going nowhere. And the folks at NewsWeek now realize they can’t sell anything to the more conservative no matter what they print.

    They can’t get much more readership from the left either but at least they may retain a critical mass.

    I expect the left in the US to dominate for over a decade. And the mad ideas will keep coming. That is just the way I see it.

    The employee of NewsWeek – better called NewSpeak – who hopes to stay there or move up elsewhere is well advised to kiss the behind of the regime.

  • Paul Marks

    The left has at least one great weakness – economic law.

    Interventionism makes worse the very things it claims to make better.

  • chip

    Newsweek did a typically sloppy-sneery piece on Ray Kurzweil a while back. Actually, if you read Kurzweil’s response here (http://www.singularity.com/Newsweek/) it seems Newsweek simply lied in some of their claims.

  • Bob

    The number one book here–Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny– has a subtitle—A Conservative Manifesto.
    Newsweek’s just tryig to confuse the kids.

  • mac

    “the folks at NewsWeek now realize they can’t sell anything to the more conservative no matter what they print. ”

    Exactly. Not only could they not SELL it, they could not give it away. I wouldn’t allow that toxic waste in my home, not even to wrap fish or line a bird cage.

    One of my friends has a daughter that worked for Newsweek. He and his wife told me that she became so enamored of the left that they could no longer discuss politics with her because they were afraid they would be forbidden access to their grandchildren.

    Lucky for them she was recently laid off.

  • Vercingetorix

    Tigerbeat magazine is a more serious magazine than either Newsweek or Time. Seriously, you can pick up free pamphlets from street corner preachers with better writing and more facts than in Newsweek.

  • lucklucky

    How is it going Business Week? In 2001-2 was going downhill already i suspect it can only be worse.

  • Russ Goble

    George Orwell would be proud. Or something.

  • Paul, I’m astonished every day to see how confused most people seem to be about everything. I got an e-mail from a reader of my blog once proudly informing me that he’s a “Marxist libertarian.” I know as an absolute certainty that at least one of us was very confused!

  • I agree with Al Williams above, and the other poster re the need for state subsidies for mags like Time and Newspeak to keep afloat.

    Both are doomed and redundant. Time is now a shadow of what it was, both in quality and quantity. I recently cancelled my subscription, and think that it’s largely kept afloat by dentists. Do they get a special deal on it I wonder ?

  • Do they get a special deal on it I wonder ?

    Sort of. I think most of them buy their subscriptions in school fundraising drives (from neighborhood kids or kids of relatives, etc.) – and most of those offer pretty decent discounts, yeah.

  • K

    Magazines usually lose money on subscriptions. The trick is to lose very little.

    In any magazine you will find subscription cards offering at least 50% off the cover price. And discounts of 80% or more are not unusual.

    The economics works like this: the higher the paid circulation the higher your advertising rates and revenue. The post office delivers periodicals for almost nothing. And the marginal cost of printing one more copy is zilch.

    News stand sales are the money maker. Usually the buyer is bored and buying something to read on a plane, etc. A magazine may receive 50% of the cover price.

  • I wouldnt pick up a copy of Newsweek if it were the only reading material in a doctor’s office with a 4-hour wait.