Kathy G is pretty pissed off about how much the New Republic sucks. Matt Zeitlin calls her "hyperbolic," writing, "of all the times to bash TNR, NOW IS NOT THE TIME. They are trying to make a deliberate, concerted move to the left under Frank Foer...Shouldn’t we be welcoming TNR’s turn to the left, instead of looking to the past and their occasional counter intuitive silliness as if we want to hate them?" I think there's something to be said for the fact that TNR very much is moving left, but at the same time I also think it's pretty hard not to be continually upset over the magazine's recent history. I mean, really, her examples are pretty good. If you want the ultimate listing of The Sins of The New Republic, this article is it: enough bigotry, white privilege, male-focused just about everything, and smug counter-intuitivism to make anyone want to shake their heads, not too much mention a remarkably thorough history of supporting any number of bad government policies and opposing any number of good ones.
Zeitlin is right that Republicans are 99% responsible for these things, but TNR in fact is a really, really influential magazine, for just the reasons Kathy G nails: While pointing out some of the good writers and interesting articles that do come from TNR, she writes:
But if you focus on the high points of TNR, you miss the forest for the trees. As a journalistic institution, TNR plays a unique role in the development of policy and politics. Its circulation has always been low (and in recent years has declined drastically), but many of the people who read it are very powerful: media elites, D.C. lobbyists and activists, and policymakers in the White House and the Senate, and on Capitol Hill. If TNR supports a particular policy or idea, that carries serious weight, especially when what it supports is conservative. It enables the right to say, “Even the liberal New Republic endorses X,” and that has tremendous credibility and resonance. It doesn’t matter if 19 out of 20 articles in a given issue are liberal; the one wingnutty one out of the 20 will, by virtue of its setting, be all the more influential.
And that's sort of the dark side, if you will, of the magazine: Despite its degree to which it is continually interesting and worth reading, all too often the higher-ups hire people to write things that really shouldn't be written in any magazine left of The Weekly Standard. And whenever some crazy, wingnut idea gets into the pages of TNR, suddenly it's "bipartisan" or "moderate" instead of just crazy.