Phil Anschutz and Media DC Are About to Make a Big Mistake

They own the publication that owns the most interesting conversation in the run up to 2020.

It is, of course, none of my business. But word is coming that Phil Anschutz's Media DC is more likely than not about to wind down the Weekly Standard because of the publication's perceived anti-Trump bent. Frankly, I think this reputation has more to do with Bill Kristol, including his opposition to Brett Kavanaugh, than to anything at the Standard.

Under Steve Hayes's leadership as editor, the Weekly Standard has generated original reporting, solid profiles of candidates, become a must follow site related to polling trends, developed some podcasts that have attracted large followings, and otherwise distinguished itself as a Trump skeptical right-of-center publication at a time that this very conversation is about to become the most important conversation in America. On top of that, Hayes has fought off the pixel pirates who want to crap up sites with banner ads, pop up ads, and garbage placements of unrelated things. The Weekly Standard's redesign was a great success.

Anschutz has that conversation generator right now and, while I am sure the Washington Examiner will be able to capture the conversation to an extent given its awesome team, the Weekly Standard owns this conversation.

Bill Kristol may be perceived as anti-Trump, and I think that is a fair characterization, but under Hayes's leadership, the Weekly Standard has captured a plethora of voices across the center-right. There are pro-Trump voices, anti-Trump voices, and pro-Trump policy voices who are not fans of Trump even if they have or might now vote for him. They all exist in that publication and through its web presences.

Over the next two years, the GOP is going to have some serious conversations about the future of the party while the conservative movement has the same discussions about the future of the movement. I hope to engage in those conversations here. But the Weekly Standard probably even more so than National Review really owns this space. In particular, its most prominent voices are people who never gave into Trumpism, but have fairly applauded much of what the White House has done. That is a large segment of the Republican base and they value the honest brokerage that is the Weekly Standard.

There will probably be at least two well funded challengers to the President in 2020. I would expect the Weekly Standard would view them as skeptically as Trump, but would be willing to fully explore the contours of the current GOP and where it goes beyond Trump. It has established itself as such an honest broker that it is even a Facebook partner in dealing with fake news, much to the chagrin of the left.

And Phil Anschutz has this property. Perhaps Media DC should do a better job of distancing the Weekly Standard from Bill Kristol, but it is quite simply inarguable that Steve Hayes has steered the ship in the right direction for prime influence in 2020 and Anschutz would be nuts to scuttle that.

Full disclosure: I really like Bill Kristol, but I really disagree with the direction he has taken on Trump even if I'm not a fan of Trump's myself, and I do think Bill's hostility to all things Trump has hurt the Weekly Standard. The staff has a tremendous amount of loyalty to Bill and would never want to distance themselves from him because he was an outstanding and loyal boss.

Comments
No. 1-8
Dr. Maturin
Dr. Maturin

Too bad. I try to read news/opinion from both sides of the aisle, without wandering too far into the crazy partisan weeds. Weekly Standard was one of the sites I visited on the right. I particularly appreciated their trying to debunk fake news.

Ron Black
Ron Black

The WS is another one of these publications in "no man's land" between absolute allegiance to Trump and centrist/liberal. There's no money in no man's land...

DavidMKern
DavidMKern

Back in the 90’s, I used to watch “This Week With David Brinkley,” which had George Will and Bill Kristol as the conservative voices. However, Will and Kristol went over to the dark-side of the “Never Trump” movement and they can find nothing of value in any of Trump’s political policies. The would have preferred to elect Hillary as President.

Trump is certainly not an ideological conservative, but the policies he campaigned on were arguably more conservative than many of his Republican rivals (e.g. Kasich, Pataki, Christie, Santorum, Gilmore, Graham). Similarly, Trump’s campaign promises were arguably more conservative than the last four Republican nominees (Romney, McCain, Bush-43, Dole, Bush-41).

Nevertheless, the Weekly Standard and National Review came out in full force against Trump, despite fully supporting previous nominees who were less conservative than Trump. Like Erick, these sources hate Trump’s use of tariffs as a negotiating strategy and they argue tariffs are never beneficial. But I never see these sources discuss the tariffs that China, the EU and Canada have on US products.

For example, this quote is from the EU’s own TTIP documentation: “Most tariffs will be gone on day one of the agreement because doing so will have few negative effects. Where removing EU customs duties immediately could pose difficulties for EU firms, we want to agree a longer phase-out period to allow firms to adapt. Where they would still face problems, even with longer phase-out periods, we would only partially open our market.”

In other words, the EU is all for no tariffs unless they have a negative impact on EU firms. Furthermore, on July 22, 2018, the Washington Post published an article with this headline: ” No deal: EU resists Trump's zero-tariff trade offer.” In other words, if one truly believes in zero-tariff trade, Trump is far from the only obstacle to an ideal free-trade world.

Trump and Cruz were the last two candidates standing in the Republican primary. These two candidates shared many conservative issues in common: appointing Constitution-Supporting Judges, supporting Pro-Life policies, enforcing Border Control, repealing Obamacare, withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord and the Iranian Nuclear Deal, moving the embassy to Jerusalem, etc.

Similarly, Erick agrees with Trump’s policies on these issues. To his credit, Erick is willing to say so, even though he has significant problems with Trump’s morality, and he literally hates Trump’s trade policies. I like Erick a lot because he is a man of Christian integrity. But I think he fails to recognize that we are not living in an idealized “Adam Smith Free Market World.”

The “Weekly Standard” is on its death bed for a similar reason, i.e. they failed to see that Donald Trump’s goal is to MAGA and not to impress pundits with his elite wisdom and conservative purity. It is proper to debate any and all of Donald Trump’s political policies. But in terms of trade (and other issues), the debates should take into account real world factors and not rely on theories of an idealized world that does not exist.

OffshoreGuy
OffshoreGuy

Why do you really like someone who's sole aim in life is to stir up conflict and trouble and keep the nation in perpetual war? Utter insanity.

Lighteredknot
Lighteredknot

I have voted Repub for POTUS from Goldwater on down. All things considered, I will take a Donald Trump over a Hillary Clinton every day of the week. I had stopped my subscription to Nat'l Review subsequent to Mr. Buckley's death. Stopped my sub to Weekly Standard on Kristol's total Anti-Trump. I was never a conspiracy person, but I do now believe it to be an NWO swamp, and the corruption from the obama admin from CIA, DOJ, FBI, NSA, etc. I believe this group has performed a Coup attempt against DT. Selah