Do the Right Thing

by Jack Fowler

Help us remain profoundly consequential.

It’s fair to say the fact that you’re reading this means you have a particular interest in, concern about, or love for NRO. Could be small, could be big, but regardless — it’s there.

And that’s a good thing. If nothing else, it’s a sign of your innate decency.

You see, the fact is, there are many NRO fans, some who come here hundreds of times a month, who are essentially drive-by readers, commentary sponges, information freeloaders. Sure, they love what NRO does, but as for the institution itself, well . . . 

But that’s not you. Why? Because you see NRO as something more than a mere locus of excellent journalism. You see NRO as the central part of the conservative movement. You see NRO as a cause — a cause of which you are a part.

A cause that merits your support.

If you had a week, I could make the case for supporting us by delineating NR’s 57 action-packed, history-changing years of founding, forming, and leading the conservative movement. I could tell you about its impact — which is precisely what NRO readers would sorely miss if this institution ever vanished.

But I’ll stick to just some of NRO’s current achievements — the very things that come about because of the support of people such as yourself.

Take this year’s mega Second Amendment fights. Here’s what NRA president David Keene has to say about NRO’s reporting, analysis, and editorializing:

I can say without fear of contradiction that the best in-depth, factual coverage and analysis of the continuing war on the Second Amendment and firearms ownership is to be found in NR, NRO, and the Corner. I relied on what appeared there because I knew I could!

About certain writers Dave says: “Rich, Kevin Williamson, and Charlie Cooke are better than good!”

Darn tootin’, Dave. The man knows profound impact when he sees it.

Or take the IRS scandals. We’re proud to boast that NRO media editor Eliana Johnson has emerged as the premier journalist in America covering the affair. We’ve lost count of how many stories she has broken. Yeah, she deserves a Pulitzer, but, prizes shmizes: What really matters is that she has had a huge impact. She has shaped the national story.

If you’re a committed conservative, I encourage you to support NRO. Not to pay our lingering bills or to underwrite Jonah’s hefty afternoon-snack benefits, but to help us remain profoundly consequential.

Look at the great D.C. bureau we have, with an expanded reporting staff of Costa, Stiles, Trinko, Strong, and Woodruff. Your support of NRO — or, if you’ve never sent a sawbuck our way, the generosity of other kind souls who realize how important it is to underwrite excellent conservative journalism — has made that happen.

We need a lot more of that. Support, that is. If only because America needs a lot more of what NRO has to offer.

Why you? Why not? Again, that you’re reading this means you’re wired to know better, and to act accordingly. Face it — it’s in your DNA! You’re the guy at the open bar who leaves a fiver on the counter. You’re the lady who returns to the Salvation Army Santa to give an extra dollar.

What you do know is that most worthwhile things don’t happen by magic. They happen because good people do the right thing.

The right thing here is to help NRO. Backed by no gaggle of hedge-fund benefactors or klutch of industry widows, recipients of no monumental estates, winners of no Powerball jackpots, we here at NR find that we must instead rely on decent people to keep the lights lit and the mission expanding.

Can we rely on you? Right now? Right here? Would you find it in yourself to make a contribution so we can (1) Do what we do, and (2) Do more of it?

Let me clue you in on a little secret. Getting help from web denizens (yourself and a handful of others excepted) is a difficult mission. Here on Al Gore’s invention, the vast majority of folks have a major case of The Entitlements. That’s the expectation that all information must be provided for free and I’ll rot before I give you a thin dime to compensate for the hundreds of hours I spend on your site.

It’s quite serious. And sometimes gets a little personal. Fregsample: My dear (very conservative) pal was a National Review magazine subscriber — or so I thought. While we were discussing a recent article, he sheepishly interrupted me and fessed up: “I stopped subscribing a couple of years ago.”

Oh, I must have looked a little hurt. “But I go to NRO four or five times a day,” he said to assure me of his but-I-still-luv-ya attitude.

I don’t know why, but I replied: “So then you must have contributed when we had our webathon last month. You know, all this content you are devouring four or five times a day doesn’t happen by magic.”

And he looked at me and said, very cold, very matter-of-fact: “I will never pay for a thing online.”

Me: “So how are we supposed to provide NRO’s journalism if you won’t pay for it or help support it?”

Him: “That’s your problem.”

And it is. My pal was a perfect spokesman for about 99.9 percent of web users. He was telling the (maddening!) truth, about their attitude, about the widespread expectation that all things viewed on a PC, laptop, or mobile device must come at no cost — not directly, and not by contributions.

Well, this is the reality we face. As we try to deal with it, and figure out how to (I hate the word) “monetize” the website, we nevertheless must reach out to those of you not yet infected with The Entitlement.

NR and NRO matter. Tremendously. Not only because of what we publish but because many good people have, over the decades, seen fit to help us keep this institution surviving. And growing. And mattering. They see us as more than a magazine or a website. They see us as a cause.

You see us as a cause. So help. Right now. Here.

Rich, Kevin, Charlie, Eliana, Bob, Andrew, Jonathan, Kate, Betsy, Jonah, his office pantry, and so many more (such as Andy McCarthy, Mark Steyn, VDH, Jay Nordlinger, K-Lo, Geraghty . . . ) are counting on you. God bless!

— Jack Fowler is the publisher of National Review.

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