We’re a Joint Venture

by Rich Lowry

Please, keep it going.

The amazing thing about these NRO fundraising drives is that, at the end of the day, you always respond.

I know for many of you they are background noise at best and an annoyance or an affront at worst. But for others, they are a call to chip in whatever they can, from $5 to $5,000, and support our joint venture known as National Review.

This drive was a little slow kicking in, but, as ever, the donations have steadily built until we are in our accustomed position of feeling boundless gratitude for the generosity and fellowship of our readers.

If you have been around these parts for a while, you have probably heard some version of the story of how very early on Bill Buckley realized that NR couldn’t possibly break even, and he was assured, not to worry, our readers wouldn’t let us go out of business. So it has been for more than five decades — and so it is now.

If you haven’t yet contributed, though, now is your chance.

When making these pitches, I usually quote WFB’s comment that National Review exists to make a point, not a profit. If he had wanted to make a profit, he would have founded Vogue, instead. That’s because small magazines of opinion are not alluring to advertisers, don’t garner a mass audience almost by definition, and have never been profitable — right, left, or center. 

So if the balance sheet is your measure, we are a rank failure and always have been: National Review — failing to close its operating deficit for nearly 60 years! Of course, we find another measure much more meaningful: National Review fighting the Left; defending American principles; representing a literate, witty conservatism; educating, confounding, outraging, and inspiring for nearly 60 years.

NRO is another expression in a different medium of what we’ve been doing in print since 1955. We try to give you a little bit of everything: instant analysis, internal debate, political reporting, and investigative digging. And on top of it all, excellent writing and a few laughs. 

When a cause important to American liberty is unpopular among the great and good, like opposition to gun control, we champion it with gusto. When there’s a scandal, like the IRS targeting, that Democrats attempt to obfuscate, we dig in. When a big news event breaks, we get the best policy experts writing on it immediately. When an issue divides conservatives, we fight it out in real time. When the media is neglecting a story, like the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, we cover it extensively. When justice demands that we simply refuse to let an issue go, as with the rights of the unborn, we don’t.

If all this could be done for free, we’d gladly do it. But we have to pay for writers, for bandwidth, for tech support, and occasionally as you known if you have been following our unpleasantness with Michael Mann and Cory Booker — for lawyers. We have a diligent business and advertising staff doing all it can to get compensating revenue, but it’s never quite enough.

That’s where you come in, and always have. If you have helped, a million thanks. If you come here often and like what you see, please consider doing what you can, too. We are grateful for literally every penny. Let’s keep this glorious joint venture going. Heaven knows, we don’t lack for things to stand athwart.

— Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review.

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