Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
The publisher makes his case.


Jack Fowler

So if you haven’t given in response to the appeals of Rich, Jonah, Jay, K-Lo, and VDH, why oh why would you possibly be motivated by me — the miserable publisher, The Suit, He Who Sells Cruises, the T-shirt vendor, the hawker of Queen Zixi of Ix and countless other books, tchotchkes, and Buckley-basement debris — to give to NR?

Good question. And since the odds of my persuading you to toss a coin our way are thinner than Obama’s skin, I guess I’ll just let it fly. You get more with honey than vinegar, the old saying goes, but I am in a vinegary mood. Guess I never got around to reading that Dale Carnegie book. Ah well.

You see, after all of my colleagues’ pleading and asking — every single word of it a sincere attempt to make a meager dent in the seven-figure (without a decimal!) operating deficit incurred in large part because NRO comes with no tollgate — the results are . . . well, they’re miserable.

A nice guy who sent some sawbucks our way called on Monday: “Hey, why don’t you put one of those thermometers on the home page so we can see how the appeal is doing?” I thanked him for his gift, and for taking the time to call, but then admitted that doing such would leave me profoundly embarrassed. Why? Because the mercury would be stuck in Arctic territory. Just 912 of you have responded since we began this effort last week.

Oh, to those of you who have shown your generosity — blessings upon you and all those you hold dear. We are most appreciative. Your kindness is indeed rare.

What’s not rare are the Scroogarian ways — if I may concoct a phrase — of your typical NRO Junkie.

Let’s have some perspective on just what 912 respondents means. I put it to you this way: 912 out of what? Out of the 913,000 folks who visit NRO between 25 to 50 times a month. Out of the additional 724,000 people who hang out at NRO between 51 to 100 times a month. Out of the still additional 600,000 people who keep an NRO IV tube stuck in their virtual arms by visiting our website over 101 times a month.

Think about that: Over 1.6 million people visit NRO at least 25 times a month. We give and give and give, freely — and the junkie takes and takes and takes. And then, when we pass the basket and shake the tin cup, only 912 wonderful, but scarce, souls respond.

Am I stupid? (Don’t answer that question!) I’ve got to be missing something, because it seems more than fair for us to ask those of you who take up residence on NRO to help us pay some bills so we can keep the copy flowing and the bandwidthing. You expect (and get) relentless, fresh, and insightful material when you come to NRO — shouldn’t we in turn expect that some non-microscopic percentage of our junkies will contribute a bit of moolah?

And yet: When millions of you are asked to help NRO fend off the bill collectors, nary a soul — but for 912 righteous dudes and dudestresses — is to be found. NRO meets High Noon.

Sigh. Takes me back 30 years to the Rusty Nail on McLean Avenue (God rest its keg), and that Certain Someone, who, when it was his turn to buy a round, felt Nature’s Call. Without fail.

If you are a Certain Someone, know that this enterprise never has and cannot thrive — never mind exist — without help from, as PBS says, viewers like you. We hold this truth to be self-evident: If you’re getting your conservative jollies here, you really should kick in something, even a measly buck.

Think about the 912 righteous dudes and dudestresses who are subsidizing your pleasures. People like Big Jim A and Janet and Jeff and Houston John and St. Looey Greg and Chaim and TG and the Vero Beachers and 903 more who help foot the bill for you to lounge around NRO and indulge yourself.

Admit it: If the PF Flyer was on the other foot, you’d be hollering, no?


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