Yesterday, I posted some thoughts on The New Republic’s reboot and its promise to avoid party ideology and partisanship. The new editor-in-chief and publisher, Chris Hughes, wrote: “The journalism in these pages will strive to be free of party ideology or partisan bias, although it will showcase passionate writing and will continue to wrestle with the primary questions about our society.”
Some folks said I was being a little unfair in that Hughes didn’t say the magazine would avoid ideology, he simply said he would avoid partisan bias and party ideology. It’s a fair distinction, though I wasn’t being unfair. My post pretty obviously allowed for that possibility. I simply expressed my doubts that was the case. Nowhere else in his letter to readers does he say the magazine will be liberal, progressive, or otherwise ideological.
But all of this is moot, because I had not read the interview that Hughes and editor Frank Foer had conducted with Obama when I wrote that post yesterday. Now I have. And, while I think there are a few moments where journalism intrudes (thanks mostly to Foer), on the whole this is not the sort of interview one would reasonably expect from a magazine that has just promised — in the very same issue — to be free of party ideology or partisan bias. It’s more like the kind of interview you would expect from a major donor to Barack Obama and former employee of his campaign, who’d been hailed on the cover of Fast Company as the “Kid Who Made Obama President.”
But hey, that’s just the take of a self-described ideologue.