The Corner

One Of the Great, Enduring, Mysteries of My Job

A reader asks:

Out of all the letters that say in them somewhere “I am/have been a longtime reader of NR/NRO until you did x or wrote y or whatever…”, how many of them do you think are actually longtime readers who were alienated and how many are people who *never* read NR/NRO, but think you will actually care more because they pretend to be?

So transparent these people are. Sheesh.


A real longtime reader.

Me: Sometimes you can tell when readers are just plain lying. “I’ve read your magazine for years, and I have to say National Journal stinks since you neocons took over.” Or: “I’m a lifetime subscriber and it wasn’t until your magazine came out against partial birth abortion that I knew you strayed from real conservatism.”

Other times, it’s quite obvious that readers are telling the truth (and it does lend some heft to their observations, sometimes). And, often, it’s not so clear. The emails I find most amusing, however, are from the people who swear they’ve been reading for years but will never, ever, ever, ever read the magazine or my column or the Corner ever again because of our latest betrayal. Period. Full stop. Then three weeks later they send me an email responding to something I’ve just written cheery as a sunny day.

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