02 Mar 2011

Demotions on the Left

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When the American left needs to vent its rage at its reactionary opposition at the loudest volume and in the shrillest tones, when anything resembling rational debate simply will not do, when it’s time for a real old-fashioned over-the-top hair-pulling, fingernail scratching attack, the progressive camp turns to its fattest and flittiest combatants: Frank Rich and Andrew Sullivan.

Alas! America must really be turning to the right. Despite both men’s admirable records at releasing passion and their unequaled capacity for burying their adversaries in billingsgate, we learned yesterday that both would be moving on from their current well-paying and prestigious positions.

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Frank Rich

Jack Schafer notes that going from the New York Times to New York Magazine is not a step up the ladder of success.

Let me see if I’ve got this straight: Frank Rich is leaving a weekly column at the nation’s most important daily newspaper for a monthly column at the second best weekly in the country.

If Rich’s move is about wanting to spend more time with his family, gain greater distance from Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal, free himself to pursue his HBO projects more aggressively, or to work once again with New York Editor Adam Moss, with whom he has a mind-meld, I understand. But unless the deal came with Bloombergian bags of cash, it makes no sense.

I’m not suggesting that Frank Rich will disappear when he departs the Times for New York magazine, but the switch will transform him from the fat man in the biggest room in the oversized mansion of newspaper journalism to just another high-profile scribbler at a magazine. Oh, the New York press release says Rich will be editing a special “section anchored by his essay,” and be commenting on the magazine’s Web site, but it’s a step down. Today, Rich’s column appears in supersized format in the Sunday edition of the New York Times, which has a print circulation of 1.35 million, and more than 34.5 million unique monthly visitors to its Web site, compared to New York magazine’s 405,000 circulation and 8.5 million uniques.

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Andrew Sullivan

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin-hater-extraordinaire Andrew Sullivan is also moving. His Daily Dish is departing from from the prestigious Atlantic blog-site to become part of a shaky start-up web-site operation involving Tina Brown’s Daily Beast joining up with Newsweek. Newsweek recently was sold reputedly for $1 (and the assumption of a ton of debt) by 92-year-old Sidney Harman.

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