Hiring of 'Screw Them' Kos Unlikely to Reverse Newsweek's Decline

It seems appropriate that the person who wrote the following will now be writing for Newsweek (HT to NB's John Stephenson, who posted on this Tuesday evening):

KosScrewThem040104

Yes, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga ("Kos") apologized the next day; you can decide for yourself whether it suffices.

Assuming he's really sorry, it's odd that, unlike on the rest the site, there is no direct working link to the "screw them" comment (try the supposedly correct comment link, and you'll be taken to the front page; this link will get you to the top of that post's comments; scroll down about halfway to see the one pictured above).

But I'm not here to criticize Kos. He is what he is, and, other than link-diverting childishness just illustrated, Newsweek presumably knows what it's getting into -- though given the recent Cleveland Plain Dealer-Wide Open Blog brouhaha (HT Writes Like She Talks), one can't be too sure. After all, AARP was apparently unaware of the above quote in early 2005, when it briefly linked to Kos from a now-dormant blog dedicated to derailing Social Security reform, and quietly removed the link about a week after apparently receiving quite a few complaints.

I simply want to point out that Newsweek's hiring of an experienced and I-assume-still-working political operative who has made frequent monetary and priceless in-kind contributions to Democratic politicians is consistent with its past decades of negligent and reckless left-biased reporting:

  • They'll deny it 'til the cows come home, but Newsweek was going to bury the Monica Lewinsky story in early 1998 until Matt Drudge forced it out into the open (6th paragraph) -- just as the magazine's affiliated company, the Washington Post, buried a story about Bill Clinton's sexual harassment of Paula Jones by the same reporter in 1994.
  • Though it had a lot of Old Media company, the magazine failed to report on the credible rape charges leveled by Juannita Broadderick during the Clinton impeachment period.
  • Then there's the Quran flushing story in 2005 that Newsweek had to retract -- but not before people died in rioting over the false story.

Newsweek's mission for oh-so-many years, as is the case with so many other Old Media publications, has been to slant its reporting and influence readers with with liberal bias in hopes of influencing election results. Evan Thomas once infamously said as much during the 2004 election campaign:

Let's talk a little media bias here. The media, I think, wants Kerry to win. . . . They're going to portray Kerry and Edwards as being young and dynamic and optimistic and there's going to be this glow about them . . . that's going to be worth maybe 15 points.

The Kos hiring is just the latest attempt to make sure the magazine holds up its share of Old Media's built-in 15-point spread in 2008; perhaps New Media will take that spread down a few points this time around.

Newsweek has been saying "screw them" to readers who want fair and balanced coverage for as long as I can remember. The news-consuming public has been saying "screw them" right back:

NewsweekCirc1987to2006

The audience news for Newsweek appears to be on a similar path. Again, the increase was very small, to 3.118 million in 2006 from 3.117 million the year before ..... that total, was the second lowest circulation number recorded for the magazine in the time for which we have data – 2005 was the lowest.

The magazine has lost just under 10% of its readership since its Lewinsky-induced 1998 peak of 3.437 million, while the country's population has increased by about 10%.

Although Newsweek, at least according to Kos, is hiring a conservative to counter him, there is virtually no chance that the person chosen will be as blindly partisan as he. Kos has said on several occasions that policy bores him, and that he only cares about winning. I guess we'll have to wait and see who the actual conservative choice is, but it seems to me that the only way to "balance" someone with Markos's mindset would to wake Machiavelli from the dead, and then hope he's sensible and a conservative (though I repeat myself).

Regardless, the Kos hiring more firmly plants the magazine on far-left and likely less financially fruitful ground.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.