Originally published in Extra!, (Sept. 09) the magazine for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.
The Weekly Standard, the country's preeminent neoconservative magazine, was sold to Clarity Media Group, a Denver-based publishing group, for an undisclosed sum in June (Washington Examiner, 6/17/09). Murdoch's unloading of the country's most vigorously pro-war journal marks the end of a particularly sinister and regrettable era in the history of U.S. media.
At a glance, the move may seem unremarkable, given the Standard's relative size. With a circulation of about 65,000 and annual losses estimated from $1 million (New Yorker, 10/16/06) to $5 million (Forbes, 6/29/09), the Standard represented only a tiny fraction of Murdoch's vast media empire. Murdoch's News Corporation, one of the largest media conglomerates in the world, took in nearly $33 billion in revenue in 2008 from properties in virtually every sector of the media, including such giants as Fox News Channel, Dow Jones, HarperCollins and MySpace, as well as hundreds of newspapers and television stations across the world.
While it yielded no financial gain for Murdoch and News Corp shareholders, for a time the Standard was arguably the most effective magazine in the nation in terms of its influence on policy. Edited by GOP political operative and neoconservative extraordinaire William Kristol, it had the eyes and ears of prominent members of the new Bush administration, Department of Defense and Congress who drastically escalated the United States' imperial ambitions. Perhaps no publication was as active or as successful in shaping the propaganda campaign that would enable this remarkable foreign policy transformation to take place.
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