He (Jon Meacham, Newsweek’s editor) ignored the truth that the old newsmagazine editors lived by: journalists who write to satisfy people like themselves will soon run out of readers. The magazine that lies dying in Don Graham’s arms violated this rule week by week.
To cite one obvious example: newsweeklies annually marked Christian holidays with a cover story on a religious theme, always respectful and sometimes celebratory in tone. I’m sure it was a strain, an exercise in self-denial; few journalists are religious in any conventional sense. The new Newsweek, by contrast, published holiday issues that any good secular journalist would like to read. One issue near Christmas offered a long and fallacious cover story on “The Religious Case for Gay Marriage.” Easter came and the magazine feted “The End of Christian America.” Pieces like this weren’t so much a challenge to traditionally religious readers as a declaration of war. Why not just put a bullet in the Easter Bunny while you’re at it?
What Newsweek and other magazines of the genre have been doing is putting a bullet in themselves.
Note: Jon Meacham is a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, where I live. Based on what I’ve read in Ferguson’s piece, it only reinforces my conviction that there’s no more insufferable than a white Southern liberal.