TNR has a new blog staffed by Jim Manzi and Michael Kazin intent on critiquing TNR content from the right and the left. Yglesias worries about "punch-pulling" and “commenting on the not-comment-worthy.” Chait defends the project:
The point is to give our readers the benefit of smart rebuttals, and in turn to force our writers to operate under the discipline of knowing that we can't offer a poorly-constructed argument without risking this being pointed out to our readers. That's a different kind of discipline than knowing that some other blogger who my audience doesn't read might attack me.
Yglesias returns fire, calling Chait's post "almost self-refuting." It seems to me that a blog best critiques itself by airing dissent and pushback from readers and other bloggers, rather than creating some kind of internal mechanism for critiques. The latter does seem to me to reflect an old media mindset - as if online magazines can actually function as magazines in the way that print magazines do. I've long believed this is silly - because every page on the Internet is as accessible as every other page - but no one anywhere in the legacy media seems to get it yet. They keep trying to replicate the magazine model online - like trying to make counter-insurgency work in Afghanistan. It's all they know how to do. So they do it.
I guess it's understandable because, like the record companies and the publishing houses, they don't want to admit that their gig is up and their concept of a magazine is essentially defunct. You can't really blame them for that, can you?