I'd been told this privately, but it's now public: Marty Peretz no longer has any ownership of The New Republic. From my dealings with CanWest with respect to this blog, they certainly seem like consummate professionals - which is what TNR badly needs. The new design is very classy (and similar to one I tried and failed to accomplish while I was editor). I have no idea whether Marty's loss of ownership means a different ideological and political direction for TNR. But Frank Foer says he wants to "take it very distinctly in a different kind of direction." I take that to mean: more liberal and more eclectic. It's good for the magazine, given its current financial state.
But Marty's departure is worth noting in its own right. When he took over TNR, it was a moribund vessel for brain-dead Great Society liberalism. He forced it to grapple with new realities, new ideas, new ideologies. He gave many people their first start in journalism: Mike Kinsley, Rick Hertzberg, Leon Wieseltier, Jeffrey Rosen, Jake Weisberg, among them, and found and groomed dozens of other talents, taking risks others wouldn't, and sending an electrical charge through the magazine's corridors. Yes, there were many fights and tantrums and dramas. Every good magazine that is intellectually alive should have them. Not every publisher, owner, and editor-in-chief lets them spiral out of control or takes sides in them. That's what made Marty different, and what made his stewardship of TNR so memorable. He made a lot of enemies, many of them the right ones. He made mistakes. But he also made TNR what it has been: a unique, precious voice of querulous liberalism, worth more in an afternoon than all the hoots and hurrahs of the netroots of the last few years. I'll always, always, be grateful for the chance he gave me, and for the magazine he truly reinvented.