A Simple Request

The Atlantic has done me the honor of putting my open letter to George W. Bush on torture on the cover. Commercially, this is not exactly an easy call (although the magazine did alternate a few newsstand editions with a more sellable cover of Jon Stewart). But the magazine 200910_toc believes the case I'm making - that someone at some point needs to take full responsibility for the torture and abuse era of 2002 - 2009 - is worth putting front and center. It's a slightly different tack than I have taken in the past - because all the other options in front of us are so deeply divisive.

The MSM has largely moved on from this issue. The Atlantic hasn't, because it's one of the few magazines left that makes major editorial decisions that may not make sense commercially. In this economic climate, especially with old media in crisis, a decision like that is understandably making some general interest magazines an endangered species.

You can read the essay online here for free, of course. But what I'd ask - and no one at the Atlantic has put me up to this - is something else. If you appreciate the magazine's decision to sail into the commercial winds on this subject, and to use the word "torture" to describe what was done on its cover, one way you can show that appreciation is by subscribing or picking up a copy at the newsstands. That helps remind editors in the fast-shrinking world of magazines that ballsy, public interested decisions need not be commercially disastrous.

So please, if you haven't already, subscribe. It's only $14.95 for a year - ten issues for the price of eight.

The current issue has a roster of classic Atlantic writers: Mark Bowden on the politicization of journalism, Bob Kaplan on why he loves al-Jazeera, Ron Brownstein on California's innovative energy policy, James Parker on Ricky Gervais, Ben Schwarz on the middle class and recessions, Megan McArdle on Goldman, Jim Fallows on Americans in China, and your monthly dose of Hitchens - this time attacking The Daily Show as unfunny. Jeffrey Goldberg also tackles the critical question of what to do when your dad is buying pot from your friends.

I love this magazine, and its editorial integrity, and want it to continue to flourish in an increasingly beleaguered industry. If you do too, please subscribe.