Opinion Journal Overview

"Don't be afraid to form your own opinions. Sharing your opinions, not to mention analyses and interpretations, is a way of testing your expertise, putting it to work on behalf of the public interest. "
Victor Navasky May 30, 2006.

In the spirit of our new blog dedicated to opinion journalism, we offer an overview of some of our nation's more relevant journals of ideas. This list excludes popular news magazines, such as Time and Newsweek and instead looks at publications, which are rooted in a specific ideology.

The American Conservative

Arlington, Virginia.

Founded in 2002, The American Conservative is a biweekly, paleoconservative magazine that was founded by Scott McConnell, Pat Buchanan and Taki Theodoracopulos to counter what they considered to be a neoconservative media establishment. The magazine is radically opposed to many staples of modern conservatism, and advocates an isolationist, anti-war foreign policy. From their Web site: “Not all conservatives do agree that the United States should engage—for reasons that hardly touch America’s own vital interests —in an open-ended war against much of the Arab and Muslim world.” They are also deeply opposed to immigration, global free trade and are very critical of modern-day Republicans, including President Bush.

Notable Contributors: Pat Buchanan, Anders Strindberg

Blogs: None

Recommended Article: Whose War?

The American Prospect

Washington D.C.

This is a monthly liberal magazine that was formed in 1990 as a reaction to the rise of conservatism in the 1980s. They tend to tout progressive Democrats, such as Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, but is to the right of periodicals such as The Nation and In These Times. The Magazine is co-edited by Paul Starr, Michael Tomasky and Robert Kuttner, who also writes a weekly column for The Boston Globe. While the magazine usually supports Democrats, they tend to criticize those who are pushing the party away from its populist roots.

Notable Contributors: Robert Kuttner, Charlie Pierce, Ezra Klein, Michael Tomasky.

Blogs: Tapped, Beat the Press, The Horse’s Mouth, and Midterm Madness.

Recommended Article: How the DLC Does it?

The Weekly Standard

Owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, The Weekly Standard is the most influential neoconservative publication in the country. It advocates a robust military and an interventionist foreign policy. Editor William Kristol is also founder of the Project for a New American Century, famous for its letters to President Clinton in 1998, advocating him to use military force in Iraq, which was signed by several people who would eventually end up with senior positions in the Bush Administration including: Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby and John Bolton. The publication is very popular amongst the White House. Vanity Fair reported in 2003 that Cheney’s office received 30 advanced copies in a special delivery. The journal is willing to take stands against other conservatives; they were sharply opposed to President Bush’s Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court, and differ dramatically with House Republicans on immigration arguing that “turning the GOP into an anti-immigration party could dash Republican hopes of becoming a long-term governing party.

Notable Contributors: William Kristol, Fred Barnes, P.J. O’Rourke

Blogs: The Worldwide Standard (A foreign policy blog)

Recommended Articles: Disappointed, Depressed and Demoralized.

The National Review

New York City

William F. Buckley Jr., who is often labeled the "father of modern conservativism," founded The National Review in 1955. Much like Karl Rove years after, Buckley is partially credited with unifying different types of conservatives and attempting to give them a consistant voice. Today, The National Review remains one of the most widely read and respected conservative journals. The magazine and its editors (led today by Rich Lowry) are much less likely than The Weekly Standard or The American Conservative to be harshly critical of the Bush administration and remain one of their biggest supporters.

Notable contributors: Rich Lowry, John Podhoretz

Blog: One of twelve NR blogs available

Recommended article: Hatin' that score

The New Republic

Washington D.C.

Although experiencing a number of changes since its 1917 debut, The New Republic has maintained a unique political philosophy. The long-running and incredibly influential magazine promotes a specific kind of liberalism--free trade, foreign interventionism, triangulation, and recently, opposition to the far-left. Owned by Martin Peretz since 1975, TNR is also extremely pro-Israel. The magazine has gone through a series of scandals that have threatened its credibility. The most well-known of these was the Stephen Glass affair, detailed in the film Shattered Glass. Glass was a staff writer for the magazine until it was discovered that he fabricated, in whole or in part, 27 stories. In 2006, it was discovered that contributor Lee Seigel was posting comments on his own blog under false names, praising himself. How badly these incidents harm the standing of TNR depend on who you ask, but the magazine remains a leading voice in Washington politics.

Notable contributors: Peter Beinart, Matt Groening, Franklin Foer

Blog: The Plank

Recommended article: Irresolution (subscription necessary)

The Nation

The Nation is the longest running weekly publication in the history of the country. It is liberal magazine and, unlike The New Republic, it has a solid antiwar history. It is skeptical of power and will be as harsh towards Democrats as it is towards conservative Republicans. It is proudly anti-imperialist and an advocate for activist change. It has been openly critical of the Bush administration's Iraq and War on Terror policies since the beginning. This stance prompted longtime columnist Christopher Hitchens, a military interventionist and strong supporter of the war on Islamic fundamentalism, to resign from the paper. This move led to an epic back-and-forth between Hitchens and linguist Noam Chomsky.

Notable contributors: Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn, Eric Alterman.

Blog: Several. Here's one.

Recommended article: Chomsky's reply to Hitchens.

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