The New Republic is 100 years old, but it may be dead. TNR alum Dana Milbank says Chris Hughes, who bought the magazine at age 28, killed it.

“Hughes is no [Walter] Lippmann,” Milbank writes. “He’s a callow man who accidentally became rich. …”

When he bought the magazine in 2012 at the age of 28, the Facebook co-founder pledged to “double down” on “in-depth, rigorous reporting,” telling NPR that “the demand for long-form quality journalism is strong in our country.”

But after just two years, Hughes decided that saving long-form journalism was just too hard. He declared that the 100-year-old journal of opinion would become a technology company, and he brought in a new CEO who literally proposed that writers team up with engineers to make “widgets” for TNR’s website.

Hughes’ primary sin, in the eyes of Milbank, isn’t that he wanted the media property to make money, or that he was too focused on technology. The problem, it seems, is that the former Facebook millionaire treated a century-old publication like a plaything, to be tossed when he got bored with it.

After firing his top editor without actually firing him, and bringing in an ex-Gawker editor to run the show, the magazine went into mutiny and was forced to suspend publication. Milbank says it needn’t bother starting up again.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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