Friday, March 24, 2006

The Economist. Adieu.

Twenty years ago I began my subscription to The Economist. I had my first real job, as an intern (aka "first year resident) in family practice. I could afford The Economist.

The first 10 years were superb. Then things began to slip. There were still some fabulous issues though. Their millenium issue was unequalled. Alas, from 2001 onwards it was downhill all the way. The Economist managed to be shocked by Clinton's extramarital affairs; a bit rich for a magazine better known for its libertarian bent. The US coverage grew, the international coverage shrank, and about four years ago they brought in a total moron as "Lexington".

Now they've made the moron their editor.
Crooked Timber � � White smoke at the Economist

... I have to say that my first reaction is to wonder whether it’s too late to cancel the recent renewal of my Economist subscription. I expect the Economist to be vehemently pro-market, but by reading certain kinds of stories with a skeptical eye, and by skipping past certain others, you can find a lot of value in its pages. It has a clear ideological bias, but it isn’t usually actively dishonest. But Micklethwait, together with his scrofulous sidekick Adrian Wooldridge, was responsible for The Right Nation which is one of the lazier and more dishonest books on American politics that I’ve had the misfortune of reading in the last few years, and for the Lexington column which has shown a pretty reliable track record as a purveyor of Republican talking points. There are still a lot of very good people working for the magazine – but I worry that it’s about to undergo a quite substantial deterioration in intellectual quality.

Update: It’s Micklethwait as expected.
CT is too young to know that today's Economist is a mere shadow of its former self. The deterioration is well underway, and now it's a race to the bottom. Happily, over a period of a few years, I've been preparing myself to say good-bye. I'd decided earlier this year not to renew, but I was waiting for the editorial announcement before ordering my alternatives. I will substitute The Atlantic and Scientific American for The Economist. Newsweek has been doing well lately, I'll start reading that online.

Good-bye, The Economist. You were great once, but you have gone the way of all things.

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