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The Weekly Standard, bulwark for anti-Trump conservatism, to close

Launched in 1995 as a “redoubt of neoconservatism,” the magazine played an influential role in the George W. Bush White House.
Image: William Kristol
The Weekly Standard founder William Kristol leads a discussion at the National Press Club on Oct. 3, 2011 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

The Weekly Standard, a magazine that was launched in 1995 as a “redoubt of neoconservatism,” played an influential role in the George W. Bush White House, and went on to serve as a rare bulwark for anti-Trump Republicans, will close after 23 years, its owners said Friday.

“All good things come to an end. And so, after 23 years, does The Weekly Standard,” Bill Kristol, who co-founded the Standard with Fred Barnes and now serves as its editor-at-large, tweeted Friday. “I want to express my gratitude to our readers and my admiration for my colleagues. We worked hard to put out a quality magazine, and we had a good time doing so. And we have much more to do. Onward!”

The magazine was owned by billionaire conservative Philip Anschutz through his holding company, Clarity Media Group. Anschutz had considered selling the Standard but ultimately decided to shutter it. Meanwhile, Clarity is expanding the Washington Examiner, which has a less storied history and has also been less critical of President Donald Trump.

Other members of the Weekly Standard family expressed frustration, including contributing editor John Podhoretz, who lambasted Anschutz for refusing to entertain offers that would have kept the magazine alive in order to harvest its audience for the Examiner.

“The cessation of the Standard is an intellectual and political crime,” he wrote.

The magazine will publish its final issue on Dec. 17.

The sudden shuttering of the Standard is an ignominious ending for a magazine that launched with a powerhouse of prominent conservatives on its masthead, including Kristol, Barnes, Podhoretz, David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer, Robert Kagan, Christopher Caldwell and David Frum.

In a note to staff, editor-in-chief Stephen Hayes said it was “a volatile time in American journalism and politics,” and praised the magazine for staying true to its principles even as other media organizations shifted with political and economic winds.

“Many media outlets have responded to the challenges of the moment by prioritizing affirmation over information, giving into the pull of polarization and the lure of clickbait,” Hayes wrote. “I’m proud that we’ve remained both conservative and independent, providing substantive reporting and analysis based on facts, logic and reason.”