Heaven knows there are enough online publications in the United States leaning well to the right of the country’s political middle ground without the need for another one. However that has not stopped several figures from the ascendant neo-right in the US contributing to the revival of the controversial news magazine Human Events. During its print heyday in the 1980s the publication became a favoured source of information and inspiration for President Ronald Reagan, despite some moderate members of his administration and party deploring its editorial extremism. However it gradually faded into obscurity in the 1990s and early 2000s, the title passing from owner to owner as its transitory writers and staff laboured in vain to gain some purchase among conservative opinion makers in Washington. This description from Politico provides some insight into the kind of people involved in its relaunch:
A block away from the former Capitol Hill headquarters of Breitbart News — known in Washington as the “Breitbart embassy” — sits a second-floor apartment its occupant calls “the Consulate.”
Here, surrounded by memorabilia of the British empire, two right-wing entrepreneurs — a protege of Steve Bannon’s and a social media activist — are rebooting a dilapidated conservative publication from around a dining room table.
Their efforts to reinvent it as a thriving digital media enterprise driven by “tabloid intellectualism” represent the latest test of whether President Donald Trump’s haphazard insurgency can mature into a durable political movement.
“It’s Trump as a philosophy, not Trump as a man,” said co-founder Raheem Kassam — the posh, bespectacled, former editor of Breitbart London — of the publication’s guiding light. “Where is the movement going after Trump? How do we keep the good — the pugilism? How do we tie up the fraying ends? Because remember: This was not supposed to happen. Trump was not supposed to get elected.”
Kassam’s publishing partner, Will Chamberlain, a 33-year-old former litigator turned activist — also bespectacled, with a no-nonsense demeanor — bought the moribund publication for $330,000 this winter, announcing the purchase during the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Since launching at the beginning of this month, the new publishers are claiming some modest early success. Ten days in, the group had amassed roughly 600,000 pageviews and more than 750 paying members, or “Founding Fathers.” The early ranks of members — who pay $17.76 a month — include Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney.
As you might expect, the website itself features some fairly typical hard-right talking points, with the usual overwrought rhetoric that Fox News and others have perfected, the headlines sitting somewhere between a reassuring “Don’t Panic” and a slightly hysterical “The Russians Are Coming!”. Laughingly it includes an interview with Steve Bannon, the former adviser to Donald Trump and the acknowledged doyen of the American alt-right, who suggests that Nigel Farage, the leader of the populist Brexit Party in the United Kingdom, could become the next prime minister of the UK. Which is all kinds of funny. Notably the banner ad imploring readers to become a supporter of Human Events includes the scowling image of Enoch Powell, the reactionary Conservative Party politician who sought to whip up British voters into a frenzy of fear against non-white immigrants in the 1960s and ‘70s. Failing at that, the execrable MP voluntarily went into political exile with the Ulster Unionist Party, representing a constituency in Britain’s legacy colony on the island of Ireland where the writ of empire still ran strong (the rebellious local natives aside).
I looked at Human Events. It’s not the worst out there by a long shot.
What it plays to as much as anything else would be 80’s nostalgia. With Bruce Springsteen as a lifelong liberal they have to give conservative SOME ties to that decade.
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