I have been pondering this for awhile, but had waited to see if things might change. Overall it’s still a good magazine, IMO, and I’m generally not one to make a global decision based on a single factor. After all, I can simply choose not to add to web traffic. But gutter politics can’t be supported, even tangentially, and the smear that clarified the issue for me is described here (link doesn’t go to the offender; you know where he is if you’re compelled to see it.)
A copy of this goes in the mail today.
Dear Mr. Bennet,
After several years as an appreciative subscriber to The Atlantic, I have recently informed your subscription department that I will not be renewing my subscription. In case it interests you to know, the reason for my decision not to renew is that your magazine has become a platform for the worst sort of political discourse. I am referring to the scurrilous smears of Governor Sarah Palin by one of your senior editors, Andrew Sullivan.
I read with interest the cover article he wrote in December, and while I was not persuaded that Senator Obama was necessarily the best choice for President, I was hopeful, like many Americans, that his nomination and candidacy would in fact matter, that it would mark a change in the tone of presidential politics. That his opponent was not closely identified with the right-wing of the GOP seemed to add to the likelihood that questions of substantive issues confronting America would predominate this election cycle.
Regrettably, substantive discussion has again taken a backseat to issues of image and hollow rhetoric. But while silly complaints about not wearing lapel pins or overusing one’s military experience can be excused, one cannot excuse vile, baseless innuendo posing as a simple question, nor the promotion of misogynistic sexualization found on YouTube. Clearly emotions are running high in this election, and no one is exempt. If asked, I would have predicted that in the course of carrying out professional duties, a senior editor of a magazine of The Atlantic’s stature and reputation would be able to avoid indulging the darkest of human impulses. I would have been wrong.
Your magazine has introduced me to several writers I enjoy because of their engaging writing and insights on topics I would not otherwise have been likely to consider carefully, such as James Fallows on China. Gregg Easterbrook is a favorite, not least because I lived in Buffalo for five years (including the four Super Bowl years) and can appreciate his feelings about western New York. Several of your frequent contributors will always attract my attention because of their insights and challenges to my thinking. In the future, however, I will not be reading them as a subscriber to The Atlantic.
I used their postage paid reply envelope to inform the subscription department. Hopefully the backlash against those who call attention to the ideas of the candidate does not extend to criticism of his enablers.