Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Megan McArdle concern trolls Harper's Magazine.

Tough Times at Harpers
Business Jan 19 2011, 11:04 AM ET 12
There's something both puzzling and tragic about the labor disputes at Harper's. I had been aware of their struggles with circulation--indeed, I'm part of them. Given how high the price is, and how rarely I felt like I was finding surprising, challenging articles, eventually, regretfully, I stopped taking the magazine. Apparently, a lot of other people agreed, a problem that was compounded by the recession.

The budget deficit has led the owner to make changes; the changes has led to resistance from the staff. And since this is Harper's, naturally, the staff has unionized.

[yap yap yap unions bad]

Given where I work, I suppose I can't let an interesting side-point pass unremarked: MacArthur apparently thinks of us as his rivals; and he simply flatly refused to believe that we were profitable.

...When one staffer brought MacArthur's attention to a recent New York Times article that stated The Atlantic was profitable this year because of its heavy investments in the web, MacArthur responded: "They're lying. They're a private company and they can say whatever they want."

At least in this corner of The Atlantic, we wish our brother journalists at Harper's nothing but success; any feelings of rivalry have waned to nothingness since those rambunctious days of the 1880s.

I hope that you will take it from me, then, that we aren't lying; we really are profitable. I spent most of last fall being repeatedly sworn to silence on our progress towards corporate goals. These profits were achieved, not so that we could show the fellows at other publications, but simply because everyone--owner and staff--is happier with a profitable publication.

As you can see from the Harpers experience. When there's not enough money to go around, people fight over the scraps. Of course, getting to profitability is insanely difficult, which is why not many publications have managed the feat recently. Given what Harper's has gone through, I can see why MacArthur would find it hard to believe in a profitable magazine.

Silly man. Did he think Megan McArdle's support for Goldman, Sachs was free?

'Atlantic' turns first profit in decades

Washington, D.C.—The Atlantic Media Co.'s The Atlantic said Thursday the brand posted a profit in 2010, the first time it had done so in “decades.”
“It hasn't been profitable in institutional memory,” a spokesperson said.

Driven by name bloggers such as Andrew Sullivan and Megan McArdle, The Atlantic saw its online revenue balloon by 70% in 2010 compared with the previous year. In the same time frame, print advertising increased 27% and overall advertising jumped 37%

New print advertisers last year included Samsung, Singapore Airlines and Xerox Corp. New digital advertisers included Goldman Sachs, IBM Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp.


Kathy said...

... MacArthur responded: "They're lying. They're a private company and they can say whatever they want..."

And so Megan unwittingly (as always) reveals the Atlantic's business model.

Kia said...

It appears that in the fine free market we must take lying as given, then.

kth said...

Harpers is so much more substantial than the Atlantic that there's ultimately no basis for comparing them. It's like comparing People to the New York Review of Books: of course the former will always have more money than the latter. That's the way of the world.

In quasi-fairness to McArdle, this disparity goes back years, at least to when Lewis Lapham assumed the helm of Harper's at the very time that the Atlantic was the vehicle of that fatuous clown Mort Zuckerman (really the comparison between the two men is a precis of the long-standing difference between the two mags).

atat said...

"Given how high the price is[…]I stopped taking the magazine."

Stopped taking it? Is that some British colloquialism or something?

UncertaintyVicePrincipal said...

Stopped taking it? Is that some British colloquialism or something?

Yes that goes along with the "rumour" and "colour" spelling she used to employ.

Now if she'd just stop taking the Prozac mixed with LSD, her calculator might make sense to her again.

Susan of Texas said...

And "chap," as well as a couple of others. McArdle worked in Great Britain for a while and evidently now feels herself an honorary Englishwoman instead of a Scotch-Irish-American.

I don't see why anyone would worry about hiding their bias anymore. McArdle's readers like her work because they know it will respect authority and praise the rich and successful. They often say "even if it isn't true, blah blah"--they don't care about the facts at all, they just want to have a kaffeeklatsch to tell each other how horrible those liberals are and how McArdle's lies support their bigoted assumptions.

But politics is only a small part of the problem. Family and church tell us self-esteem is bad so people base their self-worth on externalities like national pride and visible demonstrations of group identity.

Anonymous said...

and her last word on Loughner reads like idiocy

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should just have a giant set tags for Megan like "we can never know anything about anything ever."
"correlation, not causation"
"fictional numbers"
"confirmation bias"

Mr. Wonderful said...

Maybe we should just have a giant set tags for Megan

Of course we should. Such is blogging.

Clever Pseudonym said...

She regretfully stopped "taking" a magazine she no longer found interesting? And if you regret minor things like "taking" magazines, isn't it easy enough to correct by "re-taking" them? Oh, that's right. Megan's, regretfully, an exceedingly crappy writer.

There are other ways besides circulation for a magazine to turn a profit. It helps that they've got free ad space for corporate interests in the form of Megan's blog.

atat said...

I suppose that her UK stint is also the reason why we have to suffer through her incessant use of superfluous "rather"s?

Apparently, she thinks she's writing for the Mid-Atlantic.