The Weekly Standard
December 24, 2018 issue of The Weekly Standard
EditorStephen F. Hayes
PublisherTerry Eastland
Total circulation
(December 2018)
First issueSeptember 1995; 28 years ago (1995-09)
Final issueDecember 2018; 5 years ago (2018-12)
CompanyClarity Media Group
CountryUnited States
Based inWashington, D.C.

The Weekly Standard was an American neoconservative political magazine of news, analysis, and commentary that was published 48 times per year. Originally edited by founders Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes, the Standard was described as a "redoubt of neoconservatism" and as "the neocon bible."[2][3] Its founding publisher, News Corporation, debuted the title on September 18, 1995.[4] In 2009, News Corporation sold the magazine to a subsidiary of the Anschutz Corporation.[5] On December 14, 2018, its owners announced that the magazine would cease publication, with the last issue to be published on December 17.[6] Sources have attributed its demise to an increasing divergence between Kristol and other editors' shift towards anti-Trump positions on the one hand, and the magazine's audience's shift towards Trumpism on the other.[7]

Many of the magazine's articles were written by members of conservative think tanks located in Washington, including the American Enterprise Institute, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the Hudson Institute, and the Foreign Policy Initiative. Individuals who wrote for the magazine included Elliott Abrams, Peter Berkowitz, John Bolton, Ellen Bork, David Brooks, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Christopher Hitchens, Harvey Mansfield, Cynthia Ozick, Joe Queenan, and John Yoo. The magazine's website also produced regular online-only commentaries and news articles. The site's editorial stance was described as neoconservative.[8][9][10][11][12]


The Standard was viewed as heavily influential during the administration of President George W. Bush (2001–2009), being called the in-flight magazine of Air Force One.[13] In 2003, although the magazine's circulation was only 55,000, Kristol said that "We have a funny relationship with the top tier of the administration. They very much keep us at arm's length, but Vice President Dick Cheney does send over someone to pick up 30 copies of the magazine every Monday."[14]

In 2006, though the publication had never been profitable and reputedly lost more than a million dollars a year, News Corporation head Rupert Murdoch initially dismissed the idea of selling it.[15] Subsequently, in June 2009, a report circulated that a sale of the publication to Philip Anschutz was imminent, with Murdoch's position being that, having since purchased The Wall Street Journal in 2007, his interest in the smaller publication had diminished.[16][17] The Washington Examiner reported that month that the Examiner's parent company, the Anschutz-owned Clarity Media Group, had purchased the Standard;[18][19] the price was about $1 million.[20]

The Standard increased its paid circulation by 39 percent between its June 2009 and June 2010 BPA statements.[21] Its print circulation of about 100,000 in 2013 had decreased to 72,000 by 2017, according to the BPA, with circulation dropping about 10 percent between 2016 and 2017.[13]

In late 2016, Kristol ended his time as editor-in-chief.[22] He was replaced by Stephen Hayes, the magazine's senior writer.[23] Under Hayes' leadership, the Standard continued to be as critical of Donald Trump as it had been under Kristol; Trump's supporters in turn criticized the Standard, and the magazine's influence as Republican circles dwindled.[24]

In December 2017, The Weekly Standard became an official fact-checking partner for Facebook.[25]

On December 14, 2018, Clarity Media Group announced that it would cease publication of the magazine after 23 years. While some speculated that the closure of The Weekly Standard was so Clarity Media's other magazine, the Washington Examiner, could absorb the Standard's subscribers, a statement from Clarity Media Group chairman Ryan McKibben said that such speculation was incorrect.[26][27] Kristol attributed the magazine's demise to the hostility of supporters of the Donald Trump administration.[28]

Support of the invasion of Iraq

The Standard promoted and supported the invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein. In November 1997 Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan wrote an editorial titled "Saddam Must Go", in which they stated "We know it seems unthinkable to propose another ground attack to take Baghdad. But it's time to start thinking the unthinkable."[29]

In the first issue the magazine published after 9/11, according to Scott McConnell of The American Conservative, "Gary Schmitt and Tom Donnelly, two employees of Kristol’s PNAC, clarified what ought to be the country’s war aims. Their rhetoric was to link Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden in virtually every paragraph, to join them at the hip in the minds of readers, and then to lay out a strategy that actually gave attacking Saddam priority over eliminating al-Qaeda."[30]

On December 16, 2018, co-founder and contributing editor John Podhoretz defended the coverage answering the question by Lulu Garcia-Navarro on NPR: "Do you regret the coverage of Iraq War?" saying "I think, basically, what—all a magazine—editors, writers—can promise is that they will be honest and say what they mean and think and argue the best way that they can. And with the facts available at the time, that is what The Standard did."[31]

Libel case

In 1997, nearly a year after a cover story that included allegations of hiring a prostitute and plagiarism against best-selling author Deepak Chopra, the editors of The Weekly Standard accepted full responsibility for the errors in the story, and apologized."[32][33] Chopra claimed that the magazine settled for $1.6 million.[34]

Notable personnel

Editorial staff

Contributing editors


  1. ^ Farhi, Paul (December 14, 2018). "The Weekly Standard, influential conservative magazine, will shutter". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  2. ^ Boot, Max (December 30, 2002). "What the Heck Is a 'Neocon'?". Wall Street Journal. the Weekly Standard, ... is known as a redoubt of 'neoconservatism'
  3. ^ Rachman, Gideon (January 15, 2007). "The neo-cons' route to disaster". Financial Times. Archived from the original on December 10, 2022. ... the neo-con bible, The Weekly Standard ...
  4. ^ "Ten years ago, The Weekly Standard debuted, a conservative journal of opinion [f]rom Washington, D.C., edited by William Kristol". October 24, 2005. National Review: "The Week".
  5. ^ "". Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  6. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M.; Rutenberg, Jim (December 14, 2018). "The Weekly Standard, Pugnacious to the End, Will Cease Publication". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  7. ^ Wallace-Wells, Benjamin. "Who Killed The Weekly Standard?". The New Yorker.
  8. ^ McConnell, Scott. "The Weekly Standard's War". November 21, 2005. The American Conservative
  9. ^ Smith, Ben. "Weekly Standard may have been shooter target Archived January 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine" June 11, 2009. Politico.
  10. ^ Magolick, David. "The Return of the Neocons Archived August 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine" January 22, 2010. Newsweek.
  11. ^ Carr, David. "When this weekly speaks, White House listens" March 12, 2003. The New York Times.
  12. ^ Hirsh, Michael (February 4, 2013). "The Winter of the Neocons' Discontent". National Journal. Archived from the original on February 7, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  13. ^ a b Schwartz, Jason (December 4, 2018). "Weekly Standard faces uncertain future after holding its ground against Trump". Politico. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  14. ^ Carr, David (June 24, 2004). "When this weekly speaks, White House listens". New York Times. Archived from the original on June 24, 2004. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  15. ^ Cassidy, John (October 16, 2006). "Murdoch's Game". The New Yorker.
  16. ^ Carr, David (June 10, 2009). "Will The Standard Pass From Murdoch to Anschutz?". The New York Times. Retrieved June 15, 2009.
  17. ^ Worden, Nat (June 11, 2009). "News Corp. Close to Selling Weekly Standard". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 15, 2009.
  18. ^ ""Weekly Standard sold to Washington Examiner parent company". The Washington Examiner. June 17, 2009.
  19. ^ Corcoran, Michael (September 1, 2009). "The Weekly Standard's War". Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.
  20. ^ Arango, Tim (August 2, 2009). "New Owner for Weekly Standard as Political Tastes Change". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  21. ^ Mickey, Bill (October 6, 2010). "The Weekly Standard Boosts Its Circ". Audience Development. Archived from the original on November 21, 2010.
  22. ^ Rupert, Evelyn (December 13, 2016). "Bill Kristol stepping down as Weekly Standard editor-in-chief". The Hill. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  23. ^ "Stephen F. Hayes '93 to Succeed William Kristol as Editor-in-Chief of The Weekly Standard". DePauw University. December 13, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  24. ^ Darcy, Oliver (December 5, 2018). "Fate of The Weekly Standard is uncertain, editor tells staff". CNN.
  25. ^ "Facebook looks to conservative Weekly Standard to combat its fake news problem — Quartz". October 7, 2017. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  26. ^ Darcy, Oliver (December 14, 2018). "The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine critical of Trump, to shutter after 23 years". CNN Business. CNN Interactive. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  27. ^ Pilkington, Ed (December 14, 2018). "Weekly Standard, rightwing magazine opposed to Trump, closes after 23 years". The Guardian – via
  28. ^ "Meet the Other Resistance: The Republican One". New York Times. April 24, 2019.
  29. ^ Kristol, Bill (November 17, 1997). "SADDAM MUST Go". WeeklyStandard. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  30. ^ McConnell, Scott (November 21, 2005). "The Weekly Standard's War". TheAmericanConservative. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  31. ^ "Co-Founder: 'Cannibalism,' Not Anti-Trump Stand, Killed 'Weekly Standard'". NPR. December 16, 2018. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  32. ^ APOLOGY TO DEEPAK CHOPRA: THE WEEKLY STANDARD SUIT SETTLED Archived October 17, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, PR Newswire, June 23, 1997. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  33. ^ Self-help guru settles libel lawsuit Archived October 16, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, Spokesman-Review, June 24, 1997. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  34. ^ The Art of the Spiritual Smackdown Archived October 19, 2014, at the Wayback Machine,, Stephen Lemons, March 7, 2000. Retrieved October 12, 2014.