5 min read

Newsweek goes to fash bash

Let me call your attention to the b-matter of this story I wrote about CPAC Hungary for a minute.

Yes, congressmen Paul Gosar and Barry Moore are linking up with members of Austrian Freedom Party, or FPÖ, which German Nazis founded. (Nazis like the ones from the history books. If you don't read history books, maybe you recall them as the villains from Indiana Jones.)  FPÖ is still extreme right today, and they have had problems with corruption. Members have also been known to air out slurs.

Congressmen To Mix With Leader of FPÖ, a Party Founded by Nazis
At CPAC Hungary this week, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona and Rep. Barry Moore of Alabama will speak alongside a global collection of radical-right figures, including the leader of an Austrian political party founded by Nazi SS officers.

I don't mean to skip over Gosar's ugly history with extremism here. Or Moore, who has done strange things. You can read that in the story above.

I want to highlight for you that Newsweek's Opinion Editor, Josh Hammer, has now attended at least two events with FPÖ party members in six months. Both times, Newsweek either allowed their name to be listed alongside European radical right parties in advertising or did nothing to publicly denounce those groups after that connection became known.  

Hammer (if you're new to him, his name makes him seem tougher than he looks) had limited experience as an editor before obtaining his current position in May 2020, making him kind of an unusual hire for the embattled magazine. And he just keeps appearing side-by-side with European radical right figures at these events, loaning Newsweek's name out in promotional materials while he does so.

Josh Hammer is lower row, second in from the left. Full beard. About a head shorter than the two men on either side of him.
Newsweek Embraces the Anti-Democracy Hard Right
Newsweek positioned political activist Josh Hammer to run their opinion pages during the runup to the 2020 presidential election, and since that time, the publication has taken a marked radical right turn by buoying extremists and promoting authoritarian leaders.
Newsweek’s Place in Radical Right on Display at Gala
Following Hatewatch’s report on the global network of radical right figures who attended the New York Young Republican Club (NYYRC) gala on Dec. 10, some commentators highlighted Newsweek’s involvement in the event, given their history of mainstream recognition as a news outlet.

Newsweek knows what is happening but Newsweek's workers do not

I've written two stories already about Hammer's impact on Newsweek (above) and I would urge you to go through those if you want more details.

One thing to draw out: Worried Newsweek employees who have contacted me since I first started reporting on this situation don't know what is happening. They have floated a number of conspiracy theories to me as to how Hammer got his position and why Newsweek might be letting him use their brand in this way. I won't repeat them because they aren't backed in hard evidence but I mention it to emphasize the fact that some of Hammer's colleagues find his presence there highly strange.

One example of the type of thing Hammer is doing that inspires wild speculation from his co-workers is appearing to just give out free advertising for the far-right Claremont Institute.

Comical examples below:

This headline omg
Literally just a byline from Claremont

Co-workers also tell me they do not view him as bringing in significant amounts of web traffic, something Newsweek values very highly.

So, what is going on exactly? I can't imagine there is a big market for consumers of American magazines who are somehow more inclined to embrace a brand when they see it written next to the neofascist Portuguese Chega party.

Bonus: I got yelled at by Joy Division fans

A bunch of Joy Division fans yelled at me for correctly stating that the Cure's Disintegration is better than any Joy Division album. That's like yelling at someone for telling you the capital city of North Dakota is Bismarck.

Look, I like Joy Division. I also like some black metal. But there's kind of an unpleasant nothingness at the core of their records that doesn't always do it for me when I'm sad. With Joy Division, Ian Curtis doesn't risk being cringe with his emotions and I don't find him very relatable. When I want mopey music, I want to savor my own sadness. I need things to get cringe.

Check this track out. It feels like I'm being asked to live in Jeffrey Dahmer's apartment for five minutes. And this is my favorite Joy Division song:

What is superior about Disintegration specifically is not only the crisp production relative to other Cure albums but also its approachability to humans that are not in a huge rush to die. Not all Cure albums are particularly special to me. This one is.

It's about one relationship falling apart, the whole way through. And Smith holds onto that feeling of collapse as obsessively as we do when we are consumed with love for another person we cannot have.

The relentless title track:

Anyway, bottom text.