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Is the Magazine Industry Becoming the Next Victim of the Anti-Woke Backlash?

Posted on Thursday, October 19, 2023
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by AMAC Newsline
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AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Shirley

rolling stone magazine

The liberal push to inject far-left politics into every aspect of American life has had some surprising downstream effects, one of which is the complete woke takeover of the magazine industry – even magazines that ostensibly have nothing to do with politics. But just as other businesses have seen consumer backlash over their decision to become partisan propaganda outlets, magazines may be facing a reckoning of their own.

As far back as 2018, the onetime teenage fashion magazine Teen Vogue was touting its “evolution” from fashion to “activism.” In an interview with ABC News, editors at the magazine celebrated how they took “an aspirational fashion magazine for fashion lovers” and shifted it into one focused on “news, politics and social justice.”

“Our readers’ lane includes politics now,” they stated. “It’s a political world.”

Covering the complex world of politics could indeed be useful for young people. But Teen Vogue’s “coverage” has instead read more like DNC talking points.

In September, the magazine accused Republicans of “trying to censor LGBTQ history.” A feature piece from 2016 accused Donald Trump of “gaslighting America” and “attempting to destabilize the truth and weaken the foundations of American freedom.” The magazine has also been outspokenly pro-abortion and anti-Israel.

But Teen Vogue is just one example of a trend that has echoed across the entire publishing ecosystem. Rolling Stone magazine was once the gold standard for news in the music world. Now, the front page of their website promotes far more political hit pieces on conservatives than it does actual music.

In fact, on Google, Rolling Stone’s “Politics” section is listed higher than their “Music” section. Late last year, the magazine celebrated how it was able to grow its audience by focusing on “Creators” and “events” alongside “politics.” Meanwhile, its print readership continued to decline, and its music coverage wasn’t even discussed.

For years, Rolling Stone has published and updated its “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” and “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” Until recently, who made the list was determined by a variety of factors that included an album or song’s enduring popularity with audiences and overall production value.

But in 2021, as reported by the Washington Examiner, Rolling Stone began changing their lists to reflect greater “equitability” in music. As a result, songs universally considered to be classics that have endured for decades were removed in favor of songs that have existed for just a few years. Suddenly, hip hop group Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” (which disparages Elvis Presley and John Wayne) appeared as the number 2 “greatest song of all time” – despite the fact that the song never even reached “number 1” status in the U.S. and isn’t even known to most Americans.

Even culinary magazines have seen their bread and butter culled.

The magazine Bon Appetit was once famous for exposing its readers to a unique array of novel recipes and new restaurants. Yet the magazine now uses food as a vehicle for “social justice.” In an article for The Federalist, Ramey Institute Fellow Grace Emily Stark noted one January 2022 articled titled “Over Fried Fish, I Said Goodbye to My Wife – And to a Version of Myself” which was “a meandering, self-indulgent essay from a trans-identifying man who’d ‘discovered’ he was really a woman.”

“Later that year,” Stark continues, “for the June ‘Pride’ edition… the magazine featured an article titled ‘I Realized I Was Trans While Making Cheese’ and a recipe for ‘Big Queer Cold Noodles.’ Yum?”

The magazine has been so aggressive in its social justice push that they’ve even begun retroactively changing the names of old articles that readers find to be “problematic” examples of “culinary appropriation.” The initiative has been so widely panned that even a New York Times op-ed blasted it with the headline “Woke Me When It’s Over.”

Liberal apologists will defend these efforts as both “benign” and “well-intentioned.” That a lifestyle magazine is advocating for a more equitable society, even if ham-fisted, is a non-issue in a world roiled by war and disease, we’re told.

But the wokeification of the magazine industry represents yet another American cultural institution being destroyed by the left. Rolling Stone was once the world’s most respected musical publication that included thought-provoking and interesting articles on the industry. Teen Vogue, Bon Appetit, and dozens of other publications were similarly well-respected authorities on their niche subject matters.

Now, they’ve all but abandoned their integrity and self-respect in the name of advancing a far-left political agenda – and they’re dying because of it. Even after ditching print publications, Teen Vogue has seen its readership more than cut in half since 2017. Parent company Condé Nast, which also owns titles like The New Yorker, Wired, and GQ, reportedly lost more than $100 million in 2020.

Meanwhile, as the New York Times recently reported, publications branding themselves as “woke-free” are seeing a surge in popularity. Evie magazine, a publication that focuses on promoting traditional femininity while eschewing liberal commentary, is growing exponentially in an industry that’s seemingly on the decline.

How shocking that women would enjoy a women’s magazine that actually talks about issues relevant to women. Should other upstart publications follow the woke-free path, the legacy magazines may soon find themselves facing an extinction-level event on par with that of the other legacy press – and they will have no one but themselves to blame.

Andrew Shirley is a veteran speechwriter and AMAC Newsline columnist. His commentary can be found on X at @AA_Shirley.

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Steve V
Steve V
9 months ago

All you need to know about magazines can be found in the answers to two questions.
How many magazine covers featured Michelle Obama?
How many magazine covers featured Melania Trump?

Charles Williams
Charles Williams
9 months ago

“Is The Magazine Industry Becoming The Next Victim Of The Anti-Woke Backlash?” One can only hope.

Lee
Lee
9 months ago

I picked up the Halloween Woman’s Day the other day, which I have always enjoyed, and has been traditional for years. It looks just like every other woman’s magazine now, the first black this, the first Indigenous that, finding myself as a Korean woman. The dividing of America into tribes is always the first sign of wokeness.

Robert Hellam
Robert Hellam
9 months ago

I stopped subscribing to The Economist and to Christianity Today because they were drifting leftward.

Deb Rockwell
Deb Rockwell
9 months ago

Fools are usually responsible for their own demise.

anna hubert
anna hubert
9 months ago

Once upon a time mags were very enjoyable read They ‘ve lost the appeal long ago when they became PC unreadable blather

SAW
SAW
9 months ago

I haven’t picked up any of these rags in dentists and doctors offices for years…

John Bass
John Bass
9 months ago

I quit subscribing to most magazines back in the early 90s and for two reasons.

#1 They all became paper thin with no substance, and mostly advertising.
#2 Most of the subscriptions no longer applied to me. It became obvious they were catering to people who had a lot more money than I did.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
9 months ago

More job losses & more sales,or mergers?

FJB
FJB
9 months ago

I cancelled my Popular Mechanics subscription about a year ago. I had noticed left wing propaganda creeping into to totally non political stories but the final straw was when they published a map showing who’s “stolen land” (their word, not mine) we were living on (Indian tribes shown on the map). Obviously this was not “Popular” and had absolutely nothing to do with “Mechanics”.

Michael Stevens
Michael Stevens
9 months ago

This was an eye opening article. Since I do not subscribe to any magazines, I was unaware that ‘wokeness’ infiltrated this segment of the media. They get what they deserve when they alienate the goose that lays the Golden eggs!.

Georgia Broz
Georgia Broz
9 months ago

Magazines have fewer pages, are more expensive and not nearly as good as they were before the “pandemic”.

Jeri
Jeri
9 months ago

At 12.99-21.99 an issue, exactly who is buying these magazines, in which every other page is a full blown advertisement for a Covid drug.

Jacque
Jacque
8 months ago

I quit National Public Radio about 7 years ago as it continued it’s leftward direction.

Jay H.
Jay H.
8 months ago

Just when I thought I could read “Car & Driver” to avoid politics an article appears stating America is systemically racist. No longer a subscriber! Also, no longer subscribe to “readers digust”. This liberal puke rag had a huge article about the suffering of the officers on January 6th. No such articles about the suffering of police officers at the hands of antifa and blm during the george floyd riots. blm was responsible for blinding policeman in Portland & killing police officers in Dallas, however, not news for “readers digust”.

C in T
C in T
5 months ago

“ Evie magazine, a publication that focuses on promoting traditional femininity while eschewing liberal commentary, is growing exponentially in an industry that’s seemingly on the decline.”
That’s racist!

/sarcasm

granky
granky
9 months ago

The Hearst company (50% owned by Disney) publishes 25 lifestyle magazines, the most of any publisher. They have not backed of “woke”.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
9 months ago

Who reads magazines anymore except really old people who dislike those “new-fangled electronic gadgets”?

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