AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Shirley
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.