The New Republic plans to run a cover story in its upcoming issue criticizing its own coverage of racial issues, after critics recently took the magazine to task for its history.
Politico media reporter Dylan Byers said he obtained a copy of the 4,000 word article, written by journalist Jeet Heer, and published excerpts of the article on Thursday.
“The New Republic owes an accounting to itself, its critics and its readers; an honest reckoning on where it has gone wrong is the necessary first step to figuring out how to do better,” one excerpt said.
“How can this magazine — or any legacy institution — come to terms with a blighted legacy on race and transcend it?” Heer wrote.
The cover story comes after a purging of the magazine’s old guard and an exodus of sympathetic staffers, which sparked conversation about the identity and legacy of the magazine. Some, including Atlantic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, argued that legacy was stained by racism, especially after former owner Marty Peretz took over the magazine in the 1970s.
“Affirmative action became a regular target, while legacy admission of whites to colleges and universities was rarely discussed,” Heer wrote.
“[T]o attack affirmative action in a magazine with a staff that was almost entirely white and male was to defend not a principle but a troubling status quo,” he added.
Other problems identified in the article include an issue publicizing author Charles Murray’s book “The Bell Curve,” which Heer called a “foray into scientific racism, in which the authors asserted differences in IQ among blacks and whites were largely genetic and almost impossible to significantly change.”
Last month, Heer posted one of the magazine’s covers from the 90s on Twitter while summing up his ideas about the forthcoming piece:
35. TNR once did a “day of reckoning” cover. Very relevant to this discussion of their own reckoning. pic.twitter.com/9SYKfGr6HF
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) December 6, 2014