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Is Murdoch Dumping The Weekly Standard?

Via Andrew, I notice the LA Times is reporting that Rupert Murdoch is in talks to unload The Weekly Standard. Sullivan adds:

The possible buyer is a far right Christianist, Philip Anschutz, whose campaigns include keeping gay people marginalized (he funded Colorado's Amendment 2), discouraging the teaching of evolution (he founded the Discovery Institute), and the Pass It On organization, the Foundation For A Better Life. It would mean even more theoconservatism and Christianism at TWS - just what we need!

The possibility of a sale to someone like Anschutz put me in mind of Bernard-Henri Levy's take on Bill Kristol, part of Levy's Atlantic series (and book) about his travels through America. Here's Levy:

Then there's the copy of the Weekly Standard I found in the waiting room and had time to leaf through before our interview. It's the issue that talks about the dedication of the Clinton Library, in Little Rock. I see that the Weekly Standard is a magazine in which you can read, under the byline of Matt Labash, an article crammed with the vilest gossip about the private life of the former president. Paula, Gennifer, Monica, Connie, Sally, Dolly, Susan—they're all there, the "WOCS," the "women of the Clinton scandals," the Miss Arkansas, the women who aren't quite whores, the ex—cover girls turned into married women, they're all set down in ink, slammed, denounced, in this cartload of filth and accusation that presents itself as an article.

I sense that Kristol is annoyed when I mention it...Don't jump to the conclusion that I believe in it, he seems to be saying. That's just the deal, you understand—supporting a crusade for moral values is just the price we have to pay for a foreign policy that we can defend as a whole.

Suppose it is. Let's agree that his annoyance isn't feigned. In that case the whole question lies right there, and in my mind it's almost worse. When you uphold one goal of a given faction, do you have to uphold all its goals? Because you're in agreement about Iraq, do you have to force yourself to agree with the death penalty, creationism, the Christian Coalition and its pestilential practices? When I have dinner with someone in a restaurant, do I have to order all the courses on the menu? Or, on the contrary, isn't it the privilege of what we call an intellectual—isn't it his honor and, at core, his real strength, as well as his duty—to continue to defend his own colors, even the shades of those colors, even and especially when he lends his support to the government on a specific point?...A neo-conservative? No—he is a Platonist without the ideas. An adviser to princes without detachment or reservations. An antitotalitarian who at bottom, and whatever he may say, is not as faithful as he would like to think to the heritage of Leo Strauss and Hannah Arendt—and who, for this reason, deprives himself of the necessary freedom that the status of intellectual should imply. [Italics Mine]

Levy captures here, I think, precisely what makes The Weekly Standard so frustrating and compelling and, in the end, unconvincing and dishonest. It will be fascinating to see what a sale would mean for the magazine, and for its editor.

--Isaac Chotiner