The normally liberal Daily Beast published an article about The New Republic owner Chris Hughes that is chock full of criticism of the Facebook multi-millionaire. However, what is most surprising is that the article by James Kirchick also takes the mainstream media to task for its lavish praise of Hughes before attacking him for what they view as the destruction of The New Republic.
You sort of get the idea that the Daily Beast story is going to come up somewhat short of praise just from the very title, The Rise and Fall of Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge, America’s Worst Gay Power Couple. However, before we get to the blasts on Hughes and his, uh, husband, let us take note of the criticism of the MSM which once was in awe of Hughes:
One suspects that had this couple been heterosexual and conservative, the initial media attention would not have been quite so toadying. We would have no doubt been treated to endless stories about how a “rapacious” “right-wing” millionaire, who had done nothing to earn his fortune, set out to destroy one of liberalism’s great institutions all the while enabling his power-mad spouse to “buy” a seat in Congress. But everything about the Hughes-Eldridge pairing militated against such a portrayal. The prospect of a fresh-faced, conventionally liberal, gay couple hit every media sweet spot.
Hughes and Eldridge are not “role models for a future generation of… gay people,” as The Advocate absurdly stated. They are little more than entitled brats who, like most fabulously wealthy arrivistes who attain their fortunes through sheer luck rather than hard work, are used to getting everything they want, when they want it, and throw temper tantrums when they don’t.
In their elitism and sense of entitlement, they represent much of what liberals are supposed to despise. Most in the media and gay community were perfectly willing to ignore this imposture when the couple was throwing their money at the right causes and dispensing jobs to their journalist and political consultant friends. Hughes and Eldridge were beneficiaries of a corrupt and compliant media and political establishment that grasped at their filthy lucre. Only now that the fairy tale has come crashing down—a magazine destroyed, a devastating political loss suffered—is the herd willing to admit the obvious.
As for specific cases of media hypocrisy, Kirchik offers this:
Earlier this year, former TNR staffer and Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank sent Hughes a fawning email in which he praised the young owner for “doing the Lord’s work” in purchasing the perpetually money-losing magazine, calling him a “21st-century Walter Lippman.”
Last May, former TNR editor Andrew Sullivan produced a cloyingly self-referential blandishment of Hughes for a T magazine feature on successful twentysomethings, portraying the self-appointed editor of the magazine as a slightly more liberal, twinkier version of Sullivan’s younger self. Accompanying a picture of a pensive Hughes sitting in a coffee shop, bedecked in a $2,800 coat, $680 sweater, and $650 shirt (all Valentino), Sullivan wrote that Hughes “rescue[d]” TNR, “is a young person’s idea of what an editor should be,” and, sticking with the old-soul crap, told readers that he “felt as if I were a kid talking to a grownup.”
Today, former TNR writers and the rest of the media establishment are racing to denounce Hughes. “A dilettante and a fraud” is how Milbank describes the man whom he not so long ago likened to the journalistic second coming of Jesus Christ. Sullivan accuses Hughes of “corporate destruction, ” and signed an open letter with a raft of other disgruntled TNR alums accusing Hughes of nothing less than “deal[ing] a lamentable blow” to “the promise of American life.”
Ouch! Meanwhile Kirchick's direct slams against both Hughes and Eldridge are just as devastating. Here is a sampling:
In just the past two months, one half of this pair managed to single-handedly destroy a storied journalistic institution, while the other suffered a crushing electoral defeat in New York’s 19th Congressional District...
...Weeks before the implosion at TNR, 28-year-old Eldridge lost his congressional bid by a stunning 30 points, despite having outspent his opponent nearly 3-to-1 in a district President Obama won by 6 percentage points. The couple had purchased a $2 million home in the district expressly so that Eldridge could run there, their purchase of a $5 million mansion in the adjoining 18th having come to naught after that seat was won by another gay Democrat in 2012.
...For behind the seemingly accomplished, smart, and creative prodigy that supposedly is Chris Hughes lies a deeply insecure man with few accomplishments to his name and a heavy burden to prove his self, not to mention net, worth. Hughes’s wealth and status owe little to his ingenuity as a supposed Facebook “co-founder” but rather his luck at being in the right place at the right time.
Unlike Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz, with whom he roomed at Harvard, Hughes had no special programming or coding abilities. But there was a silver lining in this lack of technical expertise, in that, as the only member of this tech geek crew with passable social skills, he could take up the public-relations portfolio. “He is fortunate he found himself in the same room,” David Kirkpatrick, author of a book about the website, told the Times. “He is more socially adjusted than the rest of them.” By his own admission, Hughes’ main job for Facebook was “customer service.” $700 million, the rough amount that Hughes earned when he cashed out of the company in 2007, is a pretty good take for a glorified call-center operator.
So I guess this means that The New Republic won't be accepting any James Kirchick story submissions in the near future.