‘The New Yorker’ vs. the Obamas
I went on to urge all readers of WHO’S MAILING WHAT! to find blow-in and bind-in cards from The New Yorker and all other Condé Nast publications and write on them, “Calvin Trillin says hello!” and drop them in the mail.
Readers responded with gusto, happily sending Trillin’s greetings and telling their friends to do likewise. The result was a stinky-poo that got national attention. Not only did I get a whiny phone call from Jonathan Newhouse urging me to call off the dogs, he even sent a stunning blonde from his circulation department over to our booth at Direct Marketing Days New York to plead Condé Nast’s case. I told the Newhouse organization that if it fired Bud Trillin, I would back off. Newhouse didn’t, and I didn’t.
The Current Fallout
At the end of this piece is a David Horsey gag cover for the conservative National Review that ran in The Huffington Post online. It shows old McCain in a wheelchair with young wife Cindy feeding him pills. It’s amusing—an authentic cartoon. But like the Obama cover on The New Yorker, it does nothing to help clarify the myriad knotty issues these candidates are trying to deal with.
My view is darker, reflected in the cartoons by Jon Rettich and Tony Auth of The Philadelphia Inquirer—also shown at the end of this issue. (Click on the images below.)
A ‘Troubled Magazine’
Ultimately, is it smart for The New Yorker’s editor to take a chance on alienating its two major customer bases (advertisers and readers) when its business is teetering in the brink of insolvency? “The New Yorker is now among the most troubled magazines at Condé Nast,” said Keith J. Kelly in The New York Post. He writes:
Through the July 7 issue, The New Yorker is down a staggering 21.2 percent in ad pages to 699.69, compared with the same period a year ago, when it racked up 887, according to Media Industry Newsletter, which tracks the industry. The magazine, whose parent company is S.I. Newhouse’s Advance Publications, was estimated to have lost more than $175 million under his ownership before it finally turned a slight profit in 2002, when David Carey was publisher. At that time, it was pulling in about 2,200 ad pages a year.