Weekly Standard Sold for $1 Million

Monday, 03 Aug 2009 01:06 PM

By Jim Meyers

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Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has sold The Weekly Standard to Christian conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz — so the magazine's right-wing viewpoint is unlikely to change.

The deal's reportedly modest price tag, $1 million, is not surprising since the magazine has never been profitable since it was founded in 1995.

But that is one thing Anschutz does intend to change, according to spokesman Jim Monaghan.

"We don't purchase assets with the intention that they won't become profitable," he told The New York Times.

The new ownership will seek to boost circulation and advertising revenue, and increase its presence on the Web, Monaghan said.

The Standard was strongly supportive of the George W. Bush administration, and in particular the invasion of Iraq.

But the new ownership "comes at a time when conservatism, especially the version espoused by The Standard involving American muscularity to spread freedom abroad, is not in the ascendancy," The Times reported.

Even so, Anschutz has instructed the magazine's two top editors, William Kristol and Fred Barnes, not to alter The Standard's ideological stance.

Murdoch's sale of the magazine does not indicate Murdoch has lost interest in conservative politics, according to Eric Alterman, a columnist with The Nation, a liberal journal. He believes The Standard will remain "hostile to Obama and make people inside the administration angry, and what's the upside to Murdoch?"

Anschutz, with a fortune estimated at close to $8 billion, already owns The San Francisco Examiner and The Washington Examiner newspapers.

He originally made his fortune from oil on his Utah/Wyoming ranch, but he has since become a one-man entertainment conglomerate. Anschutz Entertainment Group owns sports and entertainment centers throughout the U.S., as well as hockey, soccer, and other pro sports teams in America and Europe.

Other Anschutz holdings include the world's largest movie chain, Regal Entertainment Group, and the Anschutz Film Group, which produces family-oriented, Christian-themed movies. Its 2005 release "Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," was a huge success.

Anschutz has been an active patron of a number of religious and conservative causes. He helped fund Colorado's 1992 Amendment 2, which was designed to overturn state and local laws prohibiting discrimination against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation.

He has also helped fund the Discovery Institute, which promotes intelligent design and criticizes evolution, and the Parents Television Council, an organization that protests against what it views as television indecency.

The Los Angeles Times noted that Anschutz "has long been an advocate of conservative causes, and owning the Weekly Standard could boost his political influence even further."

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