The bottom line: Regnery felt it was time for a younger focus, new staff and eventually a younger editor to revive the conservative thought magazine. The American Spectator Foundation board, satisfied with the print publication and daily website, wanted a different marketing focus to draw in new readers and advertisers.
Regnery, former president of Regnery Publishing and author of “The Ascendance of American Conservatism,” the authoritative history of the movement, said to stall further circulation declines he was urging changes to reach younger audiences. He was also pushing for longer and more impactful journalism from the magazine famous for its “Troopergate” story about former President Clinton’s affairs in Arkansas and more recently its “Ruling Class” report about political elites.
His board and editor, however, said changes were needed on the business side, Regnery’s territory. At the board’s request, Regnery resigned effective February 20, telling friends that his ideas were rejected and the magazine preferred to continue “without my help.” A new publisher hasn’t been named.
Regnery said in a memo to friends that the changes he was advocating would help the Spectator “fill a void in American right-of-center political journalism.” But, he added, “as the editor-in-chief remarked, he has edited the magazine for the past 40 years and is entirely competent to continue doing so, and needs no assistance.”
Tyrrell said that the magazine has a good focus already on younger readers and noted that his board includes younger journalists like former Washington Times Editor Sam Dealey. “I think we’ve got youth covered,” he said.
Tyrrell said he’s already moving past the controversy. “The magazine is continuing and all’s well.” He added that Regnery “did a great job.”