Accuracy in Media

A leading, liberal political magazine will close its doors at the end of the month unless it can raise $500,000 to close a budget shortfall, according to The Huffington Post.

The American Prospect, which has launched the careers of many liberal journalists, let the staff know last week that the magazine is in dire financial straits.

According to HuffPo, Prospect editor Kit Rachlis told them that they are “making an all-points effort to fill that gap with individual donors, institutional donors, as well as readers and subscribers.”

Despite the slow economy and the general state of affairs in the magazine industry, Rachlis was extremely hopeful that they will be able to raise the necessary funds to save the magazine.

But the $500,000 the magazine needs is just the beginning. Rachlis said that they hope to secure another $500,000 in pledged support by the end of June to continue operating through the rest of the year.

The American Prospect was founded in 1990 by Robert Kuttner, Paul Starr and Robert Reich, who wanted to demonstrate that liberal ideas still had a place in America, during a time of rising conservatism.

That was during the heyday of magazines, both liberal and conservative. But today the environment is very different after a brutal recession, the rapid advance of the Internet, which has cannibalized magazine subscriptions, and the subsequent decline in interest in printed news and opinion.

What the Prospect needs is a wealthy, liberal white knight to take over and fund the magazine like Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has recently done with his purchase of The New Republic. While Hughes will get some personal satisfaction from having saved TNR, he will probably also take a financial hit as the magazine is likely to continue to lose money, just as the late Sid Harman found out after he bought Newsweek two years ago.

So far no one has stepped forward to save The American Prospect. If Dave Weigel of Slate is right — that the overall climate of the progressive donor movement is indeed bleak, then it’s probably time to play taps for TAP.

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