Trifecta of Dreck

Oxnard, Calif.

Wow! You guys are brilliant. It took me a couple of minutes but then it hit me: the July 30/August 6 issue is a test! The Nation is trying to figure out if its sophisticated, astute, lefty readers are still able to discriminate between PC and BS!

First off is the beautifully done back cover ad featuring Mitt Romney as pro-union hero! I have to admit I was taken in for a few seconds before I figured out the Center for Union Facts and its ERA front are as opaquely right-wing as Mitt’s smile. Disappointingly, the inside back cover from our old friend FLAME was too easy; we’ve gotten plenty of practice digging through their trash. But the sidebar ad on page 2 by Lorna Salzman—that Lorna Salzman? Green Party candidate, environmentalist Salzman?—bookending FLAME’s racist rhetoric was the best of the bunch! How slick of The Nation to try to catch us with that one!

Anyway, I’m glad to say I saw through all of them and have passed your “IQ Test for Lefties.” Do I win a Nation T-shirt?



New York City

As a longtime subscriber, I have always supported your policy of accepting advertising money from anyone, but do you have no standards at all? I’m referring, of course, to “Are you an Islamophobe?” Would you run an ad by an Aryan group comparing blacks to apes? How about a big, colorful God Hates Fags on the back cover? You should be able to recognize hate speech when you see it, and reject it.



Buffalo, N.Y.

Have I missed a change in advertising (or editorial!) policy? Have you investigated the Center for Union Facts, or even glanced at the “employee rights” website promoted in its ad? Such a stomach-turning antiunion message is inappropriate for The Nation. This twenty-year-plus reader is stunned.



St. Paul

I never thought The Nation would take money from and run a full-page ad for a unionbusting organization like the Center for Union Facts, which doesn’t provide facts; it provides antiunion propaganda. I am beyond disappointed and am canceling my subscription.



Woodstock, Ill.

I stopped by my mailbox, retrieved my copy of The Nation, walked up the driveway, flipped the copy over and was shocked to see the face of Mitt Romney in the full-page ad for the “Employee Rights Act.” Why would a magazine that has as its mantra “Nobody owns The Nation” allow an organization like the Center for Union Facts to put an ad against unions on its back cover? I am a nurse and a granddaughter, daughter, sister and wife of union plumbers. These men work hard for a decent wage, defined pension and union representation to protect their rights. It is not “time for a new labor day,” as the ad says. Allowing this ad is allowing the anti-labor, anti-workforce industry to “own The Nation.”



Shoreline, Wash.

For haters of your occasional politically incorrect ads, the July 30/August 6 issue offered an embarrassment of riches: good old FLAME, the “Islamophobia survey” and the Center for Union “Facts.” Might I suggest, partly to head off the complaints of some readers, that you regularly publish a small acknowledgment of the potentially offensive ads—along with thanks for their financial contributions to left journalism.


The Nation Replies

We know we can count on our readers to let us know when you disapprove of something we do. And you did—in droves. The presence of these ads in our pages is not in any way an endorsement of their content. As readers know, The Nation is a strong and vocal supporter of unions; nor does it agree with the content or tone of the FLAME and “Are you an Islamophobe?” ads.

Accepting advertising is a balancing act between practicality and purity. As our advertising policy statement ( says: “We accept [advertisements] to help pay the costs of publishing. We start, therefore, with the presumption that we will accept advertising even if the views expressed are repugnant to the editors…. Ethics and practicality are interwoven throughout…the issue of how to enable journals of opinion to survive.”

We know readers would like to see progressive content and advertising. However, The Nation’s longstanding policy of accepting most paid ads has allowed it to continue publishing through these difficult times, when an alarming number of newspapers and magazines are closing their doors. We believe Nation readers can be sympathetic to the larger picture our policy tries to protect.

And, yes, Robert Schwartz definitely deserves a Nation T-shirt.THE EDITORS


Mine Is Bigger Than Yours

Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

One of the most enduring economic myths is that if higher taxes are imposed on the wealthy, they will exit the labor and investment markets. Not necessarily, according to John Stuart Mill, who stated: “Men do not desire to be rich but to be richer than other men.” It’s a need for increased relative wealth rather than after-tax absolute wealth that often motivates the wealthy.



Fight the Fraud!

Whitehouse, Ohio

We receive many solicitations from “services” fraudulently representing themselves as agents of The Nation [see “Fraud Alerts” in the magazine]. A suggestion to readers: put their return envelopes in the mail. That “recycles” the paper fiber and penalizes them a bit. Business return mail is billed by weight. If one has surplus cardboard, this suggests a beneficial use for it.



Correction: Worse and Worser

Katha Pollitt’s September 17 “Subject to Debate” column stated that the GOP platform has called for a complete ban on abortion since 1998. In fact, it’s worse than that: the GOP platform has called for such a ban since 1984.