Writer Says Right Wing ‘Commentary’ Sacked Him Over Pro-Gay Post

MyersDGHere's something you don't see everyday: a conservative writer claiming his editor fired him for supporting marriage equality.

Ohio State professor D.G. Myers (pictured) says John Podhoretz, editor of the right wing literary magazine Commentary, let him go over a piece called "GOP Can't Be the Party of Old White Men" in which Myers wrote, "If marriage is everything we conservatives say it is, why should we want to deny its moral benefits to gays?"

An excerpt from Myers' piece:

If the Republicans are going to be the party of married churchgoers, though, they need to change their tune on two key issues. They must drop their opposition to same-sex marriage, and they must quit obsessing over illegal immigrants. These two issues alone are almost entirely responsible for the Republicans’ image and reputation as the party of old white men.

What conservatives do not seem to grasp is that same-sex marriage is not an issue for gays only, but also for the young, who support it overwhelmingly, without question. And if the GOP really is the party of marriage, shouldn’t it be in favor of extending the goods of marriage to as many as possible? If marriage is everything we conservatives say it is, why should we want to deny its moral benefits to gays? The point is to stand for marriage, for an institution that promotes human freedom, and not to barricade ourselves behind the status quo ante. That’s how the party of freedom becomes the party of reaction.

Myers, who was invited by Podhoretz to write for Commentary in 2011, posted another pro-equality message on his own blog the following day — that was called "The Conservative Case for Marriage" — and within hours he received a note from Podhoretz giving him the boot.

Podhoretz, whose father founded Commentary in 1945 as an extremely right-wing literary review, claims there were other tensions between him and Myers and that he had wanted to fire him before the gay marriage article. Podhoretz also noted the article was too overtly political for what is meant to be a publication on letters and described Myers' allegations are an "abominable lie." He also called Myers' support for equality is "goopy and overheated."

Still, he says in a post at Commentary, "The issue was not the content," but Myers' tonal insubordination.

[Myers] did not have the authority to redefine his blog in this fashion. This is something he clearly accepted and understood in the past, because there have been times when he has reverted to his old blog, A Commonplace Blog, as he did tonight, to publish things he clearly understood were beyond the scope of Literary Commentary.

This overstepping—coupled with other, more bureaucratic matters I’ve alluded to here—was not the cause of the parting of the ways between D.G. Myers and COMMENTARY. It was more like the last straw. And I would have done the same if he’d put up a post on tax policy, or China, or Dick Morris’s prognostications.

In another twist that provides further evidence our nation has turned a corner on marriage equality, the New York Daily News reports that Myers' conservative friends are defending him against Podhoretz on Twitter. Wrote one Myers fan, "Why are you homophobic? And why are you so terrified of independent minds discussing gay marriage in @commentary?"


  1. Maguita says

    “Editor of the right wing literary magazine…”

    Literary and right-wing have become antonyms. You cannot put them together in the same sentence structure expecting a positive intellectual direction.

  2. Steve says

    He isn’t free from spouting oxymoronic, logic-free nonsense though:

    “Marriage and churches are among the ‘mediating institutions’ that conservatism most warmly affirms, because they stand between the individual and the encroachments of the state. To defend them is to defend freedom.”

    If the outcome of his argument is him defending marriage equality fine, but he is pro-marriage for all the wrong reasons.

  3. scott long says

    You’ve got your history wrong … John Podhoretz’s father didn’t found Commentary. It was founded in 1945 by the American Jewish Committee, and Norman Podhoretz didn’t become editor until 1960. Nor was it founded as “an extremely right-wing literary review.” In its heyday it was a nonpartisan and highly respected journal, and was a major publication venue for leftists such as Hannah Arendt and Irving Howe. Moreover, when Podhoretz Sr. took over in 1960, he was a liberal who at first anchored the magazine more firmly in the left. By the late 60s, though, he was trending right. It wasn’t until the 70s that the magazine became one of the first important havens for neoconservatives.

  4. Daniel says

    At first blush I was tending to agree with the ’employer’, if the writer is writing for a literary magazine he shouldn’t drag politics into it.
    HOWEVER, a short visit to said ‘literary’ magazine shows it to be almost completely political, and in an extremely distasteful way.
    Rantings about Jews, the UN, Maureen Dowd’s ‘repellent slime’, and on and on.
    The writer was fired for not marching in lock-step to the extreme right wing ideology, that is plain.
    His protestations are a smoke screen.

  5. EchtKultig says

    None of this is unexpected. Over the next few weeks we will surely see more episodes of the conservative hydra eating its own young for failure to conform to ideological purity.

  6. DannyEastVillage says

    “Marriage and churches are among the ‘mediating institutions’ that conservatism most warmly affirms, because they stand between the individual and the encroachments of the state. To defend them is to defend freedom.”

    Podhoretz needs to be glad that the state DOES encroach upon the church. If the modern state had not begun to do so in a meaningful way (beginning in the 17th Century) inquisitions, burnings of heretics, hanging of witches and every other kind of meanness the mind of so-called “religious” people can devise would be part of our national life. Thank God for the encroachment of government.

  7. DannyEastVillage says

    @ Scott Long: VERY interesting–so Poehoretz IS Jewish. Difficult to understand why a Jew would be willing to trust a country’s national/political life to so-called religious people. The viewpoints ingrained in European Roman catholics and protestant Christians, time out of mind, made effective kindling for the fires under the crematoria in Dachau and Auschwitz.

  8. Bob says

    The people of the religious right now needs to be closely watched and monitored for being dangerous predators of free speech as well as civil rights and freedoms, etc..

  9. Michael says

    The GOP will never change, they were out in full force on the Sunday morning talk shows spouting the same crap. It was particularly irksome listening to how they must start including everyone but, to paraphrase, just not the gays.

  10. Bernie says

    what a fine example of the kettle calling the teapot black….there is a group of right wingers that call Obama a Nazi because of his liberal slant; but this employer is really the Nazi by not allowing his employee freedom of speech and freedom of the pen; what I am getting at is that this editor cannot tolerate any differences in his belief system at all; this is epitomizes the Republican/conservative movement where differences cannot be discussed, viewed or challenged… sad

  11. Randy says

    So Podheretz wanted to control Myer’s own personal blog? Now, I can see controlling what goes on in your own publication, Commentary. But to then extend that to any contributor’s own blog?

    Seems to me that if you cherish freedom, you would allow your writers to write whatever they choose to in their own blogs. To attempt to control what they write elsewhere is more akin to fascism.

    Obviously, Poderetz is a control freak and terrified of thoughts independent of his own. Who would waste their time with such a person?

  12. mikeflower says

    American Zionists, aka neo conservatives, don’t care a witt about how anti-semetic the right wing appears. They know that they can get the US military to go to war for Israel if they gain the upperhand in US foreign policy.Podhoretz & Co are Israel Firsters.

  13. Mary says

    I’m not sure why Myers being pr-same sex marriage would bother Podhoretz. Most of the neocons under 50 are not very socially conservative. And it’s possible that some of their proclaimed social conservatism is a strategy to keep the Republican coalition together. My guess is that neoconservatives will adapt very quickly to the legalization of same sex marriage as it occurs. However, I wouldn’t judge the whole conservative movement by their actions. The neocons have always been a small group of leaders without very many followers. Contrary to their fantasies, they don’t set the tone for the whole right-wing. Getting socons to accept same sex marriage will be difficult. They’ll probably give up only when the writing is on the wall.

  14. anon says

    The neocons were always vehemently anti-gay, even when they were left wing. They became conservative when the left in general opposed the Vietnam War and they were for it. At that point they found common ground with socially conservative evangelicals. Their foreign policy has always been about using American military force to reshape the world.

  15. scott long says

    While many of the neocons aren’t interested in social issues, some very distinctly are: their basic argument is that because capitalism tends to erode social bonds, including the family, it’s necessary to have a countervailing influence in the form of strong government action against social “deviance.” This is the case made by Gertrude Himmelfarb, for instance, a historian and particular Commentary favorite. Irving Kristol used to complain that British appeasement in the 30s was enabled by pacifist homosexuals who didn’t want to see beautiful young boys blown apart in a war. And John Podhoretz’s mother, Midge Decter, published a strikingly homophobic piece called “The Boys on the Beach” back in (I think) 1980– a fullbore attack on gay culture mainly famous because it led to Gore Vidal’s riposte “Some Jews and the Gays” (http://www.thenation.com/article/169197/some-jews-gays#).

  16. Mary says

    Scott, I think you’re right. I actually read Decter’s “Boys on the beach” piece many years ago. Basically its theme is that there was a certain beach resort she and her family went to that was (for it’s time) very receptive to gay people. Her claim was that over time the gays became aggressive and tried to turn it into a “gay resort”, being rude and intolerant to the straight people there. Essentially, the gays sort of “took over.” The essay would come across today as brazenly homophobic, yes. But by the standards of 1980 it wasn’t too way out.

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