Reached by phone on Monday morning, Gould told the Erik Wemple Blog that he’d resigned “amicably” and would be moving on to another pursuit, though he didn’t specify what it would entail. Over the past month, Gould has been on leave from the publication to address a family medical issue.
For those who aren’t familiar with Gould’s version of the New Republic, don’t blame yourselves: There wasn’t much of it. He was hired a little more than a year ago, and among his first tasks was to manage a crisis, which is a healthy species in the offices of the magazine. In early November 2017, Hamilton Fish, the publisher and president of the New Republic, resigned after women had voiced complaints about his conduct in the workplace. “Women have longstanding and profound concerns with respect to their treatment in the workplace. Many men have a lot to learn in this regard. I know I do,” noted Fish.
Following Fish’s departure, Gould stepped in to serve as acting president in addition to handling his editorial duties. They were immense too, because Gould had to reconstruct the business side of the organization, a task that included a search for a new publisher. In February 2018, the magazine announced that Gould would serve as president on an “ongoing basis,” while adding Rachel Rosenfelt as publisher. The announcement, too, made clear that McCormack carried three titles at the magazine: owner, chairman and editor in chief.
So who’s in charge of what?
Gould appears to have been laboring under a legacy setup at the New Republic. For three decades starting in 1978, owner Marty Peretz — who’d bought the title in 1974 — served as editor in chief of the magazine, hiring a series of editors whose professional lives he proceeded to torment. “They conceded Israel to him, and Marty, in return, let them run the rest of the magazine,” noted the New York Times in a look-back at the Peretz days. The setup guaranteed a great deal of drama, prominent placement for Peretz’s pro-Israel and often bellicose views and some memorable journalism.
Upheaval and turnover have extended well beyond the Peretz years. Hughes bought the magazine in 2012 with grand ambitions and an infusion of cash to bring it fully into the digital age. Things were going well under editor Franklin Foer, until Hughes decided that, somehow, they weren’t. In early December 2014 came the news that Gabriel Snyder, who’d formerly worked at Gawker, would be replacing Foer as part of a new makeover complete with web-tech-publishing buzzwords and nonsense. Also gone was longtime New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier, who was accused last year of sexual harassment by various former female colleagues.
In 2016, Hughes succumbed to lack-of-commitment-itis and sold the publication to McCormack. Gould wasn’t even the first editor in this new regime; he succeeded Eric Bates, who lasted about a year-and-a-half in the job.