New York and New Yorker Editors on Surviving and Thriving in the Age of Trump
"He's taken a permanent residence in my head," says Adam Moss as he and David Remnick reveal how they maintain their sanity (and build their brands) with an unprecedented and unpredictable figure in the White House.
Adam Moss and David Remnick have a kind of love-hate affair with Donald Trump. Hate because, well, you know. Love because his ascendance and election have energized the liberal masses — and provided new opportunities for New York and The New Yorker to produce quality journalism, and make some money, too. Moss, 59, who has led New York since 2004, says he's “never been more engaged as a journalist.” He’s also seen his digital brands enjoy a healthy Trump bump — traffic at the news and politics site Daily Intelligencer has risen 124 percent in the past year while more than three-quarters of the top traffic drivers at women’s site The Cut have been political stories. Remnick, 58, who has led The New Yorker since 1998, admits that even as he and his wife have been forced to institute a “no-mention-of-Trump-for-at-least-15-minutes-after-waking rule” that is rarely followed, the magazine has found renewed urgency and been on a tear, with a constant drumbeat of influential thought pieces — and subscriptions up 220 percent since the election. Here the two editors weigh in on six questions that explore how they’re coping with Trump, offer carefully worded advice for Hillary Clinton and detail how they detox from media overload.
What book should Trump read?
Remnick The Federalist Papers. And if that has no effect, which is likely, how about The Gift of Early Retirement?
Moss Ever since the Times Book Review asked Fran Lebowitz this question, it's really become impossible to answer it, since no one can improve on the brilliance of "Depends on who's reading it to him."
What is your preferred news detox?
Remnick Music. Bach, Haydn, Coltrane, a thousand things. My detox this morning is Dylan's latest, a jumbo collection of standards, Triplicate. Who knew Bob would end up crooning [1929's] "Why Was I Born"?
Moss I've become a kind of crazed draw-er. Something a little more committed than doodling, but not quite art. Does a good job of transporting me to a faraway place.
Hillary’s next act should be …
Moss I dunno, acting? I notice she's going to the theater a lot lately. She's very good at walling her private self off for public performance; she just needs a better script and maybe a little coaching from Meryl Streep. She might start with Elizabeth Marvel's part as the president-elect on Homeland. Then, obviously, Shakespeare. And by the way, if acting doesn't work out, we'll always have a place for her at The Cut.
Remnick The last thing a journalist ought to do — besides predict the future — is give career counsel to politicians. But since you asked, I hope she comes out of the woods and does the same thing we should all be doing, each in our own way: protecting and defending liberal values, which are under attack nearly everywhere.
What time does your alarm go off?
Remnick 5:30 or 6, depending on what inadvisable activity at the gym I've consigned myself to.
Moss I'm too old to need an alarm. Pop up at 7:30 every day.
What is your favorite place to eat or drink in NYC right now?
Moss Love the I Sodi, Via Carota and Buvette trifecta in the West Village where I live.
Remnick It's a mouthful of a name, but Hao Noodle and Tea by Madame Zhu's Kitchen in the Village is my recent favorite.
How has Trump affected your personal life?
Moss He's taken up permanent residence in my head. And really, I'd rather have anybody else in my head. Plus, I've gained 10 pounds. That said, I've never been more engaged as a journalist and journalism — not just ours, everybody's — has never been better.