I would not want my previous posting to leave the impression I think the current dehydrated state of literary criticism is due entirely to the failings of academe. Mainstream "literary journalism" is at least as culpable as the academy in its inattention to what is actually being written by contemporary poets and fiction writers. Few and far between are the general interest publications that feature any extended analysis of contemporary literature, and those that do usually have an underlying ideological agenda to advance in the guise of literary criticism (The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, The New Criterion.) This is partly what makes the current turmoil at the New York Times Book Review so frustrating, since it is one of the few publications to examine poetry and literary fiction without such obvious biases.
Still, criticism of fiction from a political point of view would arguably be preferable to none at all, as long as not only explicitly "political" fiction was chosen for review. At The Nation, for example, one can comb through issue after issue and find almost no reviews of current fiction. Granted, The Nation is a political magazine, but I can recall a time when this magazine did review fiction, even though one knew such reviews would be filtered through the "progressive" political lens. At its online site (current issue February 16), vaguely "literary" reviews are offered of Terry Eagleton's After Theory and Colin McCabe's Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at Seventy, but neither could be said to concern literature (or in the latter case film) in any meaningful way. The Eagleton review identifies Eagleton's discipline as "literary study," but goes on to discuss politics and cultural theory as if this is of course what a literary scholar studies. The Godard review (by David Thomson, otherwise an excellent film critic), by its nature discusses Godard's "life" (and his politics), although Thomson does attempt a little discussion of Godard's work, as if taking whatever small opportunity being assigned a biography affords him.
Something like this obtains as well at National Review Online, the conservative counterpoint to The Nation, where in fact no books are discussed at all, only politics. Again I seem to remember that this magazine at one time did attempt to engage with current works of literature, although perhaps I am merely waxing nostalgic for my student days when I pored over all new publications for their coverage of literary news. I myself don't agree with the relentlessly political attitude toward culture to be found in both of these publications, but as more broadly "journals of opinion" such magazines could be asked to consider fiction and poetry as aspects of culture more expansively conceived. Couldn't they?