The Washington Free Beacon
|Type||Online news site|
|Managing editors||Sonny Bunch, Aaron MacLean, Stephanie Wang|
The Washington Free Beacon is a conservative American political journalism Web site launched in 2012. It states it is "dedicated to uncovering the stories that the powers that be hope will never see the light of day" and producing "in-depth investigative reporting on a wide range of issues, including public policy, government affairs, international security, and media."
The Free Beacon was founded by Michael Goldfarb, Aaron Harrison, and Matthew Continetti, who remains its editor-in-chief. It launched on February 7, 2012, as a project of the 501(c)4 organization Center for American Freedom. In August 2014, it announced it was becoming a for-profit news site.
The site is noted for its conservative reporting, modeled after liberal counterparts in the media such as ThinkProgress and Talking Points Memo, intended to publicize stories and influence the coverage of the mainstream media. Jack Hunter, a staff member of U.S. Senator Rand Paul's office, resigned in 2013 after a Free Beacon report detailing his past as a radio shock jock known as the "Southern Avenger" who wore a luchador mask of the Confederate flag. The publication also broke several stories about former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's successful 1975 legal defense of an accused rapist that attracted national media attention.
Jim Rutenburg of The New York Times described the Free Beacon's reporting style as "gleeful evisceration." MotherJones magazine described the website as having, "built genuine muckraking success" for breaking significant news stories. Commenting on the Free Beacon's success at breaking news stories, The Washingtonian's Andrew Beaujon wrote that, "the Free Beacon regularly pounds out scoops any political reporter would envy. And many of its stories are difficult for their targets simply to dismiss, because they provide that rarest of internet wares: actual news."
Its tactics have also led to attacks from media critics and watchdog groups.The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf called the Free Beacon's mission "decadent and unethical". The progressive media watchdog group Media Matters for America's founder David Brock sent a letter to news organizations in 2014 saying, "If credible media outlets regard the unethical practices of The Free Beacon as valid, all of journalism will be debased."
- "About Us". Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- Smith, Ben (5 January 2012). "How to fight liberals: Imitate them". Politico. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- Rothstein, Betsy (4 August 2014). "Washington Free Beacon goes private". Daily Caller. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- Auletta, Ken (2 June 2014). "The Hillary Show". The New Yorker. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- Friedersdorf, Conor. "The Worst Mission Statement in the History of D.C. Journalism". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
- Antle, Jim (21 July 2013). "Southern Avenger no more: Rand Paul aide Jack Hunter leaves staff, returns to punditry". Daily Caller. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- Kreutz, Liz (20 June 2014). "Hillary Clinton's Handling of 1975 Rape Case Emerges Again". ABC News. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- Rutenberg, Jim (23 February 2014). "A Conservative Provocateur, Using a Blowtorch as His Pen". New York Times. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- "Conservatives started a news website and it's actually kind of good". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
- "The Problem With the Mainstream Media: It's Not More Like the Washington Free Beacon". Washingtonian. 2015-08-06. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
- Friedersdorf, Conor (8 January 2014). "The ascendant 'smear wing' of the conservative movement". The Atlantic. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- "David Brock Advises Media Of The Washington Free Beacon's Unethical Practices". Media Matters for America. Retrieved 8 September 2014.