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Here’s the problem: Running any sort of media outlet is hard these days. But want to know what is especially difficult? Running an outlet like ours that does not toe a party line and does not echo corporate talking points — but instead focuses on the gray areas of politics and policies.
Take our recent coverage. Fervent labor movement supporters were likely pleased by our story tracking the corporate legal industry’s anti-union efforts, but some of them probably weren’t too fond of our article exposing how labor unions joined with big business to block single-payer health care in New York State.
Likewise, critics of Joe Biden might have appreciated our critiques of the president for ignoring the realities of the health care crisis and stacking his administration with oil and gas shills. But conservatives surely were not thrilled by our coverage of Republican attorneys general doing the bidding of fossil fuel donors and working to derail a historic environmental case.
And my recent podcast discussion with Tom Frank was the very definition of wading into a gray, and somewhat tricky, area: We discussed the extremely controversial COVID-19 Wuhan lab-leak theory, and whether examining provocative topics like that should be avoided simply because bad actors are using the story to fuel their racist and xenophobic agendas.
Focusing on nonpartisan gray areas, and putting out stories that explore the subtleties of modern politics and corruption, tends to earn us angry comments and pushback on social media. It also means our work is less likely to garner attention from a corporate media that thrives on hot takes and zero-sum political gamesmanship. And without that attention, it’s much, much harder for us to get the support we need to continue our mission.
This is why we need you to please use this discount right now and become a supporting subscriber. We can’t keep doing this work unless more of our readers become paying subscribers.
Across the news industry, readership and funding of independent media and progressive outlets has dropped significantly since Trump left office — and that’s not surprising. The world might still be an awful mess, but it also doesn’t seem as apocalyptic as it did a few months ago, so many people probably figure they can stop supporting accountability journalism. After all, why bother with subjects that are complicated and nuanced?
That sort of mindset, however, plays right into the hands of those in power. They want the public disengaging, and they want news outlets ignoring what’s going on beyond the bounds of the partisan echo chamber, because it’s in these gray areas where they are most likely to get away with breaking the rules.
It’s why we are going to keep covering these gray areas, even if it doesn’t garner us much in the way of fans or attention. These are the subjects that deserve our scrutiny more than any other.
So if you, as a free subscriber, appreciate the unheralded stories we are covering, please use this discount link to become a paying subscriber right now.
Doing so will let us keep delving into matters that aren’t always simple or sexy — but are vital for us to build a better future.
Rock the boat,