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The Washington Independent Passes into the Night

And only the Huffington Post and yours truly pause long enough to note the death of this obscure, Soros-funded home for wayward liberal bloggers Dave Weigel and Spencer Ackerman.

by
Bryan Preston

Bio

November 21, 2010 - 11:21 pm

So the other afternoon I’m poking around the Huffington Post, you know, seeing how the other side lives, trying to be ecumenical and open minded, catch up on any stories I might have missed.  Ok, I confess, I was just really interested in keeping up to speed on Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson snogging for the latest Harry Potter flick.  Can’t get enough of that Hogwarts gossip, and Arianna’s site is the place for that.

I see the HufflePuff is weighing in on the Bristol Palin Dancing With the Stars controversy.  It’s nice to see someone on the left finally take an interest in election fraud.

I also see that James Boyce still has his writer’s bio up on the Huffington Post:

A frequent on-air guest on MSNBC, James has been involved in the Huffington Post since the very first meeting in Arianna’s living room.

Hm.  Isn’t he currently suing Arianna Huffington over that very point?  Why yes, he is.  Seems an odd lawsuit to me, though.  Back in 2004-2005, every blogger and their dog was talking about setting up larger, newsier sites that would organize or aggregate blogs and blogging in some new way.  Sites like this one and Hot Air, where I used to work, sprung up out of discussions like those.  HuffPo was a successful part of an obvious trend.  It’s not really a patentable technology as far as I can tell.  And in the case of that lawsuit, both of the plaintiffs are still listed on the site as a contributor.  But they do all belong to the party of trial lawyers, so it stands to reason that just about every dispute ends up in court.  Eh, sue ‘em all and let an omnipotent judge sort it out.  That’s the world the lefties want, isn’t it?

Anyway, while I was catching up on all the brilliant work at HufflePuff, I stumbled upon this post, which amounts to a requiem for the Washington Independent.  That site will be closing its virtual doors on Dec 1.  If you’ve not heard of the site and therefore have no tears to shed for it, you’re forgiven.  Most folks haven’t heard of it either.  I only found it accidentally, a few months ago.  And it made a blip in the headlines in connection with the JournoList scandal.  More about that in a bit.

Sad news today, as the three year-old Washington Independent is closing its doors. Launched with the noble goal of providing substantive reporting on a number of very underserved issues, the Windy garnered recognition and launched careers. But in the end, it seems that they were a victim of the very financial downturn that they covered, exceptionally.

The “Windy” as the PuffHost blogger calls it, wasn’t the victim of any “financial downturn,” at least not that I can see.  It was the victim of a political downturn and a change in strategy.  The Washington Independent is, or was, the flagship of an outfit called American Independent Media.  American Independent Media will live on past its D.C. child, as will several of its state-by-state children.  It’s just the eldest child, which is also apparently both the most expensive and the least effective, that’s getting killed off.

Killed off, I say?  By whom?  Why, by the man who’s apparently been funding it.  Take a look at the “Donate” page of American Independent Media, and look toward the bottom.  Here’s a screenshot, to focus in on the more interesting foundations that support the AIM.

Not to go all Glenn Beck here, but Open Society Institute is George Soros.  So is the Tides Foundation, along with the Kerrys of Massachusetts.  The National Education Association, by the way, is the teachers’ union that rents the Democratic Party from the trial lawyers and the larger labor unions.  Interesting, that they’re pouring dues skimmed from hard-earned teacher salaries into some obscure nominally independent website.

There’s no way of knowing, based on that list, what percentage of AIM’s funding was coming from Soros (aka Open Society).  But AIM is the kind of thing Soros has been investing in the past few years as part of his “shadow party.”  Judging from the look of the site, commercial success was never really its intent.  It was a home for wayward liberals, and home base for their brand of advocacy journalism.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the latter, by the way, as long as it’s not done under any sort of false pretenses.  As to the former, here’s why “wayward” is a term that sticks.

The “Windy” signed off Wednesday in an unintentionally entertaining post by its editor, Aaron Weiner.

I’ve had the tremendous honor of working with some of the best young reporters in the country: Spencer Ackerman, whose tenacity as a national security reporter is completely unrivaled; Dave Weigel, who defined the modern conservative movement and understood it like no one else…

Uh, yeah.  Spencer Ackerman, the linguistically incontinent lefty whose “serial insubordination” got him fired by Franklin Foer at The New Republic.  Spencer Ackerman, the JournoList alum who loves to engage in violenct fantasies against conservatives.  This Spencer Ackerman:

… In other words, find a right winger’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear.

That lovely thought sprung from Ackerman’s mind in the course of trying to get his fellow JournoListers to defend then-Sen. Barack Obama from the Jeremiah Wright problem by asserting without evidence that any and all conservative critics of Obama were racists.  That’s Mr. Tenacity at the ol’ “Windy.”

And Mr. Weigel, whom Weiner dubs the definer of the conservative movement.  Weigel ended up at the “Windy” after JournoList got exposed, his offense being that he’d evidently played the Washington Post into thinking he was a conservative writing about the conservative movement, when he was actually an enemy of the conservative movement writing about the conservative movement.  That, and his using the JournoList to air comments such as suggesting that Matt Drudge, who was not a JournoLister, should “set himself on fire,” caused his resignation.  And immediately earned him a slot at the soon-to-be-deceased “Windy.”

Credibility obviously wasn’t one of the “Windy’s” primary hiring criteria.  For your own amusement, go read the AIM’s “Ethics” page and see if any of it resembles either Weigel or Ackerman.

More from the “Windy’s” farewell address.

Together, you have come to our site nearly 20 million times since January 2008, and for that we’re eternally grateful.

Let’s see, January 2008 to now, that’s roughly 775 days.  Twenty million hits divided by 775 days, that’s about 25,800 hits per day.  The “Windy” was all bluster — its Alexa rankings were pathetic.  I know, Alexa isn’t perfect, but still … they had Dave Weigel and Spencer “Too Hot for TNR” Ackerman.  You’d think that would be good for a few thousand extra hits per day.  Evidently, not.

So the “Windy” will blow away on Dec 1, and will go unremembered and unlamented outside the Hufflepuff Roast.

I’d have rang up Soros to ask him why he’s pulling the plug on such a pedigreed operation, but his cell phone seldom rings when he’s in his lair, plotting his next move to steal Austin Powers’ mojo.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.
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