The Washington Independent Passes into the Night

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.