For a while now I've been railing against Prog websites, posing as non-ideological news outlets, whose sole purpose is to attempt to frame today's issues in a progressive bent. I call these organization "newsish" because what they produce reads like news but, after closer examination is not, in the traditional sense of the word.
The most successful of these newsish outlets is The Texas Tribune whose greatest claim to fame is establishing the untruth that Texas cut $4 Billion from public education* (an untruth that has now mysteriously grown to $5.4 Billion.) To be fair, the Tribune does some good work on elections, and the interviews they crank out are of high quality and (occasionally) entertaining (although often biased).
Some of these sites (see: The Trib) have been so successful that many now consider them to be the model for news:future.
Not so fast.
Today the newsish outlet American Independent announced they are shuttering.
While it's tempting to say that this is the beginning of the end for newsish sites I believe that what did in The Independent was more bad journalism and amateurish writing rather than some fundamental flaw in their business model. As I said before, the Tribune churns out some decent product outside of their content that's obviously written to forward the cause, the Independent was never able to do that.
I've also stated that I have no qualms about news outlets with an agenda, provided they're open and honest regarding that agenda. My problem with organizations such as The Trib and Independent is that they're continuing to put on the brave face that they're somehow objective journalists.
That's a claim that's ridiculous on it's face because even traditional journalists aren't objective in this day and age.
So hail and farewell to the American Independent. I can assure you that we will missish you greatly.
*In reality Texas' education funds, in terms of real dollars, INCREASED from the previous budget, although it was $4 Billion less than if they had kept the previous formula (Something the lege NEVER does). What Texas really did was provide the education system with a smaller increase, due to a National recession. It was one of those rare cases where an increase was successfully spun as a decrease by a dedicated few.