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Online Media Start-Ups Have Something Missing: Conservatives

Liberals are upset that news start-ups aren't ... liberal enough. No one is talking about how the right is left out in the cold.

Watergate reporters Carl Bernstein, left, and Bob Woodward sit in the newsroom of the Washington Post, May 7, 1973. (AP File photo)

Online news operations are dropping in faster than Russian soldiers in Crimea. Rather than cheer like good little apparatchiks, the left-wing news universe is concern trolling. The new start-ups aren’t diverse enough, liberals complain.

It doesn’t matter if it’s ESPN’s relaunch of the former New York Times operation 538; the $250-million Pierre Omidyar-funded Glenn Greenwald site, Firstlook.org, or Vox Media. They all share the same issue.

Slate.com summed it up nicely with the headline: “The Online Journalism ‘Revolution’ Will Produce More Powerful White Men.” Horrors, not white men!

That’s the most hated demographic in all of media, especially liberal media. Not just white, but dreaded bearers of the Y chromosome. If liberals had their way, Y would be left out, not in left field. (Why? Because.)

Credit: Washington Post Ezra Klein left the Washington Post Wonkblog to start Vox Media. Credit: Washington Post

From the Guardian UK to journalism site CJR.org to The Washington Post, the criticism has been the same. The news start-ups are too white and, especially, too male. The sites need to be exploring “workplace diversity,” according to The Guardian’s Emily Bell, who bemoaned the “whiff of testosterone.”

What’s amazing though, is that none of these outlets thought to worry about political diversity. Conservatives, religious people, libertarians, Tea Partiers. None of those were considered.

In fact, just the opposite. Former Washington Post staffer and liberal wunderkind Ezra Klein just launched Vox Media. He, the beloved wonk of the left, was attacked for hiring a gay writer.

Yes, you read that correctly. Klein hired Brandon Ambrosino as a “writing fellow.” Slate slammed Ambrosino’s ideas as “reckless, retrograde, and vapid.” Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern accused Ambrosino of writing “smug sophistry and homophobia apologism.” Lefty media outlets descended on Klein for defying mandated orthodoxy.

Watergate reporters Carl Bernstein, left, and Bob Woodward sit in the newsroom of the Washington Post, May 7, 1973.  (AP File photo) Watergate reporters Carl Bernstein, left, and Bob Woodward sit in the newsroom of the Washington Post, May 7, 1973. Liberals are attacking recent news start-ups, founded by other liberals, for not being liberal enough. (AP File photo)

Politico explained the attack this lengthy way: Liberals “fault Ambrosino, a gay Christian, for believing that someone who is anti-same sex marriage is not automatically homophobic, that being gay is a choice, that people shouldn't have immediately dismissed ‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson for his anti-gay remarks and for expressing warm feelings toward Liberty University founder Jerry Falwell, despite his vehement disapproval of gays.”

Hardly right wing, but nothing is ever left wing enough for liberals.

For that, Klein chose to grovel to liberal, and especially LGBT, groups.

"I could’ve, and should’ve, handled this hire a lot better. But I would ask people to give Brandon a chance," Klein begged.

He wasn’t alone. Nate Silver, lionized by liberals for his predictive skills, now runs 538. He made a similar controversial choice. He decided to run an analysis of climate change spending by Prof. Roger Pielke Jr. Pielke wrote how “Disasters Cost More Than Ever — But Not Because of Climate Change.”

Liberals were heated in their response. George Soros-funded Think Progress complained Pielke used “flawed data.”

Glenn Beck holds a newspaper from  on his radio program Feb. 11, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV) Glenn Beck holds a newspaper from on his radio program Feb. 11, 2014. While there are plenty of new media outlets available for readers, they are mostly founded and backed by liberals...leaving conservatives out in the cold. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

“But climate scientists are condemning the article and its author, Roger Pielke Jr., saying he ignored critical data to produce a ‘deeply misleading’ result,” wrote the lefty site.

What they meant, of course, is that Pielke dared disagree with global warming alarmism. Pielke, who they admit they’ve “written about extensively,” poses a threat because he disagrees. (They understate their obsession. A search of their site shows 119 results for “Roger Pielke.”) Naturally, the solution is to attack the left-wing site because it’s not doctrinaire left-wing.

The feeding frenzy hasn’t really started yet for the Glenn Greenwald site, but liberals have always expressed mixed feelings about him despite his strong liberal credentials. He wrote a book criticizing President George Bush’s use of the Patriot Act and resides in Brazil with his husband “because the U.S. government does not recognize same-sex marriage,” according to the Advocate.

The reality is liberal credentials are never enough for the left. One departure from whatever is the official left-wing position and you are out. Look what happened to Alec Baldwin, a patron saint of lefty Hollywood.

That’s why it’s unlikely for these sites or others – Buzzfeed, Politco, et al – to even try neutrality, much less lean right. Even a slight attempt at diversity of thought and they will get skewered by the left and the journalism community. That leaves the rest of us with an ever-growing diet of well-funded liberal start-ups with too few conservative operations to balance them out.

Ironically, the Guardian’s Bell ended her piece by complaining the new start-ups were just a “repackaging of the status quo.” She added: “A revolution calls for a regime change of more significant depth.”

She’s entirely right, just not the way she intended.

Journalism doesn’t need a multi-hued, “Modern Family” of liberal reporters and editors. A true revolution would be for these start-ups to grasp that 38 percent of Americans are conservative and try to represent them, too.

Dan Gainor is the Vice President for Business and Culture for the Media Research Center. He has written for The Blaze Magazine and writes on media for TheBlaze.com.

TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.

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