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May 08, 2014 11:44 AM Heritage To Rescue Objective Journalism

By Ed Kilgore

At Bloomberg Businessweek, Joshua Green chooses to play this story straight:

[The] Heritage [Foundation] has a new plan to exert its influence and, its leaders hope, win converts to the cause. On June 3 it will begin publishing the Daily Signal, a new digital news site whose primary focus will be straight reporting. “We came to the realization that the mainstream media had really abdicated the responsibility to do the news and do it well,” says Geoffrey Lysaught, vice president of strategic communications at the Heritage Foundation, who will also serve as publisher. The site aims to rectify the conservative perception that mainstream news slants to the left. “We plan to do political and policy news,” says Lysaught, “not with a conservative bent, but just true, straight-down-the-middle journalism.”

If you read the whole piece, it seems Heritage’s claims of old-school journalistic objectivity will be reinforced by a lotta charts-and-graphs (similar in style to Vox but without its “wild liberal bias”) and a visual appeal uncluttered by ad porn (thanks to generous subsidies from Heritage). “When we talk about the news, we’re just laying out the facts,” says the Daily Signal’s editor-in-chief. “We think that’s an important educational mission.”

Gee, wonder why my first thought is of a long, “educational” effort by Heritage’s social policy warhorse Robert Rector to show how Obama’s “gutted” the work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform law? Just the facts, of course.

Here’s how Heritage staffers explain the value they will add by covering big stories the MSM is ignoring:

Heritage staff offer examples including the Internal Revenue Service audits of political groups; the recent Supreme Court case Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby Stores, which touched on religious liberty issues; and the emerging debate about Common Core academic standards. Bluey notes that Heritage’s current blog, the Foundry, produced a steady stream of negative stories about Debo Adegbile, Obama’s nominee to head the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division, that eventually led to front-page coverage in the Washington Post. Adegbile’s nomination later failed in the Senate. That story is the model for how Heritage, without taking an overtly conservative position, can nonetheless inject its worldview into the mainstream press.

One can envision daily, perhaps even hourly, updates on the betrayal of America by the White House and the State Department at Benghazi!—without, of course, “taking an overtly conservative position.”

Just can’t wait for this, can you?

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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