March 13, 2015


The Washington Free Beacon Is Unapologetically Conservative. It's Also Kind of Good. (Nick Baumann, March/April 2015, Mother Jones)

On July 21, 2013, Sen. Rand Paul reluctantly accepted the resignation of Jack Hunter, a.k.a. the "Southern Avenger." Hunter had been one of the senator's closest aides and had coauthored the Kentucky Republican's 2011 book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington. But before that, a reporter revealed, he'd been a pro-secessionist shock jock who donned a Confederate-flag wrestling mask and annually toasted Abraham Lincoln's assassin. Why, Paul was asked a few weeks later by a National Public Radio host, would he have worked with someone like Hunter? "Many of the things he wrote were stupid and I don't agree with," the presidential contender answered. "I do think, though, that he was unfairly treated by the media."

The scoop that put Paul on the spot "and led him to blame the media" didn't come from the New York Times, a Kentucky paper, or even a Democratic opposition researcher. Credit belonged to Alana Goodman, a reporter at the Washington Free Beacon, an avowedly conservative website that had launched just a year and a half earlier.

In its short history, the Free Beacon's tiny staff of fewer than two dozen journalists has pulled off an almost unprecedented feat: Amid a conservative movement that has often evinced something between disinterest and disdain for the work of investigative reporters, it has built genuine muckraking success.

Posted by at March 13, 2015 4:28 PM

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