Conservative Combat Journalism

Jacob Laksin is a senior writer for Front Page Magazine. He is co-author, with David Horowitz, of The New Leviathan (Crown Forum, 2012), and One-Party Classroom (Crown Forum, 2009). Email him at jlaksin@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter at @jlaksin.


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One upon a time, the mainstream media reigned unchallenged. Posing as impartial news gatherers, the institutions of the elite media filtered politics through the decidedly left-wing-lens of most journalists even as they pronounced themselves above the concerns of partisanship. But the mainstream media monopoly on the news – and, just as crucially, the context in which it is set – is under siege like never before. With the rise of FOX News and the Internet, a new generation of combative conservative journalists has begun to challenge the media’s grip on conventional wisdom. The journalistic right’s latest venture is the Washington Free Beacon, an online conservative magazine launched this week. FrontPage magazine caught up with the Beacon’s editor-in-chief, Matthew Continetti. Prior to joining the Beacon, he was opinion editor of the Weekly Standard, where he remains a contributing editor. The author of The K Street Gang: The Rise and Fall of the Republican Machine (Doubleday, 2006) and The Persecution of Sarah Palin: How the Elite Media Tried to Bring Down a Rising Star (Sentinel, 2009), he joined Front Page to discuss his new magazine, the state of the media, and “taking the fight to the left.”

FP: In your introductory essay, you describe what the Washington Free Beacon will be doing as “combat journalism.” What is combat journalism and why is it needed?

MC: Simply put, combat journalism is research, reporting, and writing that takes no prisoners. The more closely one follows the news, the more one notices that the mainstream media apply a far different standard to conservatives and Republicans than to liberals and Democrats. Most liberal reporters—but I repeat myself—believe that conservatives and Republicans, whatever the charge, are guilty until proven innocent. They happily impugn the motives and actions of individuals who do not share their politics while turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to those who do. The WFB’s mission is to flip the terms of the debate—to report intensely and accurately and actively, but with a different set of assumptions, and a different group of targets, than the establishment press.

FP: On the WFB‘s homepage, you write: “At the Beacon, we follow only one commandment: Do unto them.” Can you explain what you mean by that?

MC: It’s our modification of the golden rule: We will do unto the left as they have done unto the right.

FP: What kinds of stories do you want to see the Beacon covering?

MC: We’ve assembled a fantastic team of reporters who will cover the administration, the Democrats in Congress, the institutional basis of the progressive movement, the weakness of liberal internationalist foreign policy, the cronyism endemic to the “green jobs” crusade, the rising threats of Iran, Russia, and China, and the overall hypocrisy and self-dealing of the elite.

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  • StephenD

    BRAVO to Matthew Continetti and the “Washington Free Beacon.” I look forward to reading this publication and wish him well.

    It is about time….

    • JohnAdamSon

      Dittos to your comment! I hope they will hone in on exposing the Progressives (RINOS) within the Republican Party as well b/c it is loaded up with them and they are aiding and abetting this administration with the systematic destruction of our country!

    • fiddler

      This is reminicent of what led up to the sting that O'Keefe and that girl did to expose corrupt ACORN. I was THRILLED to see example after example exposing their illegal tactics, while all the while receiving tax payer money.

      It is scarey how these people can do things so patently ILLEGAL and have the nerve to cry foul when they are found out.

      My hope is aggressive, confident conservatives like this can have in your face debates with the likes of Chris Matthews. When he interviews conservatives the look in his eye is like he wants to bite their head off. He is someone who needs to be held up as a COMPROMISED journalist, unable to report objectively about obvious power grabs of this administration. To him someone who speaks negatively about the the current White House occupant is like personal fighting words. Facts about this to him are purely beside the point.

  • Mo_

    We don't need to do unto the Left as they have done to us. They have outright LIED about us! All we need to do is tell the TRUTH about them.

    • Ralph

      I agree and I hope that Continetti will stress that continually. If they area as agressive as the left but with real journalistic integrity then I think that they will do well and contribute.

      My fears are:

      a) They will be tame or uncritical of those on the 'right' just because they will be one of us. If Romney is the best we can hope for we don't need our own press to back off. More than anything, if he wins, we need to push him even further to our positions.

      b) They will in fact lose credibility with unsupported attacks.

      c) They will be tepid in their adherence to priniciples and not want to touch crucial issues like race or immigration for fear of being labeled in one way or the other, i.e. a self-imposed speed limit. Or even worse, begin adopting some of the left's positions. If, for example, they start doing hit pieces on Tom Tancredo because the Larry Kudlows and the Dan Henningers want growth at all costs and don't care about the social costs of unchecked immigration then I will dismiss them as yet another establishment organ.

      I'm not saying they have to agree with my positions but they should present the full conversation on any issue. So far it seems that they are promising this and I really hope theystick to their guns. The left needs its ox gored as much as possible.

  • Jim

    I find it more than a little amusing that the contraction for the Washington Free Beacon is WFB. WFB is to me the true beacon of conservativism, William F Buckley.

  • tagalog

    Combat in which no prisoners are taken is usually classified as action that constitutes a war crime, namely, an atrocity.

    Personally, I object to the metaphor.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Fox News is the news network of record for the country club blue blood RINOs. It is in no way conservative. Meanwhile, the Weekly Standard is also the favorite of the country club blue blood RINOs. It is also in no way conservative. Thus, it would be an overstatement to say that I'm less than enthused.

    • Questions

      The Weekly Standard is a "blue blood" magazine? I don't think so. Or maybe this is your envy of the well-off showing.

      • ObamaYoMoma

        They are RINOs like you and just like you they don't have a conservative bone in their bodies. You obviously don't get around much.

      • tagalog

        Oh, I don't know; the Weekly Standard is pretty much run by Bill Kristol, who has been characterized as a neocon, but he's the son of Gertrude Himmelfarb and Irving Kristol, whose conservative credentials are impeccable.

        • ObamaYoMoma

          Bill Kristol is not only a leading RINO, but he was also one of the biggest cheerleaders of GWB's greatest expansion in the size, scope, and power of the federal government ever in American history.

          Additionally, he advocates that the Republican Party abandon conservatives and conservative values and principles in favor of attracting more liberal Hispanic voters because Hispanics will eventually become the largest demographic in the future. Which is why he supports the Republican Party using amnesty as a bone to attract Hispanics.

          Further, he was also one of the biggest backers of GWB's incredibly fantasy based and counterproductive nation-building missions in Iraq and Afghanistan that were founded on false PC multicultural myths and misconceptions about Islam that preordained both of them into becoming the two greatest strategic blunders ever in American history, that not only caused trillions of dollars of taxpayer's money to be needlessly wasted for nothing, but also led to the needless deaths or maiming of thousands of patriotic American troops again for nothing.

          Not to mention that the reason the national debt exploded totally out of control and through the roof in 2008 the instant the economy headed south was also because of GWB's greatest expansion in the size, scope, and power of the federal government, ostensibly to protect the homeland from so-called terrorist attacks, but really to create the false sense of security necessary so that GWB could continue appeasing his oil rich Saudi benefactors by accommodating mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage. As a matter of fact, mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage that is really for the purpose of stealth demographic conquest was actually increased after 9/11 thanks to GWB.

  • NotaBene

    'ConservativeS Combat Journalism'

    Fixed.

    • Advocatus

      Mainstream journalism doesn't need combating much. It's pretty much a lost cause as it is.

      • Maxie

        Not as long as Soros has his stooge in the WH to set-up cushy insider trade deals for him around the world. Obama makes Soros richer and Soros keeps the MarxiCrats and their media allies wallowing in money.

  • SoCalMike

    This is a great idea.
    The Left has so polluted the news with lies they make real pollution look benign and good by comparison.
    American journalists are among the most despicable things our society has ever produced.
    Welcome the Free Beacon