Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Washington Free Beacon

Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

Print Friendly

The Washington Free Beacon describes itself as “a nonprofit online newspaper.” Published by the Center for American Freedom (CAF), a right-wing advocacy group chaired by media pundit and political strategist Michael Goldfarb, the Beacon has close ties to the neoconservative flagship journal the Weekly Standard. The Standard’s contributing editor Matthew Continetti serves as the Beacon’s editor and chief, while Standard editor Bill Kristol sits on CAF's board.

Confrontational and often sensationalistic, the site is intended to serve as a conservative answer to Think Progress, a liberal-leaning blog published by the Center for American Progress. “Our models are the Center for American Progress/Think Progress, [Talking Points Memo], and Huffington Post politics," Continetti told Politico in early 2012. "These outlets have been at the cutting edge of ideological journalism for years, and it is time for the right to emulate their success.” Added Goldfarb: “It’s very impressive what they’ve done. Obviously, I think they’re misguided and they have some horrible policy views and they’ve done some things I wouldn’t do, but the premise of it is extremely impressive.”[1]

Describing the Beacon's work as "combat journalism," Continetti proclaimed, "At the Beacon, all friends of freedom will find an alternative to the hackneyed spin, routine misstatements, paranoid hyperbole, and insipid folderol of Democratic officials and the liberal gasbags on MSNBC and talk radio. At the Beacon, we follow only one commandment: Do unto them.”[2] Despite what he apparently regarded as the novelty of an online conservative publication, Continetti filled the early Beacon staff with a plethora of experienced writers from rightist publications like the Daily Caller, the Washington Times, the American Spectator, the Weekly Standard, and the National Review Online, among others.[3]

The Beacon's reporting has lived up to its combative mission. In late 2012 and early 2013, for example, the outlet ran a series of stories dedicated to bolstering the neoconservative-driven claim that then-Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel held anti-Israel or even anti-Semitic views, a campaign that was widely panned outside right-wing media. The Beacon's coverage of the Hagel nomination prompted Antiwar.com's Justin Raimondo to lambast the publication as "a tabloid-style 'news' site specializing in smear jobs against neocon hate-objects." Raimondo added, "Half Breitbart.com, half college humor magazine, the Free Beacon is a down-market version of the Weekly Standard."[4]

The Beacon also joined in on the conservative mythmaking over the Obama administration's handling of the 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Cairo, Egypt and Benghazi, Libya. The publication was the source of a rumor that the State Department had banned U.S. Marines at the Cairo embassy from carrying live ammunition. Although the Marine Corps immediately discredited the claim, it nonetheless circulated widely in conservative media.[5]

The publication has stoked controversy by passing off sensationalistic "jokes" as journalism. In February 2013, the site ran a story under the headline "Hughes Drops Jews" that suggested that the president of theNew Republic magazine was "signal[ing] the publication’s continued drift away from a staunchly pro-Israel standpoint" by dropping "at least five prominent Jewish writers from its masthead." Critics pointed out that the publication's editor was Jewish and that half of the writers dropped were not. Goldfarb told the New York Times that story was meant to be a joke. "We're true believers, but we're also troublemakers," he said, "We get up every day and say, how do we cause trouble?"[6]

A Daily Beast blogger called Goldfarb's remark "a stunning admission." Recalling the Beacon's repeated insinuations that Chuck Hagel held anti-Semitic views, the blogger mused: "Goldfarb concedes here that his group's accusations of anti-Semitism are just for laughs." Quipping that Goldfarb "represents Bill Kristol's worst instincts," the Daily Beast writer concluded, "This is what neoconservatism has become; even a critic can lament."[7]

The Beacon has also shown a propensity for launching personal attacks against its critics. In July 2012, for example, Nation journalist Lee Fang reported that the Free Beacon had published pieces advocating an increase in U.S. F-16 sales to Taiwan, a position also advocated by Orion Strategies—a lobbying firm that counts the Taiwanese government among its clients and for which Michael Goldfarb has served as vice president.[8] The Beacon responded by publishing personal photographs of Fang allegedly stolen from a private photo account, prompting Lee to file a lawsuit against the publication.[9]

Commenting on the Beacon's sensationalistic and often lowbrow journalism, Think Progress editor Judd Legum rejected any comparison between his own publication and the Washington Free Beacon. “They are not an imitation of ThinkProgress," he told the New York Times. "They are a parody.”[10]

 

Share RightWeb

Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

Sources


[1] Ben Smith, “How to fight liberals: Imitate them,” Politico, January 5, 2012, http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=31ADA019-4DAA-4765-9C2F-C7F74FD02CB2.



[2] Daniel Halper, “Welcome, Washington Free Beacon,” Weekly Standard blog, Feburary 7, 2012, http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/welcome-washington-free-beacon_626259.html.



[3] Ben Smith, “How to fight liberals: Imitate them,” Politico, January 5, 2012, http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=31ADA019-4DAA-4765-9C2F-C7F74FD02CB2.



[4]  Justin Raimondo, "Who Funds the War Party?" Antiwar.com, February 25, 2013, http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2013/02/24/who-funds-the-war-party/.



[5] Mark Kogan, "5 Huge Lies From the Right Wing Media That Conservatives Still Think Are True," PolicyMic, March 2, 2013, http://www.policymic.com/articles/27564/5-huge-lies-from-the-right-wing-media-that-conservatives-still-think-are-true.



[6] Jim Rutenberg, "A Conservative Provocateur, Using a Blowtorch as His Pen," New York Times, February 23, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/us/politics/michael-goldfarb-gleeful-provocateur-at-intersection-of-many-worlds.html?pagewanted=all.



[vii] Ali Gharib, "Michael Goldfarb Doesn't Care About Facts," The Daily Beast "Open Zion" blog, February 25, 2013, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/25/michael-goldfarb-doesn-t-care-about-facts.html.



[8] Lee Fang, " Conservative 'Free Beacon' Fronts for Taiwan Lobby," The Nation, July 26, 2012, http://www.thenation.com/blog/169082/conservative-free-beacon-fronts-taiwan-lobby



[9] Jim Rutenberg, "A Conservative Provocateur, Using a Blowtorch as His Pen," New York Times, February 23, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/us/politics/michael-goldfarb-gleeful-provocateur-at-intersection-of-many-worlds.html?pagewanted=all.



[10] Jim Rutenberg, "A Conservative Provocateur, Using a Blowtorch as His Pen," New York Times, February 23, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/us/politics/michael-goldfarb-gleeful-provocateur-at-intersection-of-many-worlds.html?pagewanted=all.


Share RightWeb

Washington Free Beacon Résumé


Contact



Center for American Freedom

1600 K Street, NW
Suite 200


Washington, DC 20006

Phone: 202.465.8605

Email: comments@freebeacon.com





Founded



2012





Mission



"The Washington Free Beacon, a project of the 501(c)4 Center for American Freedom, is a nonprofit online newspaper that began publication on February 7, 2012. Dedicated to uncovering the stories that the professional left hopes will never see the light of day, the Free Beacon produces in-depth and investigative reporting on a wide range of issues, including public policy, government affairs, international security, and media criticism. Whether it’s exposing cronyism, dissecting the relationship between the progressive movement and the mainstream media, finding out just who is shaping our domestic and foreign policy and why, or highlighting the threats to American security and peace in a dangerous world, the Free Beacon is committed to serving the public interest by reporting news and information that currently is not being fully covered by other news organizations."


Related:

For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

President Trump and his Iranophobe supporters are itching for a war with Iran, without any consideration of the disastrous consequences that will ensue.


Print Friendly

The war of words and nuclear threats between the United States and North Korea make a peaceful resolution to the escalating crisis more difficult than ever to achieve.


Print Friendly

The new White House chief of staff, retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, is anything but non-partisan or apolitical. For the deeply conservative Kelly, the United States is endangered not only by foreign enemies but by domestic forces that either purposely, or unwittingly, support them.


Print Friendly

The prospects of Benjamin Netanyahu continuing as Israel’s prime minister are growing dim. But for those of us outside of Israel who support the rights of Palestinians as well as Israelis and wish for all of those in the troubled region to enjoy equal rights, the fall of Netanyahu comes too late to make much difference.


Print Friendly

Rich Higgins, the recently fired director for strategic planning at the National Security Council, once said in an interview on Sean Hannity’s radio program, that “more Muslim Americans have been killed fighting for ISIS than have been killed fighting for the United States since 9/11.”


Print Friendly

This is how the Trump administration could try to use the IAEA to spur Iran to back out of the JCPOA.


Print Friendly

President Trump seems determined to go forward with a very hostile program toward Iran, and, although a baseless US pullout from the JCPOA seems unlikely, even the so-called “adults” are pushing for a pretext for a pullout. Such an act does not seem likely to attract European support. Instead, it will leave the United States isolated, break the nuclear arrangement and provide a very reasonable basis for Iran to restart the pursuit of a nuclear deterrent in earnest.


RightWeb
share