The Washington Free Beacon celebrated its ten-year anniversary in February. To mark the occasion, we collected our best reporting from the past decade in a new book, Combat Journalism, now available on Amazon. In it you’ll find the pieces that made us laugh, the reports that ended careers, and the news writing that best captures the spirit of the Free Beacon, from the Obama years through today’s Great Awokening. Below you’ll find my foreword, and you can read our ombudsman Biff Diddle’s review of the collection here.
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When I joined the Washington Free Beacon in September of 2019, I had spent a decade working in media, both on the right and in the mainstream.
Covering the Trump White House for three years at Politico, and as a political analyst at CNN, I saw firsthand how the assumptions of the Left are baked into political coverage, creating an echo chamber of smugness and self-congratulation that would make Ben Rhodes proud.
When the Free Beacon was founded a decade ago, the mainstream media were still trying to keep up appearances by feigning neutrality and objectivity. Covering Trump, they dropped the mask, accelerating a trend toward ideologically driven coverage that aims primarily to serve a like-minded audience.
That’s what drove me back to ideological journalism, and it’s a trend that the Free Beacon has capitalized on given that the smartest and most serious young people today, unlike those of us who came up in the industry a decade ago, no longer aspire to join the mainstream. They rightfully perceive that there is no place for them in it, and the Free Beacon has benefited from an infusion of young talent who, like me, relish being an underdog and delight in punching up.
There is no shortage of targets to aim at. We enter the next decade, like the last, with an unapologetic belief in the virtues of the United States and the principles of its founding, in a muscular American presence on the world stage, and in a strong Israel that remains a refuge for the Jewish people. Ten years in, the Free Beacon’s values remain unchanged, though the challenges to them are different than they were ten years ago.
There is the gospel of “woke,” a two-headed hydra of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. The Free Beacon has already begun to expose, through its coverage of diversity administrators everywhere from Google to Yale Law School, how the two are inextricably intertwined.
In the halls of Congress, vicious and unapologetic anti-Semites have become rockstar politicians preaching an ideology that demands an economic boycott of the Jewish state and draws absurd and slanderous equivalences between minorities in the United States and the Palestinian people.
And isolationism, once confined to the political fringe, is resurgent on the left and the right, with benefactors of both political parties teaming up to push it into the mainstream.
We’ll spend the next decade battling those dark forces with the tools available to us. At the Free Beacon, our principal tool is shoe-leather reporting animated by a love of country and a hatred of its enemies, foreign and domestic.
This book showcases how effective that tool can be. It offers a taste of our best work, arranged in chronological order, from our coverage of the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated presidential campaign to our dogged defense of the Jewish people and our latest skirmishes with the woke mob. Evident in it all is that we’re having a good time fighting the good fight. It is more than enough to hold the line for another ten years—at least.