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Sun May 29, 2016, 06:08 AM

Politico: The fall of Salon.com

A Facebook page dedicated to celebrating the 20th anniversary of digital media pioneer Salon is functioning as a crowdsourced eulogy.

Dozens of Salon alumni have, over the past several months, posted their favorite stories from and memories of the once-beloved liberal news site described as a “left-coast, interactive version of The New Yorker,” a progressive powerhouse that over the years has covered politics with a refreshing aggressiveness, in a context that left plenty of room for provocative personal essays and award-winning literary criticism.

“We were inmates who took over the journalistic asylum,” David Talbot, who founded the site in 1995, wrote on the Facebook page. “And we let it rip — we helped create online journalism, making it up as we went along. And we let nobody — investors, advertisers, the jealous media establishment, mad bombers, etc — get in our way.”

They are mourning a publication they barely recognize today.

“Sadly, Salon doesn’t really exist anymore,” wrote Laura Miller, one of Salon’s founding editors who left the site for Slate last fall. “The name is still being used, but the real Salon is gone.”

Salon, which Talbot originally conceived of as a “smart tabloid,” began as a liberal online magazine and was quickly seen as an embodiment of the media’s future. For a while, particularly ahead of the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, it even looked as though it might be a success story. It lured famous writers and tech-company investors and went public in 1999. At the time, Salon was valued at $107 million.

“I think it’s very similar to what a Vox or a Buzzfeed seems today,” said Kerry Lauerman, who joined Salon in 2000 and would serve as the site’s editor in chief from 2010 to 2013. “There was, at first, a lot of money and excitement about Salon. There was no one else, really, in that space. ... It was kind of a brave new world, and Salon was at the forefront.”

Over the last several months, POLITICO has interviewed more than two dozen current and former Salon employees and reviewed years of Salon’s SEC filings. On Monday, after POLITICO had made several unsuccessful attempts to interview Salon CEO Cindy Jeffers, the company dropped a bombshell: Jeffers was leaving the company effective immediately in what was described as an “abrupt departure.”

While the details of Salon’s enormous management and business challenges dominate the internal discussion at the magazine, in liberal intellectual and media circles it is widely believed that the site has lost its way.

“I remember during the Bush years reading them relatively religiously,” Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress, told POLITICO. “Especially over the last year, they seem to have completely jumped the shark in so many ways. They’ve become — and I think this is sad — they’ve definitely become like a joke, which is terrible for people who care about these progressive institutions.”

So, what happened?

Read more: http://www.politico.com/media/story/2016/05/the-fall-of-saloncom-004551#ixzz4A2PuhH9v

Agree, disagree, or do you think this piece from Politico is ironic (as it could be considered clickbait itself)? Me personally, I sort of agree that Salon has gone down the tubes in real content and integrity - but it's still a step up from Vox and Buzzfeed.

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Response to romanic (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 06:16 AM

1. Salon was one of my favorites back in the day

It's several steps above Politico

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Response to malaise (Reply #1)

Sun May 29, 2016, 07:41 AM

2. I'll co-sign that.

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Response to romanic (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 08:05 AM

3. The pot calling the kettle black

 

Salon may have "gone down the tubes"", but POLITICO has become nothing more than a mouthpiece of the establishment.

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Response to mrr303am (Reply #3)

Sun May 29, 2016, 10:39 AM

12. The difference is that Politico BEGAN as a mouthpiece for the establishment

They were also a real amateur operation when they started up. In their first few months they broke at least three stories that they had to retract for being mostly inaccurate. It was clown time, but because of their connections they were able to ride out the train wrecks and stay online.

Their assessment of Salon is pretty much on target here, but the reason for an attack piece like this is because Salon's existence still seems like a threat to the PTBs

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Response to romanic (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 08:17 AM

4. Nobody's perfect.

POLITICO was started by BFEE chum Joseph Albritton. Yet, it does a respectable job of covering and breaking political news.

From "Democracy Now:



The Pinochet File

EXCERPT...

AMY GOODMAN: And who was Joseph Allbritton? I mean—

PETER KORNBLUH: Well, Joseph Allbritton was one of the big banking corporate moguls of Washington, D.C. He owned the sports team. I forget whether it was the basketball team or the Redskins. At one point he owned a bunch of newspapers and radio stations. He owned Riggs Bank. But fundamentally, he participated in a conspiracy to hide Augusto Pinochet’s money. And he—they evaded the assets—Juan Garcés managed to get Pinochet’s assets frozen, but Riggs Bank violated that court order to freeze his assets by secretly starting to funnel back to him all of his money in $50,000 cashier’s checks. They had a courrier that would bring literally bundles of these checks to Pinochet’s house in Santiago. And the story returns to Juan Garcés, because more than $8 million of this $20-plus million stash of money was given back to Pinochet illegally by Riggs, and Juan Garcés stepped in and said, "That money belongs to the Chilean people and to the victims of Pinochet." And he recovered it.

AMY GOODMAN: Allbritton’s son now runs Politico.

PETER KORNBLUH: Allbritton owned—started Politico, created Politico. And then, when he passed away, his son—

AMY GOODMAN: Robert Allbritton.

PETER KORNBLUH: —took over. So there’s still a presence of the family, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you got, Juan Garcés, millions of dollars of Chile’s money frozen, and then how was it distributed back to the people of Chile?

JUAN GARCÉS: Thanks to an investigation in the U.S. Senate, as Peter was explaining—

PETER KORNBLUH: Which was led by Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, a terrific senator.

JUAN GARCÉS: Yeah, their committee on investigations. And they accepted to cooperate with a court of justice that was prosecuting Pinochet. And thanks to this cooperation between the U.S. Senate and the Spanish court, we reached to indict the owners of Riggs Bank. That is something that is without precedent, from their own pocket—

PETER KORNBLUH: Right.

JUAN GARCÉS: —paid the totality of the money that went through the bank channels hiding the Pinochet money. And we distributed that to the victims of Pinochet that were considered such with the institution of the court. It is the only money that related directly to Pinochet has never been distributed to the victims.

AMY GOODMAN: But that money, the millions of dollars, how did you identify the victims, the survivors, and have it distributed?

JUAN GARCÉS: That was—the victims were recognized as such in the court, because thousands of them have been the object of an inquiry inside Chile by an official commission, committee Riggs, that established the list of thousands of people that were murdered, also forcibly disappeared. And we in Spain, with the cooperation of Chileans inside Chile, created a new commission for victims of torture, victims that survived the torture. And we found, through this commission, identified more than 20,000 persons. And then they have their right to receive a part of the indemnities.

CONTINUED...

http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2013/9/10/the_pinochet_file_how_us_politicians_banks_corporations_aided_chilean_coup_dictatorship



That must be some money, to have so much you can still stay rich after paying off victims of war crimes.

OTOH, Salon has done a on excellent job of going where Corporate McPravda won't venture-- covering crimes if the national security state, from Dulles brothers to Kennedy brothers, from Hanoi and Baghdad to Wall Street and Washington.

I'll go with Salon.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #4)

Sun May 29, 2016, 10:53 AM

15. Thanks for this article Octafish

You always have amazing research abilities!

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Response to romanic (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 08:46 AM

5. If Salon has gone down the tube

 

I haven't noticed. As for Politico... well, they were never out of the tube in the first place.

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Response to romanic (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 08:50 AM

6. Why? Because they haven't completely sold out to the Clinton Machine?

I'll take Salon over Politico, The Daily Beast, Mother Jones, and Vox any day of the week.

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Response to romanic (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 09:00 AM

7. I wish they'd limit themselves to ONE article about Trump per day

and another article about the non-Trump election.

How much is there to say about it?

Not as much as there are articles.

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Response to romanic (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 09:00 AM

8. Both Salon and HuffPo depend on unpaid commentators

and it shows. Until online media sources pay their writers and insist on verifiable facts in articles it's going to be this dumbing- down-telling-you-what-you-want-to-believe crap.

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Response to romanic (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 09:02 AM

9. I just find it all too negative and depressing

These days. Trying to lead a more positive life lately, wallowing in negativity accomplishes nothing for me. Trump is a ticking mess, Bernie's policy positions are failures, Hillary is in serious legal trouble, Trump and Hillary will both take us into more war, etc, etc.

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Response to madville (Reply #9)

Sun May 29, 2016, 12:19 PM

18. reality has...

.. a depressing bias in today's America.

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Response to romanic (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 09:06 AM

10. Salon = monkeys flinging poo.

Probably pretty popular in some never happy corners of DU since most of their poo is anti-Democratic Party.

It is too bad it is only online because it would make good bird cage lining.

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Response to romanic (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 09:19 AM

11. Salon's so crammed with pop-up ads that it's virtually unusable.

And the articles aren't nearly as good as they used to be. Damned shame.

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Response to Paladin (Reply #11)

Sun May 29, 2016, 10:43 AM

13. oh shit yeah. I stopped trying to look at them on a phone even before the writing started stinking.

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Response to romanic (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 10:49 AM

14. Scroll all the way down to this part (a.k.a. Follow the Money)

It seems there is a sense of urgency about Salon’s future. Hambrecht is in his early 80s, and Warnock is 75. Because Salon has run deficits for almost every quarter since it was founded, the company has relied on regular interest-free cash advances from Warnock, chairman of Salon’s board, and Hambrecht, a board member. From Salon’s founding until the end of 2015, the most recent data available, Warnock and Hambrecht have given the company nearly $20 million in cash advances, and Warnock also personally guaranteed a $1 million line of credit.

“You have two founders who are aging who were writing six-figures checks every year to cover operating costs,” one person close to the company said.

If Salon’s continued existence remains dependent on them, the company could be in a precarious position. People close to the company are not sure whether Warnock’s heirs will be as willing to continue covering the Salon’s expenses as he has been over the years. For years, staffers and Salon readers assumed that Warnock, a staunch First Amendment supporter, backed the site financially because of his commitment to journalism and to Salon’s mission.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/media/story/2016/05/the-fall-of-saloncom-004551#ixzz4A3Xe4i32

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Response to JHB (Reply #14)

Sun May 29, 2016, 10:57 AM

16. IF they aren't paying their writers then

Why do they have such high annual expenses for an online presence?

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Response to romanic (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 12:16 PM

17. I used to read

Salon, Slate, and Alternet. Hell, even HP way back when. Not anymore!

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Response to romanic (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 01:53 PM

19. Its hard to argue with this piece

There are times I pop on Salon to read it and find nothing but tabloid stuff on actors, TV shows, and fashion. Forget Sanders and Clinton biased debate, more and more the material there is just name dropping articles to get web crawler hits. It's not completely trash and there's still things worth reading, but chances are you've stopped popping by to see the good stuff or its buried under the tabloid stuff.

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