Salon: Attkisson's Not Much, But She's the Best Thing About Heritage's 'Awful' New Website

On Wednesday, Salon's Simon Maloy suggested that the Attkisson-Heritage relationship is a match made in conservative heaven given that Attkisson's Benghazi-related resignation from CBS was an "act of career martyrdom" which made her "a candidate for canonization by right-wing pundits and activists."

"Conservatives," Maloy snarked, "love [Attkisson] for her willingness to flog Obama scandals long after they’ve been debunked and/or ceased being relevant." He added that as it stands, "the Daily Signal will have to lean heavily on whatever gravitas Attkisson provides because the rest of the site is just awful."

From Maloy's piece (emphasis added):

    Sharyl Attkisson...became a heroine to conservatives for her intense, unerring, borderline obsessive focus on Benghazi. She ended up resigning from the network in March, implying that her bosses were trying to censor her and infect her reporting with malicious political bias. With that act of career martyrdom she instantly became a candidate for canonization by right-wing pundits and activists, and an important figure in the ongoing Benghazi conspiracy, which assumes a certain amount of media complicity in covering up THE TRUTH.

    Since then Attkisson has made the rounds with conservative journalists, helping to confirm their already firmly cemented belief that the mainstream media is infested with sneaky liberals who act on orders from the Obama White House. Meanwhile, the rest of us have been wondering where Attkisson would go to practice her brand of fiercely independent journalism – where she could be free from political influence and the corrupting forces of ideology.

    Now we know. The Heritage Foundation...Earlier this week, the Heritage Foundation unveiled its revamped news website, now called the Daily Signal. The best-known name on the site's masthead is that of former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson, listed as a “senior independent contributor.”

    Attkisson’s a big get for the Daily Signal. Conservatives love her for her willingness to flog Obama scandals long after they’ve been debunked and/or ceased being relevant, so [she] brings an audience of people who still get mad over Solyndra. And she’s a big-name journalist to whom media people still pay attention, even though she’s done some terrible work and her former colleagues thought she had a poorly concealed anti-Obama agenda. For now, the Daily Signal will have to lean heavily on whatever gravitas Attkisson provides because the rest of the site is just awful.

    Here’s a sampling of their big stories from Day One:

    Heritage employee Hans von Spakovsky approves of Benghazi select committee.

    Republicans need to win to stop Obama.

    How to amend the budget process with a clunky and utterly humorless reference to “Airplane!”

    Benghazi. Benghazi. Benghazi. Benghazi. Benghazi. Benghazi. Benghazi. Benghazi.

    The best of the bunch is this piece by Heritage Foundation vice president James Carafano, titled “How Obama Should Have Handled Benghazi.” The answer Carafano came up with may shock you:

        President Obama had a perfect model for how to respond to the scandal in the wake of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. He could have turned to the actions of another president — Ronald Reagan — to show him how to quickly regain the trust and confidence of Congress and the American people.President Obama had a perfect model for how to respond to the scandal in the wake of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. He could have turned to the actions of another president — Ronald Reagan — to show him how to quickly regain the trust and confidence of Congress and the American people.

Wow. Ronald Reagan. What a curveball...

The conservative media is littered with news websites formed by conservative pundits and activists who despise the “liberal bias” in the media and set out to correct it. The Daily Signal is trying to break into that already crowded space while also offering unbiased reports to appeal to mainstream audiences while also featuring reports from staffers who work at the conservative think tank that bankrolls it. “We plan to do political and policy news,” Heritage VP Geoffrey Lysaught told Capital New York last month, “not with a conservative bent.”

One can’t be a counterbalance to the “liberal media” and be unbiased at the same time. Eventually they’ll have to choose, and since it’s easier to fall back on the built-in audience of conservatives who only want to read what they already believe, the Daily Signal will likely end up preaching to the same choir as Breitbart, the Daily Caller and every other conservative answer to the Huffington Post.
 
Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson is a contributing writer for NewsBusters