If I’ve learned one thing during my upbringing after leaving home at 16 and joining the SEAL Teams, and later becoming an entrepreneur it’s this: If you screw up, own up, admit the mistake, learn from it, and drive on.
Life is a series of mistakes we all can hopefully learn from and become better. I’ve made a TON of mistakes in my life, business, partners, relationships, writing, friends who I thought were friends but were not! I could write a book about it — maybe I will one day. I’ll call it, “How to F___ up and be a better Person!”
So I owe you, the SOFREP reader, an apology. I already apologized to my team in our weekly team huddle. What did I get wrong? Taking advertising money for a political campaign. Specifically for Trump’s campaign.
We sent an email blast out, and after reading it, reading it again, getting criticized by my friends on social media and by SOFREP readers (some of the most vocal!), I realized what a mistake it was to dip our toes into political wastewater.
It’s something we’ve danced with in the past but never did. However, we did it and I realized quickly what a mistake it was and what a shitty signal to send to our staff and writers. Some things just aren’t worth the money, and certainly, our editorial integrity is something to be protected.
The problem today in most American news media? They pander to the duopoly of the two-party political system. Pick a side, grab the pitchforks, light the torches and head off to storm the internet castle.
To put it out there, many mainstream media outlets including FOX News, WSJ, the Post, and the New York Times, make a LOT of money (in the tens of millions of dollars) from political advertising. Wash your hands clean by endorsing a certain political candidate, and start taking campaign money… that simple.
Making money on regular ole advertising is fine when you’re showcasing that trip to the Bahamas or the latest shaving products. But it’s incredibly tricky to maintain editorial integrity if you’re a news organization that takes campaign advertising money and report on politics. The incentives are in place to play favorite, just endorse the campaign and take the money I guess. So no more tail wagging the dog for us, not anymore.
We all should be hungry for news outlets that take a different approach to reporting and storytelling. Today more than ever we need this.
Jacob and I have just updated our editorial ethics document to reflect this decision.
Our main platform will strive to be an independent news provider. Experts reporting on things we have direct experience on and can provide an informed perspective.
We want to continue as a place where multiple views and ideas can be expressed and debated intelligently.
Our ultimate goal is to serve a smart audience that isn’t packaged up with a blue or red bow on top of it. This is a readership that the mainstream media has largely ignored.
Our audience is extremely smart and appreciates this: we hear it in the comments section and through the emails you send us and the DMs you send me.
So sorry, I messed up as your publisher! But, I’ve learned from it, and the site will be better off for it.