Launching a website or blog is like having a baby. You’re never ready. So I’m soft launching Washingtonbabylon.com now and hope to be fully up-and-running right after Labor Day. What is Washington Babylon? Basically it’s a political and gossip tabloid that’s going to cover DC politicians and journalists like Hollywood celebrities — not the way they are worshiped by our current media masters, but the way they were mocked and exposed by the great Hollywood tabloid Confidential and by Kenneth Anger in his wonderful, lurid book Hollywood Babylon.
I wrote about my plans recently at gofundme and I’ll quote liberally from that now. And by the way, Washingtonbabylon.com depends on readers’ donations so please consider making a contribution now.
I’m a long-time investigative journalist who has been fired repeatedly due to clashes with management and editors. I’m currently a contributing writer for VICE and columnist for the New York Observer. I’m based in Washington — the very best place to dredge up bullshit because it’s the city’s chief manufactured product. I’ve been thinking about launching a political and gossip website for a long time but watching this sad presidential election convinced me there was no time to waste.
Everyone I speak to — Democrats, Republicans, Communists, Fascists and even Apathists — is utterly sick about this disgraceful race. We’re all wondering what to do about it other than start drinking the minute we get out of bed and swallow a fistful of illegal painkillers. Sure, we all know Hillary Clinton heads one of the most corrupt political families in American history but what are you going to do? Vote for Donald Trump, a narcissistic lunatic who is stirring up genuinely frightened working and middle class people but along with a terrifying Brownshirt element as well?
Meanwhile, the state of journalism has never been worse. There are a few scattered reporters doing great work, but the vast majority are in the tank for one party or the other and employed by plodding, dishonest media conglomerates controlled by the very same Wall Street and tech billionaires who effectively run our political system. Even journalists who want to take on the biggest, fattest targets often can’t do so because they work for them or their friends or relatives.
We’re all tired of reading political drivel and propaganda that makes Pravda under Stalin look honest in comparison. Would you prefer something written to high reporting standards but that treats politicians, the media and the entire political class with total contempt? How fun would it be to have a vicious online tabloid that mixes highbrow political investigations with the sleaziest (but truest) Washington political gossip?
That’s where WashingtonBabylon.com comes in. You want stories about Bill Clinton shacking up with two blondes at a luxury DC hotel? Coming right up. You want to know how deeply Hillary Clinton has been penetrated by Wall Street? I’m on it. You’re wondering if Donald Trump has his brain up his ass or if he doesn’t have one at all? I can answer that question. A Democrat with a coke problem? A Republican family values man whoring around town? Trust me, these things are happening right now and I will have the details.
And sure, I love this sort of high brow gossip as much as anyone but I’m also a serious writer with a long track record of success. My stories have landed people in prison, launched U.S. congressional investigations, led to FBI raids, and brought down one of the most “prestigious” banks in Washington — Riggs, which was laundering money for various foreign dictators and members of the Washington elite.
Back in 1993 I founded the muckraking newsletter CounterPunch (Motto: “Tells the facts and names the names”) and the following year was joined by the legendary writer Alexander Cockburn. In 1812, his great-grandfather, the British rear admiral George Cockburn, burned Washington to the ground. And that’s my chief goal now with WashingtonBabylon.com.
I left CounterPunch in 1999 and since then I’ve written for countless magazines and newspapers. I’ve worked on staff as an investigative reporter with the Los Angeles Times’ Washington office and as the DC correspondent for Harper’s magazine. I’ve also written a number of books, including The Radioactive Boy Scout and The Secret World of Oil.
During my career I’ve written more than 1,000 stories. I uncovered a right-wing German arms dealer who supplied the CIA with weapons for its covert operations for 40 years; I exposed the son of the dictator of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, who spent hundreds of millions of dollars in looted money in the United States; and I’ve repeatedly revealed how intelligence agencies have used “honeypots” to recruit assets.
As a journalist I am loyal to no one but my readers, which is why I attack all sides, right, center and left. But I’m a writer, not an activist. I pursue great stories even if they’re about a person or a cause I admire, though it’s always more fun to go after the world’s dirtiest politicians and mobsters.
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