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Posted at 12:23 PM ET, 02/ 1/2011

David Shuster launching new investigative Web site

By Greg Sargent

Is there a space on the internet for a political Web site focused on long-term, manpower-heavy investigative projects at a time when Web-based news orgs are racing faster and faster in the battle to maximize clicks with attention-grabbing but perishable micro-scoops?

David Shuster, the former MSNBC reporter and man-about-D.C. who was ubiquitous during the 2008 campaign, thinks so. He got in touch to share new details about his project, which he described as a for-profit "investigative journalism venture."

Shuster says he's getting close to locking down funding for the project from a range of investors, and adds that he has been spending time over at Media Matters observing their operation. He's also spent time at Politico and Yahoo.com, in an effort to see how successful Web sites have managed to build up their operations.

Shuster envisions his new site as a kind of cross between high-profile sites like Huffington Post or Politico and lower-profile but successful investigative ventures like Pro Publica. He plans to use his profile as a former TV anchor who was highly visible in the political world in order to draw publicity and attention to long-term investigative projects that would otherwise have a tougher time breaking through all the clutter and noise.

"Look at Huffington Post or National Journal or Politico -- they all do a very good job of covering what happened today," Shuster says. "But you don't have an organization that has 15 reporters going out and spending two weeks on a story -- and also has someone with TV name recognition who can be the face of the organization and go out and promote its scoops."

Shuster notes that Pro Publica is a "great model," but is less political than his planned site, which will focus on breaking high-impact investigative stories about campaigns. By combining this mission with his TV profile, Shuster hopes to create "an organization that can break though and dominate the political discourse."

Wish the man luck.

By Greg Sargent  | February 1, 2011; 12:23 PM ET
Categories:  Political media  
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Comments

I've never been a big fan of Shuster, but the media (the internet media in particular) are clearly dropping the ball on actual investigative journalism. Hopefully he's able to make something real out of this.

Two things:

First...wasn't HuffPo looking to do something similar a while back? I remember reading something about how Ariana was intending to branch the site out to include longer-term investigative projects to the site. Crashed and burned, I guess?

Second...I wonder if he'll give a ring to Keith Olberman. Not only has KO shown the ability to do stories like this ("Politics & Terror" piece comes to mind), but he has an even larger profile than Shuster does. Might be worth giving it a shot.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | February 1, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I've always liked David Shuster. Wishing him good luck and hope he rips corrupt politicians and their campaigns a new one.

Posted by: clintt5 | February 1, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

That is GREAT news! And I always thought that Shuster's strength was reporting not hosting. I do wish the man luck. In fact, I may even subscribe or donate or whatever. Real investigative journalism. Terrific news!

Posted by: wbgonne | February 1, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info, Greg, and keep us posted when he gets his site up. I agree with wbg about Schuster's strength being reporting. And lord knows, investigative journalism is very much needed.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 1, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Isn't talkingpointsmemo.com doing this already? Yes.

Posted by: dnhaydock | February 1, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Great. The liberal version of Breitbart.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 1, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Great. The liberal version of Breitbart.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 1, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The Cons review things that haven't even happened yet. That is weird behavior. Besides, Shuster is a real journalist, you know, with credentials and training and stuff.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 1, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Good luck, David Shuster. I never thought his errors in judgment merited the treatment he got at MSNBC, considering some of the other commentary heard there. I do, however, question the average two-week timeline he envisions that investigative stories will take. I'm hoping he knows a lot of that journalism can take six months to a year.

Posted by: spenmoll | February 1, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

O/T

Re: Egypt. It looks like it will be ElBaradei if Mubarak leaves soon.

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/middleeast/news/article_1616282.php/US-reaches-out-to-ElBaradei

I think that would be the best possible result for the U.S.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 1, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Good luck to Mr. Shuster, but I think a mention in the Morning Plumline round up, would have sufficed.


Now back to what is happening:

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/01/huckabee-mubarak-cascading-effect/

excerpt: Use link to read the entire article.

"Defending Egypt’s Autocracy, Huckabee Warns Of The ‘Cascading Effects’ Of Democracy Across The Middle East

Today, more than a million Egyptians appeared in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to demonstrate against the Mubarak regime and call on the long-time autocrat to step down from power and hold free and fair elections.

This morning, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) — fresh from joining a ceremony for a newly built illegal Israeli settlement — called in to Fox & Friends and discussed the situation in Egypt. He complained about the Obama administration’s response to the protests, saying that it showed that the United States has “abandoned a 30-year ally” and said that there are concerns that the protests “could have cascading effects across the Middle East.” "

........................

Apparently no one provided a copy of the memo to Mr. Huckster Bee, that claims George W. Bush is supposed to be lauded for having caused the people of Egypt to rise up against Mubarak.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 1, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

"Apparently no one provided a copy of the memo to Mr. Huckster Bee, that claims George W. Bush is supposed to be lauded for having caused the people of Egypt to rise up against Mubarak."

And the Mittster wants Mubarak to step down. GOP in disarray without agreed talking points. Could be fun. Could be a great opportunity for Obama politically, too.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 1, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

@dnhaydock | February 1, 2011 12:53 PM:

I was just about to say it seems to have been working out OK for TPM. I'd guess there's room in the market for more.

Seems to me like probably the biggest problem that newspapers have competing in the information market right now is the lingering perception that they're in the newspaper business. Newspapers used to basically ~be~ the internet, doing their best to bring us all the news that was fit to print each day on everything from farm reports, to fashion, to foreign affairs, to celebrity gossip. If you think about it, until fairly recently the only other places where you'd find an odder collection of information on unrelated topics would have been a dictionary or encyclopedia.

Maybe now that it's easy to get news about multiple topics without having 20 pounds of dead tree showing up on your doorstep everyday, there's no longer much need to have all those functions that newspapers used to fulfill centralized under one roof or in any one organization. But there's still plenty of demand for information. So I'd guess that one way or another, reports of the death of the news gathering business may yet turn out to be a tad premature.

Posted by: CalD | February 1, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

The Huckster Bee also called of the West Bank to be cleared of Palestinian, and let "The Arabs" find a piece of land for them elsewhere.

In other words:

A prominent Republican, who is getting ready to run for President, has now call for the Ethnic Cleansing Of The Palestinian People, and to have them shipped else where.

I wonder how Mr. Huckster Bee would have them shipped out, in train box cars, perhaps?

Posted by: Liam-still | February 1, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

PS: Apologies for the on-topic comment. Must have forgotten where I was for a moment.

Posted by: CalD | February 1, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

It is not a topic. It is just an announcement that David Shuster might just become pregnant, and give birth down the road.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 1, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: CalD | February 1, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Well said.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 1, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

@sbj

"Great. The liberal version of Breitbart."

Again false equivalency in the extreme. You could certainly characterize Shuster as a partisan, that will more than likely effect his CHOICE of stories to investigate...which will justifiably irritate you.

But Schuster is a journalist. Unlike Breitbart he will not LIE on purpose, obfuscate facts, and create his own stories out of whole cloth.

In short SBJ if you compare Shuster to Breitbart it is actually more of a reflection on YOUR credibility that Shuster's. Now if you had said..great a liberal Tucker Carlson...I could have perhaps agreed with you for the second time in one day..which would certainly have been a record eh? ;-)

Your worst post of 2011...I realize the year is young. :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 1, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Shavid Dushter is going to "dominate the political discourse" by parlaying his pathetic "TV profile"? Ha, now that's a good one.

Posted by: drewmean | February 1, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Count me in, David, and keep after em'.

Posted by: JEP07 | February 1, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

@ruk: "You could certainly characterize Shuster as a partisan... But Schuster is a journalist. Unlike Breitbart he will not LIE on purpose, obfuscate facts, and create his own stories out of whole cloth."

Thanks for the feedback. If I can clarify my thinking? Shuster describes his new venture as "an organization that has 15 reporters going out and spending two weeks on a story -- and also has someone with TV name recognition who can be the face of the organization and go out and promote its scoops."

I think this is very similar to Breitbart in that others (not Breitbart) do the investigating/reporting while Brietbart goes on FNC to promote his sites' scoops.

Your contention that Shuster does not lie intentionally or obfuscate facts is very debatable!

Posted by: sbj3 | February 1, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3 wrote:
"Your contention that Shuster does not lie intentionally or obfuscate facts is very debatable!"
.
A debate requires evidence and facts to support your claim. Please provide...
.
We have *plenty* of evidence of Breitbart's ethical lapses.

Posted by: rpixley220 | February 1, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

“We have *plenty* of evidence of Breitbart's ethical lapses.”
-----------------------------------
An ethical lapse is when a basically honest person, under duress, does something unethical. When being unethical is standard operating procedures it’s not a lapse.

Posted by: GabsDaD | February 1, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

@rpixley220: Just because I think something is "debatable" does not mean I want to debate it. Least of all with someone I don't even know! And I doubt such a debate would be fruitful, don't you? I'd also suggest you have better things to do with your time than to defend Shuster. I know I won't be spending my time defending Brietbart...

Posted by: sbj3 | February 1, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3 wrote:
"I know I won't be spending my time defending Brietbart..."
.
Funny how you took the time to smear Shuster with Breitbart's reputation...

Posted by: rpixley220 | February 1, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Shuster's not about to edit out any video to support his own political bent, he may omit some evidence that doesn't support his reasoning, but he's not about to revise it from it's original form.

Brietbart deliberately deceives to mislead people towards his own flawed conslusions, and calls it journalism.

If the whole video actually contradicts the premise you promulgate, using a redacted version and posing that as the whole story is tantamount to lying.

If your convictions can't be supported by the whole truth, then you are standing on shaky ground in terms of your certitudes.

And fortunately for Shuster, unfortunately for Brietbart, when it all comes out in the wash, reality has a very liberal bias.

Posted by: JEP07 | February 1, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who launches a journalism "business" from the editorial side deserves what they get.

Start with a business model. Or at least a funding source. Otherwise you're a blogger.

What is the place, industry or lifestyle being served? How many people there? What are they like? What do they buy? What do you need to do in order to grab their attention, and sell them stuff? How will you find the people who want to sell them that stuff, and convince them to sell it through you?

Those are the questions publishers ask. Journalists are not trained to ask them, which is why they usually fail as publishers.

Posted by: dana16 | February 1, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

That's the first thing I thought of when Keith Olberman left MSNBC. They would be a pair that would kick some "A". Anyway,Shuster and Olberman got the shaft at MSNBC. Good luck to both,be it together or on solo adventures.

Posted by: walkman1956 | February 2, 2011 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Please tell you again why David was fired from MSNBC.

Posted by: joetiernan | February 2, 2011 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't Schuster the hack that got fired from MSNBC for working on a pilot for one of its main competitors while still employed by MSNBC?

Posted by: hswenson | February 2, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"We have *plenty* of evidence of Breitbart's ethical lapses."

See my above post considering Schuster and HIS ethics!

Posted by: hswenson | February 2, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me that Breitbart was spot on with his investigations...ACORN was defunded and the latest flap with the Planned Parenthood fiasco..the manager of the said organization was just terminated.

http://www.lifenews.com/2011/02/02/planned-parenthood-abortion-biz-fires-staffer-in-sex-trafficking-video/

Posted by: hswenson | February 2, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Where else can DS (dumb sh*!) go except to the Internet?

When he sold out MSNBC he lost all credibility as a trusted source in the news business. What manner of individual would think that he will ever be a trusted member of the news media after his history of exploitation, manipulation, and deception? And why is his attempt to launch a web site devoted to cheap exposés be newsworthy?

When he was suspended from his last job his boss stated in an email that "[Shuster] was not moral, ethical or professional and that is not fair to the 500 people who work at [MSNBC]." Can employees of the Washington Post read, or do they simply ignore bad news when it suits their story line? And how is puffing DS compatible with WP's company image of being trustworthy and ethical? Here's your answer: It is not!

DS's proposed "investigative journalism venture" should be viewed for what it really is, i.e., a continuation of a career as an abusive investigative journalism vulture.

Posted by: USNewsLinkdotcom | February 3, 2011 6:21 AM | Report abuse

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