Stories That Resonated in 2016

A review of the top posts here at Political Animal in 2016 demonstrates a couple of themes about what readers can expect from this blog.

One group of stories that garnered a lot of attention had to do with revelations during the presidential campaign about the Clinton Foundation. To lay the groundwork for an understanding of that story, I wrote “Some Facts About the Clinton Foundation.” Based on the response to that one, it is clear that there was a big appetite for facts and information on a story that was being spun relentlessly in the media.

As that story took shape, what you found here at Political Animal was our work to call out the media for their insinuations and suggestions of possible impropriety from the Clintons, while not reporting that the facts of their investigations exonerated them. That approach clearly resonated with posts like, “How the AP Spun the Story About the Clinton Foundation” and “How the Press is Making the Clinton Foundation Into the Next Benghazi.”

I found it encouraging that this group of stories found such a wide audience. It means that there is a market for facts and information that shine a light on a big story, as well as an attempt to hold the media accountable when they go off the rails.

The other theme that emerges from a review of our top stories is one that validates this part of our mission statement at the Washington Monthly:

We don’t chase news cycles, or obsess over the endless political horse race. We care about how the government can be improved, and why it hasn’t; who’s a fraud and who isn’t; which ideas ought to be banished from the nation’s capital and which ones deserve to be championed.

Last summer, Paul Glastris wrote: “Elizabeth Warren’s Consolidation Speech Could Change the Election.”

Warren is, of course, famous for her attacks on too-big-to-fail banks. But in her address yesterday, entitled “Reigniting Competition in the American Economy,” she extended her critique to the entire economy, noting that, as a result of three decades of weakened federal antitrust regulation, virtually every industrial sector today—from airlines to telecom to agriculture to retail to social media—is under the control of a handful of oligopolistic corporations. This widespread consolidation is “hiding in plain sight all across the American economy,” she said, and “threatens our markets, threatens our economy, and threatens our democracy.”

As Glastris went on to say, this is a topic that the Washington Monthly has been focused on for some time now. Most recently it has been the subject of an article by Phillip Longman in the current issue of our magazine and a post by Martin Longman here at Political Animal titled, “The Beginning of a Democratic Response.”

The coverage of that story demonstrates how this publication provides leadership in highlighting an issue that deserves to be championed, but it often missed in our media’s obsession with the endless political horse race or the crisis of the moment.

Those were the top stories produced here at Political Animal this year. They pretty much tell you all you need to know about what to expect from the independent reporting and analysis you find here day in and day out.

As 2016 comes to a close, we’re proud to have brought you those stories, and encouraged that so many of you responded to them. But we need your help to keep it up in 2017. If you haven’t already, please consider making a tax deductible contribution to the Washington Monthly right now by clicking on the banner below. It’s people like you that make this all possible and for that, we are immensely grateful.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .