The Daily Beast is an American news reporting and opinion website focusing on politics and pop culture. The site does not limit coverage to matters that concern only the United States. In a 2015 interview, Editor-in-Chief John Avlon described The Beast's editorial approach: "We seek out scoops, scandals and stories about secret worlds; we love confronting bullies, bigots and hypocrites." The website has won two Webby awards.
The Daily Beast began publishing on October 6, 2008, The Beast's founding editor was Tina Brown, a former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker as well as the short-lived Talk Magazine. Brown stepped down as editor in September 2013. John Avlon, an American journalist and political commentator as well as a CNN contributor, is the site's Editor-in-Chief. Mike Dyer is Chief Strategy and Product Officer and Sarah Chubb serves as Senior Advisor.
On 12 November 2010, The Daily Beast and Newsweek announced a merger deal, creating a combined company, The Newsweek Daily Beast Company. On 3 August 2013 IAC, owner of The Daily Beast, sold Newsweek (without "The Daily Beast") to IBT Media, owner of the International Business Times. In September 2014, one year after Tina Brown's departure was announced, The Daily Beast reached a new record of 21 million unique visitors - a 60% year-over-year increase in readers, accompanied by a 300% increase in the overall size of its social media community. In 2015, Ken Doctor, a news analyst for Nieman Lab, reported on Capital New York that The Daily Beast is, "one of the fastest-growing news and information sites year-over-year in the 'General News' category".
A feature of The Daily Beast is the "Cheat Sheet", billed as "must reads from all over". Published throughout the day, the Cheat Sheet offers a selection of articles from online news outlets on popular stories. The Cheat Sheet includes brief summaries of the article, and a link to read the full text of the article on the website of its provider.
Since the launch, the site has introduced additional sections, including a video Cheat Sheet and Book Beast. The site frequently creates encyclopedic landing pages on topical subjects such as President Obama's inauguration, the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, Michael Jackson, the Iran uprising, and the US Open. In 2014, The Daily Beast became majority mobile and released an iOS app, which Nieman Lab described as "the dawn of the quantified news reader".
Contributors to the publication include notable writers and political activists such as Ana Marie Cox, P. J. O'Rourke, Maajid Nawaz, Olivia Nuzzi, Mike Barnicle, Noah Shachtman, Michael Tomasky, David Frum, Stuart Stevens, , Peter Beinart, Jon Favreau, Kirsten Powers, Daniel Gross, Michael Moynihan, Jamelle Bouie, Michael Daly, Lloyd Grove, Daniel Klaidman, Jackie Kucinich, Chris Dickey, Leslie H. Gelb, Dean Obeidallah, Matt Lewis, Ron Christie, Josh Rogin, Eli Lake, Nick Romeo, Christopher Buckley, Bernard Henri Levy, Eleanor Clift, Patricia Murphy, Michelle Goldberg, Martin Amis, John Avlon, Joshua Dubois, and others, including Brown herself.
In early June 2014, Capital New York re-published a memo by outgoing CEO Rhona Murphy, stating that The Daily Beast's average unique monthly visitors increased from 13.5 million in 2013 to more than 17 million in 2014.
In September 2009, The Daily Beast launched a publishing initiative entitled "Beast Books" that will produce books by Beast writers on an accelerated publishing schedule. In March 2013, "Beast Books," now operating under the name "Book Beast," won a National Magazine Award for Website Department, which "Honors a department, channel or microsite."
In February 2010, Jack Shafer of Slate.com claimed that the chief investigative reporter for The Daily Beast, Gerald Posner, had lifted five sentences from a Miami Herald article and claimed that he had written them himself and was able to publish them in The Daily Beast under his own name. Shafer also discovered that Posner had written plagiarized content from a Miami Herald blog, a Miami Herald editorial, Texas Lawyer magazine and a health care journalism blog. An immediate internal investigation by The Daily Beast led to Posner's dismissal.
Relation with the Clinton campaign
In March 2016, Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks alleged that The Daily Beast was biased in favour of the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, stating that from the onset of the campaign in 2014, the website had twice as many positive than negative articles on Clinton. The Beast also included heavily negative allegations about Democrat opposition candidate Bernie Sanders, including allegations that he was a "sellout", not "electable", unpopular with black voters, a warmonger, an atheist Jew and a communist, allegedly accusing Hawai'i of being "too white", according to Uygur, and that his win in the Wisconsin primary, his sixth consecutive primary victory, "changes nothing" for the Clinton or Sanders campaign.
On August 11, 2016, the Daily Beast published an article titled "I Got Three Grindr Dates in an Hour in the Olympic Village", written by Nico Hines, the site's London editor, who was assigned to cover the Olympic Games. Hines, a straight married man, signed up for several gay and straight dating apps, including Tinder, Bumble and Grindr, and documented his experiences in the Olympic Village. While not specifically naming names, Hines provided enough detail in the article to identify individual athletes, leading to widespread criticism that this information could be used against closeted gay athletes, especially those living in repressive countries. Facing intense backlash online, the Daily Beast edited the piece to remove details that could allow athletes to be identified, and editor-in-chief John Avlon added a lengthy editor's note. Criticism challenging the value of the piece continued, and the Daily Beast eventually removed the article altogether and issued an apology.
Andrew M Seaman, ethics committee chair for the Society of Professional Journalists, called the article "journalistic trash, unethical and dangerous". The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association stated "The reporting was unethical, extremely careless of individual privacy and potentially dangerous to the athletes". Vince Gonzales, professor of professional practice at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism wrote "I think this borders on journalistic malpractice". President of GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis, wrote "How this reporter thought it was OK — or that somehow it was in the public's interest — to write about his deceitful encounters with these men reflects a complete lack of judgment and disregard for basic decency, not to mention the ethics of journalism".
"Donald Trump-Loving Useful Idiots of the Left"
On August 15, 2016 the Daily Beast published an article by James Kirchick which listed Corey Robin, Glenn Greenwald, Ishaan Tharoor, Katrina vanden Heuvel, and others as "Hillary Clinton-Loathing, Donald Trump-Loving Useful Idiots of the Left." The article was criticized as being inaccurate by several journalists, such as Jeet Heer, a senior editor at The New Republic and essayist Emmett Rensin, with the latter calling Kirchick "a liar and a hack." Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent tweeted about Kirchick: "Area man willfully confuses refusal to unthinkingly parrot all criticism of Trump with 'admiration' for him." Tharoor reacted by tweeting to Kirchick: "if you had a shred of decency or integrity, you would correct your ridiculous smear of me, but we know that you don't." Greenwald tweeted: "Good job, @TheDailyBeast. Way to come back from your outing-Olympian debacle. Keeping the standards high."