The Nation's Immune System and the Cost of Lies
On Byline Times’ first anniversary, a big thank you to all our readers and subscribers for your support.
Disinformation, deflection, distraction – when we launched Byline Times a year ago we had a sense that the media was failing to tell you important stories about corruption, injustice and electoral interference, and that a new independent source of news was needed.
A year on, after nearly 1,400 articles from nearly 200 writers, just under four million views online and 12 monthly print editions, it seems that there is an audience for fearless, investigative journalism that doesn’t follow the relentless 24-hour news cycle, but pursues the story where ever it goes.
We’ve looked at threats to democracy across the world, media manipulation, the rise of far-right populism, Brexit Party funding, the transatlantic connections between Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, dark money, international oligarchy, hedge funds, lobbyists, Russian interference, the genocide against Uyghurs and the Rohingya, the ‘Omnicide’ of the climate change crisis, English nationalism and identity, and whether it’s the end of the road for the United Kingdom as we know it.
And now, a year on, with most countries in the world under a drastic lockdown because of the Coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been at the forefront of criticising the ‘herd immunity’ policy approach of the British Government and the dangerous negligence of Donald Trump.
For us, a fair and honest media is the immune system of our body politic. It keeps corruption and abuse of power at bay. But, if that immune system is itself compromised, the health of the nation suffers.
In all this, what has guided us is not political affiliation or a contrarian spirit, but a reliance on evidence over opinion, direct experience over distant assumptions, and the voice of the many instead of the few. We’re not perfect. We all have our biases. But we’re passionate about getting things right, and partisan towards the truth – no matter how difficult that may be at times.
Soon we’ll be launching a book, Byline Times 2020, with the publisher Unbound, to share some of the most long-lasting and important reads from our first year. Thanks to your support, we’re just a 100 or so short of the 5,000 subscribers we had made our target for this summer. We’re well ahead of our goals for sustainability and, with your help, we’ll be commissioning more writers and expanding our reach and range over our second year.
In the meantime, our remit is even clearer during this unprecedented crisis – both to tell it how it is and to point out those who are trying to deceive you. As Valery Legasov, the chief scientist who exposed what really happened in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, said on a tape before he died: “Where I once would fear the cost of truth, now I only ask: what is the cost of lies?”