A year ago today, my brilliant predecessor, Dodai Stewart, announced our little blog’s existence with a rhetorical question that also served as a philosophical one: “What the Hell Is Splinter?” The question could just as easily have been: How (and why) the hell do you start a new website in 2017?
If any part of your job involves spending time on the internet, then this year has felt like it’s lasted an eternity, not in the least because Donald Trump is still president. He has helped usher in an incomparably terrible time to be alive, online or otherwise; it’s impossible to effectively (or sufficiently) articulate the unyielding sense of dread that comes with experiencing the greatest moral crisis of a generation.
In the year we’ve spent trying to figure out what the hell Splinter is (and what the hell Splinter should be), a lot about the site has changed—we think for the better. What started as a mandated rebranding of Fusion’s digital presence by the bloodless corporation that owns us became a transformation driven by smart, capable people following their passions and voices to confront the crisis currently facing this country aggressively and head-on.
This has occasionally led people (when they bother to get our name right—it’s just Splinter!) to describe us as a “politics” or a “news” site. This isn’t exactly wrong, but it’s not totally accurate either. Yes, we cover the day’s biggest national political news, but it’s our goal to do so in the tradition of all the sites here at Gizmodo Media Group: from as purely transparent and adversarial (and rude and weird) an approach as possible. That has meant being unabashed in what we believe (and don’t): That the most humane and just path forward is a boldly progressive one. No compromises, no settling.
We consider anyone standing in the way of beneficial material change for everyone to be an adversary—so, the obvious villains (millionaires, conservatives, the Trump administration), but also mealy-mouthed moderates, #resistance grifters, and publications providing cover for injustice by shrouding it in the false pretenses of “objectivity” and “civility.”
Another way to think about Splinter’s mission was very neatly delineated by our former colleague Emma Roller in her goodbye post:
We need news outlets that are unafraid to call bullshit now more than ever. We need news outlets that aren’t afraid to call lies lies, or to treat this administration’s manifold grifters with the scorn they so rightfully deserve, or to call torture what it is.
Each subsequent blog we publish seeks to answer Dodai’s original question, both for ourselves and for readers. In the spirit of finding answers, we’ve put together 69 posts, in no particular order, that we think came to define what Splinter “is” in our first year. Here’s to another.