Salon.com is an online news site that was launched by David Talbot in 1995. The site is different from traditional news organizations because it focuses on real international issues but with a more conversational framework and style of writing. Additionally, writers have more freedom to structure their pieces in untraditional news ways, including embedding opinion, sarcasm and “tabloid-esque” sensationalism. In a February 2015 article from Salon, the writer, Stephan Richter, explored a number of interesting comparisons between Ukraine and Iraq in his piece “Ukraine is the New Iraq: Why History is Repeating Itself in Eastern Europe”. In it, Richter brought forward the lessons that he felt the United States should have learned from its engagement with Iraq back in 2003, including the government’s hastiness to go to war and the media’s mindless encouragement to do so. But in reality, Richter points out how the United States is repeating history as they move forward interacting with Ukraine by “only providing defensive weapons to Kiev”. He pulls together eight boldly highlighted considerations for the United States government to keep in mind as they move forward.
Unlike many traditional news organizations in their coverage, Salon has no qualms about sounding or actually being partial in their reporting. The author is openly critical about the work of the United States and goes to call Washington officials “warmongering”, “trigger-happy” and “mindless drumbeating”. He makes it clear that officials are falling short of their responsibilities in thoroughly thinking through these war processes before they engage. Richter’s eight boldly highlighted considerations are not reporting on news events like many news media outlets do; instead, his piece takes a thinking forward mentality and provides the long-term thoughts of what is happening today. His numbered points are as followed:
1. Ukraine: More Complicated than Washington Makes it Sound
2. Don’t be Monomaniacal
3. Familiar Drummers to War
4. What is the Strategy on Ukraine
5. Tell the Truth
6. Strategic Patience: Obama and Merkel as Allies
7. Economic Realism to the Forefront
8. Is Germany Really Appeasing Putin?
Additionally, the author of the piece is unique in how he frames the article with easy to read text and is in a user friendly layout. Readers can complete the piece and feel that they have actually learned something, are now more informed and have more to think about than when they started reading.