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Our Critics Were Wrong

After spending 21 years in the full-time practice of law, I’m often asked the difference ...

After spending 21 years in the full-time practice of law, I’m often asked the difference between law and journalism. My answer is simple—lawyers don’t hate each other and hope their competitors fail. Oh sure, there might be an individual attorney here and there who earns their wrath, but you can spend years locked in tense litigation, and the response of opposing counsel isn’t, “I want you to lose. I want you fired. I want people to hate you.”

Journalism is just a bit different. When we launched The Dispatch, there were many, many folks who didn’t just deride our efforts, they actively wanted us to crash and burn. They couldn’t wait to see us lose our jobs. While I couldn’t quite understand the vindictiveness, I could understand the competitiveness. We were putting our careers on the line to prove an idea—that there was room for conservatives to found and run a media company fundamentally dedicated to fact-based reasoning and analysis, not to hot takes and clickbait. 

And even though we faced a pandemic in the first six months of operation—a pandemic that cost us our single-greatest planned source of revenue, live events—we’ve thrived. We have a growing, loyal base of members. In fact, our memberships exceeded our most optimistic expectations right from the start. Our podcasts are growing. And it’s all happened exactly as we hoped, by focusing on facts and rigorous analysis. 

So now we’re bulking up, as they say. The midterms are coming, and they’re going to be extraordinarily consequential. The primary season will help define the Republican Party, the November election may well end Democratic control of the federal government. We’ll be there, every step of the way, with new member benefits. 

Weekly Dispatch Lives (for members only!) start tonight. Our live-streamed conversations have always been among the most popular items we offer, but we’ve been swamped. Our growing staff frees us up to talk directly to you, and to do it more often. 

We’re also launching a members-only book club/podcast hosted by Sarah Isgur, my brilliant colleague who makes Advisory Opinions the flagship podcast in the Dispatch universe. 

And welcome to Dispatch Politics 2022. To continue with the bulking up theme, we’re injecting steroids and human growth hormone into our politics coverage in the lead-up to the election. We want you to know more, to understand more, than anyone else about the state of American politics. 

In other words, if you read or listen to us, you’ll become the E.F. Hutton of the cookout, birthday party, or happy hour. Everyone will want to know what you think.

Also, we can’t forget live events. That’s right, we’re finally going to hit the road. We’re going to gather the team and head to a city near you, and members will be our honored guests. We’ve read your emails. We’ve responded to your comments. Now we’ll get to shake your hand and talk. 

We launched our little pirate skiff into uncertain waters. There were cannons to the left of us and cannons to the right of us. Now we’re a full-fledged galleon, a majestic tri-masted ship, bustling with crew. We’ve got a 30-day free trial. You can board now, sail for a bit, and disembark if you get seasick. But we think you’ll like the voyage. Our critics said we’d sink, yet we sail on. Join us to find out why.

David French is a columnist for the New York Times. He’s a former senior editor of The Dispatch. He’s the author most recently of Divided We Fall: America's Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation.