American Legal News: Cutting Through the Noise

In November 2016, former real-estate mogul, Donald J. Trump, was elected President of the United States. Ever since that moment, many progressives and even some conservatives have fumbled trying to make sense of what happened — an event that fundamentally altered the assumptions of many politicians and pundits.

Media outlets often associated with the liberal wing have responded with myopic fury, focusing on just a few eye-catching headlines while, in the process, failing to fully cover the damage that the new administration has actually caused. In this climate, small media outlets can cut through the mainstream shouting match by disseminating useful information pertaining to concrete political and legal affairs. That’s precisely what American Legal News is doing.

The mission of American Legal News is to provide quality news about legal issues of interest to attorneys and lay people alike. The goal is to stay away from the hype and to report on substantive information that impacts the US legal system and the general public. ALN does this by collecting the top legal news from reputable sources such as the American Bar Association, NPR and the Legal Intelligencer while at the same time generating exclusive reporting on substantive legal issues that are not as thoroughly covered by the mainstream media.

Available Critiques

Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept has written extensively on the mainstream media maelstrom, and so has Corey Robin. The former has highlighted the lack of journalistic integrity that has accompanied the pursuit of a Russia-Trump link. To that end, Greenwald analyzed in December a false story reported by CNN with “excitement, breathlessness, and gravity.” Mr. Robin, for his part, has suggested alternative strategies for critique, focusing primarily on the Republican plan to take over the judiciary — a plan promulgated mainly by GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Concrete Issues

In focusing on current legal and political affairs, ALN crosses legal/political boundaries, while avoiding the in-your-face style of corporate media outlets like MSNBC, Fox News and CNN. Rather than publish eye-catching headlines, ALN produces content around issues that tend to get buried by the ongoing media circus. For instance, it is perhaps noteworthy that, in today’s environmental-policy climate, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has changed its tune on questions of environmental justice. And what of the state of labor unions in the US? How does a Republican majority at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) affect worker protections? At ALN, we tackle these questions. We also highlight Supreme Court cases that could have grave consequences for undocumented immigrants and other residents of the United States.

Staying Relevant

These issues directly affect people in their everyday lives. The stories published by ALN are useful for anyone curious about the actual effect of the current administration, the legislation being proffered throughout the country and the impact of important judicial rulings. Other outlets might gravitate toward the inter-departmental drama played out on Twitter, the confusing ramblings of our current president or the ongoing Russia investigation. As noted by Russian-American Journalist Mosha Gessen (and Greenwald in his own commentary on Gessen), the magnetic pull toward all-things Russia derives from a desire to bring down the administration, but this desire is better complemented by a deep critique supported by concrete evidence. Referring to Gessen’s argument, Greenwald writes the following: “This crazed conspiracy mongering is further discrediting U.S. media outlets, making Washington seem even more distant from and irrelevant to the lives of millions of Americans.” He continues, quoting Gessen: “Russiagate is helping [Trump] … by distracting from real, documentable, and documented issues.”

Important Distinctions

The he-said-she-said stories that circulate in the mainstream media may do more to obscure than to clarify the present state-of-affairs. It is thus important to distinguish between material, verifiable action — whether legal, regulatory or broadly political — and stories that, without substantiation, remain “irrelevant to the lives of millions of Americans.” In this regard, ALN hopes to bring a little clarity to the world by providing articles that are relevant to all people who reside within the borders of the United States.