Photo of the author delivering the keynote address at the New Horizons in Journalism conference in Sofia, Bulgaria

Off Message is a newsletter by me, Brian Beutler, about politics, media, and culture in America, and about how to see past the distorting effects—the lies, jargon, and talking points—that can make these realms so confusing.

The hope is to re-establish a beachhead for a kind of liberal political journalism that has become a bit hard to find recently, but that embodies a more insurgent spirit—where it seems natural rather than heretical that new ideas and leaders should challenge older ones, and liberals have the confidence to confront the forces of reaction directly across a range of liabilities. 

That’s the sensibility I was trained with and have nurtured over a nearly 20 year career in journalism. In that time I’ve been a beat reporter, leading coverage of Congress, policy, and politics for the news website TPM; a columnist for the New Republic; and editor in chief of Crooked Media. I’m a widely cited analyst and reporter who’s launched and hosted multiple podcasts and has been published in the country’s most prestigious outlets, including the New York Times.

Why subscribe?

My background is one half of the equation. The other half is you. If you wish political writing had a more freewheeling spirit, consider joining this community. If you’re tired of media that either speaks only to the like-minded, or asks you to place party loyalty above independent thinking, you will be at home here. If you’re frustrated, angry, or worried that mainstream news outlets have set about trying to reposition themselves between the two parties, when democracy itself is on the line, we can challenge them together.

Let’s join forces to make liberal politics a more welcoming, authentic space, and hold mainstream media accountable.

Paid subscribers will receive three column- or essay-length editions a week, along with a weekly entry in a video series meant to help consumers decode the news, and a weekly AMA style chat. Subscribers to the free edition will receive a topical essay every Friday, which will endeavor to make sense of a week’s worth of news, much as subscribers to Big Tent received when I wrote for Crooked Media. But they'll miss out on:

  • All my entries in full;

  • The complete archive;

  • The ability to comment on articles, and pepper me with questions once a week;

  • Complete, ad-free videos, and bonus video content that won’t be available anywhere else.

If you’re already sold—if this rundown speaks to you, or you’ve followed my work over the years and want to support it going forward—you can also choose to become a Founding Member. If you do, you’ll get special access to events at least once a quarter including Zoom conversations, and live events or tapings.

Our free launch period ended on October 20, as did the early-subscriber discounts. But we’ve made the discount rate permanent for students and public employees and will offer more special discount windows for everyone a few times a year. If you missed out on the launch, and want to see what Off Message is all about before you pull the trigger, please enjoy this seven-day free trial. Let’s build a more enjoyable, freewheeling, Off Message public life together.

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Because vigorous internal debate isn't a weakness—it's essential.


Founder of Off Message, a newsletter about politics, media, and culture, without the jargon or talking points. Formerly Crooked Media editor in chief, New Republic senior editor.