Web Exclusives: More
June 6, 2001:
Political junkies create Web site for opinion and analysis
John McIntyre '91 and Tom Bevan '91 offer a wide
range of views, including their own, at www.realclearpolitics.com
By Rob MacKay '89
After having met when juniors, it didn't take long
before John McIntyre and Tom Bevan realized that they shared an
addiction which couldn't be overcome. Now, the two '91ers have joined
forces in an attempt to reach out to others with the same affliction.
"We're political junkies and obsessive
newspaper readers," says McIntyre, who majored in economics
at Princeton. "So we decided that we would help people like
us who don't have the time to cruise around the Web, but want to
read the best articles of the day. We set up a one-stop shop where
we do all the hunting, so others don't have to."
Launched in August of 2000, www.realclearpolitics.com
provides Internet users with commentary and analysis of current
events, featuring links to five-eight daily articles -- usually
op-ed pieces or editorials -- from newspapers such as the Los Angeles
Times, the New York Times, or the Washington Post. It also offers
updates on Congressional happenings, transcripts from political
talk shows, polls, and McIntyre and Bevan's own spin on things.
Then there are links to other sources, the affiliate programs with
amazon.com and the National Review and RealClearMarkets, a paid
subscription service for those interested in Wall Street.
The articles selected invariably demonstrate McIntyre
and Bevan's political bent, about which they are unabashedly forthcoming.
The Web site itself informs that " RealClearPolitics attempts
to counterbalance the common liberal bias of the mainstream press
by providing a more realistic look at the issues. Above all, we
believe in freedom, personal responsibility, and the free market
capitalist system -- [but do] not receive monetary support from
any political party or outside interest groups."
Some of the articles they have chosen recently
include: "Bush's Political Smarts," from the March 7,
2001 New York Times; "Jackson's PUSH Took State Money, Didn't
Do the Job," from the March 6, 2001 Chicago Sun-Times; "Clinton
Library Fundraiser Helped Perjurer Get Pardon," from the March
4 Washington Post; and "Democrat Slams Party for Stance on
Tax Relief," from the February 28, 2001 Washington Times.
"I'm not really a die-hard Republican
because my interests are less on social issues, more on taxing and
spending," explains McIntyre, who used to work for the Chicago
Board of Options Exchange and stills does a little trading on the
side. "But I definitely don't want the government telling me
what to do with my property...Nevertheless, any political junkie
-- even a liberal -- would enjoy our site because the topics we
choose are current."
Use of www.realclearpolitics.com was greatest
during the presidential election and its aftermath. In November
it registered 2.7 million user sessions; in December there were
1.8 million. Bevan, a history major who used to work in advertising,
estimates that the site averages about 700,000 user sessions a day,
a number he thinks will grow as the date for elections for Senate,
Congress and various gubernatorial races draw near.
Always a team, Bevan and McIntyre haven't assigned
themselves titles and are the only full-time employees at RealClear
(except for a Webmaster). Having finally found the appropriate professional
outlet for their passion, they both claim to be in it for the long
run. But they have appeared on radio talk shows and would welcome
the opportunity to be talking heads on a Sunday morning television
show. Will this eventually lead to one (or both) of them seeking
"I really don't think so," says
Bevan, "neither of us has that kind of ambition. Politics is
so calculating, so staged. We try to unspin it. Besides, I've now
written almost 100 articles since we began. I've gotten used to
speaking my mind, I wouldn't be able keep my mouth shut when I had
Rob MacKay, is an editor at Timesnewsweekly, a
weekly newspaper in Queens, New York. He can be reached at email@example.com.