Whatever you might think of their motives, the Franklin Center staffers claim they want to do good work. “I do believe there’s a strain of political journalism out there on the right and on the left that’s ‘gotcha’ journalism,” said Greenhut. “We do serious, point-of-view journalism. But we don’t deal with straw-men arguments. We deal with the best arguments the other side has. We’re trying to do pieces that matter.”

Justin Peters is editor-at-large of the Columbia Journalism Review.