Know Your News Source: The Baffler

The Baffler, founded in 1988 by Thomas Frank and Keith White, is a cultural, political, and analytical magazine. Per their website, The Baffler is, “America’s leading voice of interesting and unexpected left-wing political criticism, cultural analysis, short stories, poems, and art.” They publish four print issues each year, but they also produce daily online content. Print issues are available in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

The Baffler’s first motto was: “the journal that blunts the cutting edge.” This is illustrative of the publication and tone; the journal is known for its hard-hitting critiques of business culture and neoliberalism, exposing the inner workings of various industries. One of The Baffler’s most famous articles, “The Problem with Music,” written by producer Steve Albini, sought to expose the hypocrisy within the music industry during the heyday of indie, garage, and punk rock.

Though The Baffler relies heavily on social and political analysis and critique, their weekly online stories cover current and breaking news events. Their regular subjects include: “Silicon Valley snake-oil, the deadening weight of consumer capitalism, our faithless media, and the redemptive promise of people claiming control of their own lives.” The journal is, as noted above, heavily left-leaning in its coverage and analysis.

For those who like to listen to their news and cultural commentary, The Baffler has an answer. They produce two podcasts: “Whale Vomit,” by Amber A’Lee Frost and Sam Kriss, and “News From Nowhere” by Corey Pein. The magazine also organizes literary events and debates with current and former contributing editors.