$50m centrist news site shuts after one year of wealthy owners insisting that's what everyone wants

The Messenger, a news site that launched last year with $50m in funding and the promise of "unbiased," unpartisan news, has blown through it all and is shutting down. It projected that it would make $100 million a year. It made $3 (three) million in nine months.

The Messenger is not offering any severance to its employees, many of whom it recruited from major media outlets, per two sources familiar.

Axios writes that "The Messenger was built on the flawed premise that a big, generic news audience has value. It doesn't anymore." Even then, words doing a lot of work in that sentence include "built", "big", "generic" and "news."

Here's founder Jimmy Finkelstein in a launch fluffing at the The New York Times last year:

Mr. Finkelstein cited what he described as CNN's limited coverage of the southern U.S. border and Fox News's downplaying of the Capitol riot as the type of coverage he would like to address.

"I find that bias in the news is not so much what the people report, but what they don't report," he said. "So it's really a question of not commission, but omission." … Mr. Finkelstein acknowledged that he and Mr. Trump had known each other socially for decades, adding that he's friendly with Democrats, too.

Then, they had a fancy word for what they were doing, "polyperspectivity". Now they just fired everyone—300 people—and wiped the whole site off the internet. Justin Baragona at The Daily Beast:

The announcement that The Messenger is no more puts a final coda on the site's tumultuous nine-month run, which was beset by questions over its antiquated business model, executives fleeing due to clashes with Finkelstein's handpicked president, journalists quitting over the site's reliance on clickbait aggregation, and employee dissatisfaction with management's lack of communication. Not to mention, of course, the company's disastrous inability to draw revenue.

There's "burn rate" and then there's this, a Beirut warehouse explosion of money. The New York Times calls it "one of the biggest busts in online news."

"Centrism," so-called, represents a thin slice of the American public, overrepresented within media. In the most pragmatic sense conservatives see them as weakly liberal, progressives see them as halfwits, and everyone sees they have nothing at stake but money.