URL wonkette.com
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Politics, satire
Available language(s) English
Owner Wonkette Media
Launched January 2004
Current status Active

Wonkette is a left-leaning American online magazine of topical satire and political gossip, established in 2004 by Gawker Media and founding editor Ana Marie Cox, and edited by Ken Layne from 2006 to 2011.[1] It details the goings-on of the political establishment in Washington, DC and the U.S.

Taking a sarcastic tone, the site focuses heavily on humorous breaking news, rumors, and the downfall of the powerful. It also deals with serious matters of politics and policy. While liberal in outlook, the site is critical of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.

The name of the site is a play on the slang word wonk, meaning a 'zealous student of political policy'.[2]


Style and frequent targets

Wonkette makes frequent targets of mainstream media outlets like CNN, The Washington Post and Politico, when they are perceived as missing opportunities for substantive political analysis by attempting to get "scoops" or simply covering the actions of others in the mainstream media.[3][4] Truck Nutz references became very popular during the 2008 Presidential Election, while following the election of Barack Obama, the site also began making frequent jokes at the expense of Tea Party Protesters, Birthers, Peggy Noonan's weekly column and Sarah Palin.[5][6][7]

Regular features

Awards and accomplishments

The Bloggies at SXSW selected Wonkette as Best Political Blog in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Wonkette was chosen as a top political blog by Vanity Fair and Real Simple in 2008. Wonkette won the Best Liberal Blog category in the 2008 Weblog Awards and is nominated in the humor, politics and group-blog categories in the 2009 Bloggies. Items are frequently picked up by national broadcasts including Colbert Report, Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me and CNN.[citation needed]

Launch and history

Wonkette was established in January 2004 as part of the Gawker Media network. Its founding editor was Ana Marie Cox, a former editor at suck.com. Under her tenure, Wonkette became known for its sharp and sarcastic voice, and for its mixture of political discourse with humour such as references to gin and anal sex.[8]

Cox rapidly established a large reading audience and media notice for the site. The blog gained further national media attention after Cox publicized the story of Jessica Cutler aka "Washingtonienne", a former Hill staffer who blogged about her affair with a member of former Senator Mike DeWine's staff.[9]

Cox announced her resignation as Wonkette's editor on January 5, 2006 in order to promote her book, Dog Days, and was succeeded at Wonkette by David Lat, the author of Underneath Their Robes, a blog about the federal judiciary, and Alex Pareene, a young New York University student and Gawker intern/guest editor in New York who moved to DC for the Wonkette position. (In late 2007, Pareene moved to the flagship Gawker site and, in April 2010, to Salon.)

In June 2006, Lat announced his decision to leave Wonkette. His slot was to be filled by guest editors until August 2006, when longtime political blogger Ken Layne joined as editor. Wonkette reached its largest pre-2008 audience during the 2006 midterm elections due to scandal coverage of Mark Foley and other incumbents involved in corruption, sex-abuse and bribery scandals.

After Pareene and Layne's departure in October 2007, a team of new editors including John Clarke, Jr. and Megan Carpentier was installed by Gawker management. Gawker publisher Nick Denton brought Layne back as sole editor two months later, who put in place the team of Jim Newell of IvyGate, videographer Liz Glover, former Gawker blogger Sara K. Smith, Columbia literary magazine The Blue and White editor Juli Weiner, and longtime contributors Princess Sparkle Pony (Peter Huestis) and Josh Fruhinger, the Comics Curmudgeon.

Wonkette teams covered both the Denver DNC and St. Paul RNC conventions. Newell and columnist Josh Fruhlinger covered Barack Obama's inauguration in Washington. As with many political websites, readership hit new records between the November 2008 election and January 2009 inauguration.

Past and current guest editors and contributors include Reason Magazine editor Nick Gillespie, Washington Post reporter David Weigel, DCeiver editor and Huffington Post writer Jason Linkins, Gawker editor and The Awl founder Choire Sicha, New York comedian and author Sara Benincasa, Chicago artist and journalist Lauri Apple, Boston Globe political blogger Garrett Quinn, cartoonist Benjamin Frisch, and Vanity Fair online writer Juli Weiner.

2008 separation from Gawker Media

On April 14, 2008, Gawker Media announced that it was selling Wonkette and that Layne would remain managing editor and part owner. Gawker Media head Nick Denton attributed the sale to "hunkering down" before another dot com downturn and the Internet bubble bursts: "And, even if not, better safe than sorry; and better too early than too late...".[10] Gawker's Silicon Valley gossip site, Valleywag, was folded into the flagship Gawker.com site, its popular music site, Idolator, was sold to Buzznet, and The Consumerist was sold to Consumers Union as part of the same divestiture effort.

Wonkette Media also launched Wonkabout, a D.C. culture guide, on February 12, 2009, which is edited by Arielle Fleisher.[11] Wonkette also publishes updates on its Facebook fan page and Twitter pages.[12][13]


Trig Palin controversy

In April 2011, Wonkette came under criticism after blogger Jack Stuef wrote a post making fun of Sarah Palin through her youngest son, Trig Palin, who has Down syndrome. In response, at least 14 advertisers, including major companies such as Ford, Toyota, Verizon, Nordstrom, and Papa John's,[14] announced that they would pull their ads from Wonkette. Editor Ken Layne announced that Stuef was placed on probation and Stuef apologized for the post.[15][16][17]

Michele Bachmann controversy

In 2011, Wonkette published a story claiming that Rep. Michele Bachmann, while speaking at an event, said "who likes white people." However, closer examination of the tape revealed that Bachmann actually said "who likes wet people," as it was raining the day she spoke. A few days after the controversy, Wonkette acknowledged that Bachmann's words were intentionally distorted and that she did, in fact, say "wet" not "white".[18][19]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ ON LANGUAGE; The 'Bizarre' Bazaar
  3. ^ "Politico’s SCOOP Reveals Journalists Talk To Each Other, With Covert Digital Marxist iGroupthink Thing" http://wonkette.com/407061/politicos-scoop-reveals-journalists-talk-to-each-other-with-covert-digital-marxist-igroupthink-thing
  4. ^ Wonkette: "CNN’s Ed Henry Writes Worst Article In American History" 3/25/2009 http://wonkette.com/407264/cnns-ed-henry-writes-worst-article-in-american-history
  5. ^ Sara K. Smith, "Daily Briefing: Birthers Demand Evidence That Obama’s Baseball Pitch Was Valid And Official" July 15, 2009 Wonkette.com http://wonkette.com/409860
  6. ^ Wonkette Articles Tagged "Sarah Palin" http://wonkette.com/?s=sarah+palin
  7. ^ Jim Newell, "Peggy Noonan Discovereth Thine Twitter Machine" Wonkette.com July 22, 2009.
  8. ^ Bosman, Julie (2004-04-18). "First With the Scoop, if Not the Truth". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9402E6DA123BF93BA25757C0A9629C8B63. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  9. ^ Rosen, Jeffrey (2004-12-19). "Your Blog or Mine?". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/19/magazine/19PHENOM.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=%22Jessica%20Cutler%22&st=cse&oref=slogin. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  10. ^ http://wonkette.com/379275/yes-we-can-wonkette-goes-solo
  11. ^ "Introducing Wonkabout" http://wonkabout.com/406166/introducing-wonkabout-the-dc-guide/?from=wonkette_post
  12. ^ "Wonkette on Facebook" http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wonkette/100434040001314
  13. ^ "Wonkette on Twitter" http://twitter.com/wonkette
  14. ^ List of dropped advertisers
  15. ^ http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/weigel/archive/2011/04/20/boycotting-wonkette.aspx
  16. ^ http://www.nationaljournal.com/dailyfray/derek-hunter-attempts-to-defund-wonkette-by-boycott-20110420
  17. ^ http://www.politico.com/blogs/onmedia/0411/Advertisers_boycott_Wonkette_over_Trig_Palin_post.html
  18. ^ "Disgraced "Wonkette" Busted Putting Racist Words in Bachmann's Mouth". breitbart.com. breitbart.com. http://www.breitbart.tv/disgraced-wonkette-busted-putting-racist-words-in-bachmanns-mouth/. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  19. ^ P.J., Salvatore. "blogger who doctored bachmann video comes clearn". breitbart.com. breitbart.com. http://bigjournalism.com/pjsalvatore/2011/09/01/blogger-who-doctored-bachmann-white-people-video-comes-clean/#more-217072. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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