Left-wing pioneer of explanatory journalism Vox acquired tech outlet Re/code in 2015 for $15 million. Re/code had been founded just 18 months earlier by influential liberal tech journalists Kara Swisher and Walter Mossberg.
"I think we did a great job with the journalism and the brand, but you have to realize your capabilities, and what it is you actually want to do," Swisher said of the sale. For her part, she wanted to get back to doing journalism. Swisher is an outspoken, openly gay progressive expert on Silicon Valley. She hosted the Recode Decode podcast for Vox from 2015-2020.
A full integration with the progressive media group followed and, in May 2019, Vox Media announced the launch of Recode by Vox. Joining the already left-wing staff, Samantha Oltman, formerly of Buzzfeed News, became Recode’s editor in 2019. Oltman previously reported on tech for Wired and was a fellow at far-left magazine Mother Jones.
While the platform does examine the tech industry with skepticism, that criticism comes from the left, such as encouraging companies to limit speech, turning to pro-regulation experts and complaining that Facebook’s ban on new political ads the week before the 2020 election was “not nearly enough.”
Its progressive writers are also openly anti-Trump. In the same article complaining Facebook’s election ad ban was inadequate, Vox Recode warned: “And now that bad actors — everyone from spammers to Russian hackers to Trump and his enablers — have figured out how to use that system, they are doing so.”
Recode also has a partnership with Pierre Omidayr’s Omidyar Network for its Open Sourced section. The left-wing eBay founder spent $250 million to build his own massive media powerhouse: First Look Media. He also gave more than $200 million to liberal groups including George Soros’ Open Society Foundations and funded the anti-Trump media outlet: The Bulwark.
- Recode revealed its willingness to control online speech when it praised Facebook’s efforts to combat COVID misinformation in 2020. A caption in its story declared, “Facebook is finally taking an assertive step toward combating misinformation, one that’s been on the wishlist of policy experts for years.” The story emphasized “experts” who want Facebook to moderate content more heavily. Of course, the outlet failed to admit those opinions almost invariably come from the left.
- In the Omidyar-funded Open Sourced section, Recode promoted regulation of artificial intelligence after complaining algorithms can be racist and sexist. The article ignored the possibility of built-in political biases.
- Open Sourced dismissed GOP claims of social media bias against conservatives, claiming: “there’s no strong, empirical evidence that Facebook is systematically biased against conservatives.”
- Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka said Twitter is “Trump’s favorite place to lie directly to the public.” And when Twitter fact-checked former President Donald Trump, Recode called his social media executive order a “tantrum” and a “a way to distract from more serious issues and is well aware this is a way to gin up his base and generate anger to help propel his campaign forward.”
- Recode admitted it flagged militia groups on Facebook to have them removed.
- “Give everybody the internet,” Recode argued in September 2020. The article complained about private sector control of internet infrastructure and quoted a Georgetown fellow who said leaving broadband services up to market demands was “a colossal failure.”
- The site blasted Trump and Sen. Josh Hawley’s legislation to alter Section 230 with an article headlined: “The Trump administration’s flawed plan to destroy the internet as we know it.”