By Kevin Greer
Lakeside Communications Manager
AllSides.com is a unique place to find news on the internet. Every article posted on the website comes from the left, right and center, no matter the subject.
In other words, all sides.
Co-creator and CEO John Gable will be in Lakeside as the season’s first Keynote Speaker Tuesday, June 6 at 8 p.m. in Hoover Auditorium. Gable will talk about his background in politics and technology which led to the innovative website he built with business partner Scott McDonald.
AllSides has agreements to run content from the New York Post, Washington Examiner, Newsweek, Fortune, Huffington Post and New York Times to name a few. Gable says he’s not trying to move people to the center with his site. It’s about getting people to think and not have to surf the internet to find different views on topics.
“We think it’s fine that people are hard left and hard right,” Gable said.” We just want them to talk with each other to solve a problem. We are not suggesting not being passionate. We’re recommending understanding the other side, listening and solving problems. Whatever your issue, the problem is because we’re not talking or listening with each other. We have to work together to solve it, otherwise people suffer.”
Gable says traffic on the website reaches around 10 million a month and has been as high as 22 million during heated election races. AllSides is also involved in social media with pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There is the opportunity for readers to give feedback on all platforms.
Gable doesn’t have a problem with cable news networks leaning left or right. He says the biggest issue is the people who aren’t journalists spreading misinformation on platforms like YouTube and TikTok, and many people believing it.
“If people don’t trust the mainstream media, whether it leans left or right, that gives more voice to the made up media or self-declared media,” Gable said. “They are repeaters just trying to get hits and money by flaming one way or the other.”
After graduating from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy with emphasis in mathematics in 1987, Gable started a career in politics, working with politicians at local and national levels. He was an intern with Tennessee Republican Senator Howard Baker, who was Senate majority leader for a short time at the end of Ronald Reagan’s administration.
“(Baker) is kind of an inspiration for me,” Gable said. “I was fortunate to be there for a short time. I’m from Kentucky and born in Tennessee, so there are different connections.”
After a stint working in President George H.W. Bush’s administration, Gable had other political positions, including Executive Director for the Republican Party headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, part of the political team for the party’s national committee in Washington, and part of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell’s staff.
After four years in politics, Gable thought it was time to, as he put it, “get a real job.” So, he decided to attend Duke University and earned his master’s degree in 1993.
“I stayed in politics longer than I intended,” Gable said. “I was very lucky. I got to work with some amazing people. It was a wonderful experience and I used technology a lot in that.”
Gable’s tech career is impressive. Not long after graduating, he moved to Seattle to become product manager of the original Microsoft team. Four years later, he headed south to Mountain View, California, where he worked as a group manager at Netscape and AOL for five years each.
After five years as head of ZoneAlarm Consumer Group, Gable decided to combine his political and tech experience to start AllSides. He got the idea during the 2008 presidential campaign between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. But it goes back to 1997 when he gave a warning of what might be ahead during a speech in Portland, Oregon.
“I described how I thought that the internet would train us to discriminate against each other in new ways,” Gable said. “It goes that far back, and that’s what really got me on this path.”
During the 2008 election campaign, Gable observed how he saw zero work on persuading the other side and more focus on getting one side
more upset with the other. It’s exactly what he predicted 10 years earlier. He and partner Joan Blades of moveon.org began to realize that the flow through the internet and other kinds of modern technology wasn’t just about the information, but also the relationship flow to help people understand and appreciate each other.
“It’s not just about media bias,” Gable said. “It’s also about misinformation, misleading or mass manipulation. We have real deep understanding of the causes of how that’s grown and how to combat that. We are working and in a lot of ways, succeeding on ways to help people out of that in a very scalable way. Our goal was to really change the course of our nation, revitalize the health of our democratic society, and do it in very tangible, measurable, scalable ways that will shift our nation in a forward direction for us to solve problems.”