US Senator Ted Cruz has launched a podcast about the ongoing impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, but there’s a problem – he’s using the name Verdict, and that’s ours.
Technically the full name is Verdict with Ted Cruz, but in press coverage and through the hashtag #Verdict, the podcast is already being widely referred to by its shortened moniker – even by Ted Cruz himself.
The logo for the podcast, which uses a blocky all-caps style, even significantly resembles our own, particularly the variant that we use for our digital magazines.
We’re pretty annoyed about this, to put it mildly. Either Ted Cruz and his co-host and interviewer Michael Knowles didn’t even do basic research when they were putting this project together, or the senator is so arrogant that he didn’t care that he was using another publication’s name.
Now you might wonder why this really matters. Verdict is a technology news site known for breaking data breaches and covering the real-world impact of new products and developments. Verdict with Ted Cruz, meanwhile, is a podcast where a high-profile senator answers soft questions in the middle of the night about what happened that day in Trump’s ongoing impeachment trial.
But here’s why it really matters: this self-satisfied podcast, which ultimately panders to the converted and will do little to convince anyone to change their mind about the US President, damages us.
How the Ted Cruz podcast harms Verdict
While we primarily cover technology, this regularly brings us into the world of politics.
Politically, Verdict is neutral, whereas Cruz is a man who supports the death penalty, opposes gun control, denies climate change and opposes giving DREAMers a path to citizenship. We’re British, after all, and here Cruz’s views would be considered to the extreme hard-right of politics.
Verdict being in any way confused with Cruz’s podcast, therefore, is a serious issue, particularly when it comes to approaching US-based experts for comments on stories – which we regularly do.
We also don’t want anyone to visit our site and assume it must in some way be related to Cruz – because for many people, particularly much of our target audience, realising you’re on a news website related to a rightwing US senator would be a reason to immediately click away.
Then there’s the fact that Cruz is not only a US senator and on-and-off presidential hopeful, but also has a net worth that is in the millions.
By contrast, we are a relatively small news site (albeit one that is part of a much larger business intelligence company). We’ve worked hard to build a reputation in the industry we cover, and I am proud of how much we punch above our weight in the fiercely competitive world of tech journalism. But we are no match for a man that powerful. Through sheer weight of numbers, Cruz could crush us, and the high-quality journalism we do, for no reason other than personal gain.
#StopTedCruz: Relaunching our podcast and taking back the Verdict name
So we need to fight back. And first of all, we’re doing it with our podcast. Because as you may have noticed, Verdict has its own podcast, which started long before the Trump impeachment had even begun.
Ok, so it has been on hiatus for some time because we haven’t been able to allocate the resources to do it justice, but today we have decided we can’t afford to not revive it.
So may I introduce you to the new-and-improved Verdict podcast, which is available to stream on our website, and is also available via Spotify.
But that’s not all. We will also be taking the fight to social media, through the hashtag #Verdict. From now on, every article we tweet will include this hashtag, and we ask that anyone who supports us does the same when sharing our content.
All we want is for Cruz to change his podcast’s name to something that isn’t the same as ours. And if you care about protecting good journalism from the callous naming choices of right-wing politicians, I ask you to help.
Share this article with the #Verdict hashtag. Share any of our content with the #Verdict hashtag. Tweet @tedcruz and ask him what he is playing at. Sign up to our newsletter! Whatever you can do to support us will help. #StopTedCruz.