Invitation to Become a Full Subscriber to Proof

As Proof celebrates its two-month anniversary, it also announces a new archive of subscriber-only content that has become absolutely massive—and controversial.

{Note: This message is addressed to all those who are currently free subscribers to the Proof newsletter, or not subscribed to Proof in any capacity. Current paid subscribers can just keep enjoying the content at Proof as you have been. Thanks so much to all subscribers to Proof!}

Proof launched two months ago, just eight days after the abject horrors of January 6th.

Since then, the website has been threatened with litigation by top Trump advisers Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, both under investigation by federal officials; the 2020 Trump campaign sent a message to the website—“fuck you”—even as it was signing up to receive the Proof newsletter; and Proof has been credited by media outlets from Alabama to Nebraska to California with breaking the story of a secretive meeting at Trump International Hotel on January 5th, the eve of Trump’s insurrection and his voters’ now-infamous armed assault on the United States Capitol.

At the January 5th meeting first reported on by Proof, twenty members of Trump’s inner circle strategized, schemed, and plotted the overturning of a national election the following day. The story of this “war council” provoked responses not just from Stone and Flynn, but U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), who originally denied being present at the meeting before conceding he had attended it. David Bossie—a 2016 Trump deputy campaign manager—also denied attending the meeting, offering no alibi but instead implying that the Trump administration official who placed him there, Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster, had lately become senile.

For his part, Herbster responded to the reporting at Proof by deleting a slew of posts on Facebook, then reposting some of them, then refusing to speak to anybody about an event he’d first proudly announced to the world as it was happening on January 5th.

Meanwhile, Daniel Beck, a “war council” attendee—as well as the CEO of at least two companies, one that manufactures armored cars in Brazil and one that coordinates the use of mass text-messaging for (among others) political activists—publicly opined that he had been unfairly maligned by Proof, even as he denied the accuracy of not one word of its reporting.

Indeed, unfortunately for Trump allies Stone, Flynn, Tuberville, Bossie, Herbster, and Beck, not even a single sentence published by Proof, across dozens of articles, has been found to be incorrect.

Yet its reporting on a secretive pre-insurrection meeting at Trump International Hotel is only one of the accomplishments that Proof can feel pride about as it now looks back on two months of operation.

Since January 14, Proof has created a community of nearly 30,000 newsletter recipients; become the #2-ranked Substack in the United States in the “Culture” category; had its sourcing protocols called “meticulous” by Columbia Journalism Review; been linked to by The Washington Post; and, due to its reports on a burgeoning Trump-Brazil scandal, become one of the most talked-about English-language websites in the world’s fifth-largest country—credited by dozens of major-media outlets in Brazil with detailing a story of Trump-Brazil collusion no one else in U.S. or Brazilian media is writing about.

It’s for these and many other reasons that Proof has, since January, gained thousands and thousands of paid subscribers.

Today, I’m personally inviting you to become a Proof subscriber.

At just $5/month, Proof is tied for the least-expensive Substack in the United States, despite offering more content—almost 75 articles in 60 days—than virtually any other site on the platform. Here are some features Proof has debuted in just the last 60 days, nearly all of which are only available to paid subscribers:

  • A podcast. “Adventures in Metajournalism” is a 30- to 60-minute long podcast that covers the most urgent issues of the day using curatorial journalism, a genre of metajournalism that uses reliable major-media investigative reports from around the world to bring to the forefront critical narratives and metanarratives that other media outlets have missed.

  • A lecture series. As a journalism professor at a large public research university, one contribution I can make at this fraught moment in the history of American journalism is to offer easy-to-understand lectures about what’s happening in journalism today. I truly believe that the way Proof discusses the current crisis in journalism is unlike anything you’ll hear from America’s corporate media outlets.

  • An AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) series. Proof is now the permanent repository for the series of Instagram Live chats I’ve been doing since 2020. While these chats will temporarily appear on Instagram when first produced, after a certain period of time they will only be available at Proof. The first thirteen “episodes” of these Instagram Live sessions—totaling over sixteen hours of video content—are now exclusively contained in the Proof archive. The wide range of political, cultural, and legal topics covered by these videos must be heard and seen to be believed.

  • An essay series. I’m in the midst of working on a graphic textbook on journalism, Citizen Journalist, that will be published by Macmillan in 2022. As I work on this project, I’m occasionally collating my thoughts on the most exciting innovations and discussions in contemporary journalism into an essay series. The first two entries in the essay series are entitled “Twelve Things You Need to Know About Metajournalism” and “Memory and Media: How Today’s Media Asks Us to Both Pay Attention and Forget Everything”. I’m also expecting to publish some sneak-peek panels from this idiosyncratic graphic novel in advance of its publication.

  • The nation’s first “livestacks.” You’ve almost certainly heard of “live-tweeting” and “live-streaming,” but Proof was the first Substack to “livestack” a national event, providing real-time updates about Trump’s second impeachment trial as it happened. You can find trial “livestacks” at these links: Day 1, Day 2, and Day 4.

  • Shocking breaking news stories. Besides the “Trump-Brazil” and “January 5th” exposés, Proof wrote about Amanda Chase, the leading Republican candidate for Governor of Virginia, consorting with now-under-investigation insurrectionists hours before the armed assault on the Capitol. Proof also wrote about the twenty Republican women who helped strategize, plot, coordinate, and fund the events of January 6th, and the shocking tale of the many lies of Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), a story that hit major media nationwide a month after it first appeared at Proof. But these stories are just the tip of the iceberg; Proof has already published dozens of stories you won’t find elsewhere.

  • Exclusive book excerpts. When the federal government announced that it would not be punishing the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, for ordering the brutal assassination of a Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Proof published much of the content relating to Khashoggi that had appeared in the 2019 New York Times bestseller Proof of Conspiracy. More exclusive book excerpts will be published at Proof in the future. {Note: If you subscribe to Proof, you can find the excerpts at these links: I, II, III, and IV.}

  • Subscriber-only Q&As and AMAs. Proof runs regular “question-and-answer” and “ask me anything” sessions that are open only to full subscribers to Proof.

  • Subscriber-only comment fields. Only full subscribers to Proof are permitted to comment on the site, which means that all of the comment boards on the site are active, engaged, erudite, and 100% free of trolls. Just sixty days in, some Proof posts have already gotten over 200 comments—and many posts have provoked critical conversations between Proof community members, some of which include well-sourced investigative leads that have later ended up in new articles at Proof.

  • Exclusive annotations of newly released documents and testimony. When Proof annotated Trump’s January 6th incitement-to-insurrection speech across three lengthy articles (links: I, II, and III), it was a dramatic expansion of an annotation that had already received more than 75,000 retweets on Twitter. The same thing happened with a viral annotation of the historic, truly stunning Congressional testimony of Commander William J. Walker of the D.C. National Guard. Proof is committed to providing real-time legal and political analysis when certain major documents or testimonies drop.

  • Miscellaneous weirdnesses you’d have the read to believe. Want to read a long, bizarre true story about my interactions with Shia LaBeouf’s inner circle? It’s at Proof. A public response to news from various major-media outlets that my name would be prominently featured at a Congressional hearing? It’s on the website. An exposé on Ali Alexander, a convicted felon with a bizarre Messiah Complex—he wears orange to political events because he says God told him to—who was in touch with Trump’s inner circle the night before the insurrection, and is now promising to cause “riots” throughout the United States this very month? It’s at Proof. Exclusive legal analyses of major court cases from a Harvard Law-trained former criminal defense attorney who belongs to both his state and federal bars? You’ll find this and more at Proof.

Indeed, the items above are just a small part of what you gain access to if you become a full subscriber to Proof for $5/month—or $60/year, if you decide to lock in the lowest subscription rate on the Substack platform for the next twelve months.

And all of this is just the initial rollout of content at Proof. By the time Proof celebrates its next anniversary, no doubt there will be new features and achievements to discuss. I would like nothing more than for you to become a member of the Proof community, expanding upon the glimpse you’ve already gotten of what the website has to offer as a free newsletter subscriber.

In the event you’re interested, I’ve also included, below, some recent comments on my work by various media organizations, authors, journalists, and public figures you may know:

[Abramson has] come to prominence in the collective American consciousness as a result of [the Trump] presidency.

— Ellen McCarthyThe Washington Post

It’s ridiculous how many things Seth Abramson has achieved mastery of....[he’s] charming, informative, brilliant, and bright.

— Russell Brand, actor and activist 

Seth Abramson does a lot of excellent work.

​— David Cay JohnstonPulitzer Prize-winning Trump biographer

[Abramson does] amazing work.

— Mary L. Trumpniece of Donald Trump, President of the United States

Abramson threads connections like an astronomer weaving points of light into a constellation. He’s a very American archetype: an underdog who—against his own wishes—became a hero.

​— Der Spiegel

Abramson has been very good at connecting all these [Trump scandal] dots.

​— Vanity Fair

If you’re not already following [Seth], you should be.

​— Chelsea Handleractor and author

[Abramson is] a fire-breather. We need [his] passion.

​— Chris Cuomo, CNN

Seth Abramson deserves something akin to a Medal of Honor for being ahead of the curve with all the Trump-Russia dots connected and all the key details supplied—well before anybody else.

​— Laurence Tribe, Harvard Law School

[Abramson’s] kind of theory-testing is urgently important.

​— Virginia Heffernan, Politico

One hell of an investigative journalist.​

— Josh Meyer, Politico

[Abramson offers] commentary in response stories that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.

​— Daniel Drezner, The Washington Post

[Abramson’s curatorial journalism] points to things that are in the public record that date back years and decades that people don’t even realize are there.

​— J.D. Durkin, Cheddar TV

Please follow and read everything Seth Abramson writes.

​— Stev​e Schmidtco-founder of The Lincoln Project

[Abramson is] a deep thinker...and a philosopher.

​— Rolling Stone

Needless to say, I don’t want you to take anyone else’s word for it. My earnest hope is that you’ll give a full subscription to Proof a try, and then judge for yourself whether it isn’t a unique new media outlet offering content you don’t find elsewhere in American journalism.

Thank you so much for considering this invitation, and I do hope to see you at Proof!

{Note: If you’d like to find out more about Proof, including its idiosyncratic history, the podcast and bestselling book trilogy it’s attached to, and more about my background and biography, you can find it all at this link. If you’d like to subscribe to Proof now, you can do so by just clicking the button below. To all new Proof subscribers: let me be the first to welcome you to the Proof community!}