The Jury Talks Back

4/27/2018

Mass Firing of Trump Critics at RedState — Including Yours Truly

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 3:08 pm

Several writers at RedState were fired today, including me. All those fired were Trump critics.

Salem, the owner of RedState, is perfectly within its legal rights to do this. They can take their site in any direction they want. But the message sent by firing a group of writers en masse, all of whom have been vigorous critics of the President, will have a chilling effect — both on the remaining writers at the site, and the conservative movement as a whole.

More thoughts to come.

UPDATE: Rosie Gray has a piece at the Atlantic (ironically, the same publication that recently canned Kevin D. Williamson) which accurately quotes me:

“There’s a clear pattern that the people who were let go were all critics of Donald Trump,” said Patrick Frey, a lawyer who blogs as Patterico and whose contract was also terminated on Friday.

“It was a complete surprise,” Frey said. “There’d been rumors of contract changes but being fired was a complete surprise.”

. . . .

Frey says he’s grateful for his time at RedState and emphasized that the company has the right to fire people. But he worried that the remaining writers were being sent a clear message about what kind of views were now permissible. “It seems like the message of the firings is very clear,” he said. “We won’t tolerate strong criticism of this president.”

More at The Hill, which quotes a tweet of mine.

UPDATE x2: The Daily Beast:

Another fired staffer, who requested anonymity to speak freely, said the layoffs “definitely” had political motivations. “They canned someone who brought in 700k to 800k page views per month,” the writer told The Daily Beast. “Lately that would be around 10 percent of monthly traffic.”

Indeed, the website’s highest-trafficked writer, Susan Wright, has been openly critical of not just President Trump—routinely decrying his various scandals, “desperate” behavior, and self-contradictions—but of the unabashed pro-Trump sycophants in conservative media, such as Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

Wright makes “significantly less” than other, more pro-Trump writers who remain with the site and generate less traffic, a source noted to The Daily Beast.

. . . .

“It had become clear to me over the last couple of years that Jonathan [Garthwaite] was far more interested in making sure his golfing buddies were pleased with the level of GOP line-toeing more than anything,” Howe told The Daily Beast.

By writing anti-Trump opinions, he said, “you’re certainly making Jonathan’s tee time awkward.”

I have not been an anonymous source for any story. I did speak to someone at the Washington Post, but their story has not yet appeared.

Mediaite quotes my tweet. CNN’s Brian Stelter has this report. Vox has a story here. And the Washington Examiner has a report here.

32 Comments »

  1. Here’s a thought, screw them.

    If Salem wants fealty to Trump from all RedState writers then that is their choice, but they need to change their name in the process. TrumpState would be my suggestion.

    Comment by Sean — 4/27/2018 @ 3:13 pm

  2. UPDATE: Rosie Gray has a piece at the Atlantic (ironically, the same publication that recently canned Kevin D. Williamson) which accurately quotes me:

    “There’s a clear pattern that the people who were let go were all critics of Donald Trump,” said Patrick Frey, a lawyer who blogs as Patterico and whose contract was also terminated on Friday.

    “It was a complete surprise,” Frey said. “There’d been rumors of contract changes but being fired was a complete surprise.”

    . . . .

    Frey says he’s grateful for his time at RedState and emphasized that the company has the right to fire people. But he worried that the remaining writers were being sent a clear message about what kind of views were now permissible. “It seems like the message of the firings is very clear,” he said. “We won’t tolerate strong criticism of this president.”

    More at The Hill, which quotes a tweet of mine.

    Comment by Patterico — 4/27/2018 @ 3:28 pm

  3. UPDATE x2: The Daily Beast:

    Another fired staffer, who requested anonymity to speak freely, said the layoffs “definitely” had political motivations. “They canned someone who brought in 700k to 800k page views per month,” the writer told The Daily Beast. “Lately that would be around 10 percent of monthly traffic.”

    Indeed, the website’s highest-trafficked writer, Susan Wright, has been openly critical of not just President Trump—routinely decrying his various scandals, “desperate” behavior, and self-contradictions—but of the unabashed pro-Trump sycophants in conservative media, such as Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

    Wright makes “significantly less” than other, more pro-Trump writers who remain with the site and generate less traffic, a source noted to The Daily Beast.

    . . . .

    “It had become clear to me over the last couple of years that Jonathan [Garthwaite] was far more interested in making sure his golfing buddies were pleased with the level of GOP line-toeing more than anything,” Howe told The Daily Beast.

    By writing anti-Trump opinions, he said, “you’re certainly making Jonathan’s tee time awkward.”

    I have not been an anonymous source for any story. I did speak to someone at the Washington Post, but their story has not yet appeared.

    Mediaite quotes my tweet. CNN’s Brian Stelter has this report. Vox has a story here. And the Washington Examiner has a report here.

    Comment by Patterico — 4/27/2018 @ 5:52 pm

  4. Pretty shitty way to treat you.

    Comment by SPQR — 4/27/2018 @ 5:54 pm

  5. They can do whatever they want, SPQR. I’m more upset about the way they treated Caleb Howe.

    Comment by Patterico — 4/27/2018 @ 7:14 pm

  6. How so?

    Comment by DRJ — 4/27/2018 @ 7:46 pm

  7. Never mind. I saw at the other website that Howe and Wright depended on that income. I am so sorry.

    Comment by DRJ — 4/27/2018 @ 8:15 pm

  8. Will Allahpundit make the cut?

    Comment by DRJ — 4/27/2018 @ 8:16 pm

  9. Patterico, understood.

    Maybe this will cheer you up a small bit:

    https://www.duffelblog.com/2018/04/potus-fake-twitter/

    Comment by SPQR — 4/27/2018 @ 8:29 pm

  10. I thought Trump wanted to create more jobs for Americans, not cost jobs. Shouldn’t the deciding factor have been who has the most readers/clicks?

    Comment by DRJ — 4/27/2018 @ 8:36 pm

  11. Maybe it’s just me but sometimes it’s hard to tell the spoof sites from the real thing, SPQR.

    Comment by DRJ — 4/27/2018 @ 8:40 pm

  12. Reading this affirms my decision about a month ago to stop reading Redstate, and delete the bookmark. Too much Soup-Nazi. And, I appreciate naming names – now I know which one to click “block sender” on in my e-mail inbox.

    Now to look forward to what site the writers move to.

    Comment by Luke Stywalker — 4/27/2018 @ 9:37 pm

  13. DRJ, yes indeed. But Duffleblog is still funny. The Onion is having trouble with reality exceeding satire’s attempts.

    Comment by SPQR — 4/27/2018 @ 10:11 pm

  14. I thought Trump wanted to create more jobs for Americans, not cost jobs. Shouldn’t the deciding factor have been who has the most readers/clicks?

    Susan Wright almost always had the most clicks. She was fired.

    streiff did well. He posts all day throughout the day while apparently holding a federal government job with the Army. He made fun of Tammy Duckworth having no legs and made the site look stupid, but he loves Trump and says all manner of stupid things to defend Trump, so he wins.

    I did pretty well for a guy who usually only posted once a day. But I criticized Trump, so: gone.

    Comment by Patterico — 4/27/2018 @ 11:11 pm

  15. Patrick, back when you started blogging at Redstate, I made a comment at the end of one of your blog posts that got me banned from that website. Ever since, I’ve gotten messages that say “We are unable to post your comment because you have been banned by RedState.com.” Hopefully the bloggers who got canned will still be able to comment at the end of blog posts written by others.

    Comment by Andrew — 4/27/2018 @ 11:52 pm

  16. I detest the political slant and outright partisan censorship we see from Google, twitter, etc, etc, and have long condemned it, so of course I equally condemn what’s happened at Redstate.

    I’m not fond of the whole “neverTrump” thing (post-primaries, anyway) but right is right and wrong is wrong – and what’s happened at Google, Twitter, Youtube, and now Redstate is very, very wrong.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 4/28/2018 @ 1:54 am

  17. They’re not approving any comments from my account anymore. I guess it wasn’t just their more popular bloggers they wanted to throw out. Looks like the Resurgent is temporarily hiring some of the fired bloggers, I hope they can make it work.

    Comment by Sean — 4/28/2018 @ 6:16 am

  18. Red State’s management and remaining bloggers may want this to go away, and silencing dissenters is one way some may think they can make that happen. It will probably work in the short term, but one silver lining is that we are learning who does things like this.

    We need to remember the people involved because they will show up again in the future when Red State fails, and they aren’t trustworthy.

    Comment by DRJ — 4/28/2018 @ 6:59 am

  19. Conservatives are paying the price for their views, and a lot of Trump supporters are happy. Some Trump supporters like to say conservatives support Hillary, but it is the Trump supporters who look more like Hillary here. Celebrating other people’s misfortune is very Hillary-like.

    Comment by DRJ — 4/28/2018 @ 7:34 am

  20. Winning !!

    Comment by DRJ — 4/28/2018 @ 7:34 am

  21. Do we know who, specifically, had their contracts terminated?

    Comment by DRJ — 4/28/2018 @ 7:56 am

  22. I’ve seen:

    Patterico
    Caleb Howe, writer and editor
    Susan Wright

    ?

    Comment by DRJ — 4/28/2018 @ 8:08 am

  23. I went to Red State to see who is gone and who is still there. There was only one headline out of more than a dozen posts that had the word Trump in it. That doesn’t strike me as a good business model, but time will tell. I certainly won’t be reading.

    Comment by DRJ — 4/28/2018 @ 8:19 am

  24. Salem Media is for profit. Investors think Salem has to invest in Trump.

    Comment by DRJ — 4/28/2018 @ 9:36 am

  25. Patrick, back when you started blogging at Redstate, I made a comment at the end of one of your blog posts that got me banned from that website. Ever since, I’ve gotten messages that say “We are unable to post your comment because you have been banned by RedState.com.” Hopefully the bloggers who got canned will still be able to comment at the end of blog posts written by others.

    streiff will ban any of us if we try. I will never comment there again as long as he is a moderator.

    Comment by Patterico — 4/28/2018 @ 10:48 am

  26. I’ve seen:

    Patterico
    Caleb Howe, writer and editor
    Susan Wright

    Also Ben Howe, Jay Caruso, and Neil Stevens.

    Some Trump critics remain. But a message has been sent.

    Comment by Patterico — 4/28/2018 @ 10:50 am

  27. The quality of Red State had deteriorated for a while with a lot of clickbait type stuff and “Watch Ted Cruze PWN this person on twitter” articles, yet this is really the final death blow for the site.

    To be honest, I thought Susan waded too deeply into fervent anti-Trump territory, sometimes making very wild leaps to make an anti-Trump point, but that wasn’t true of the rest of those of you let go yesterday.

    This also confirms that folks like Patterico occupy the roughest ground. He’s not militantly enough anti-Trump to become a favorite pet conservative in liberal organs, and clearly he is not sufficiently pro-Trump for most conservative institutions. There’s a dwindling number of reasonable conservative sites, including this one and National Review. And I guess Daily Wire if you just close your eyes tight enough to hunt for the Ben Shapiro content.

    Comment by Paul Zummo — 4/28/2018 @ 11:15 am

  28. I read that the non-Trump supporting writers at RS brought n more traffic and hits than the pro-Trump writers. If that’s so, then it would seem to validate the claims that monetary concerns weren’t really the real reason why these specific writers were let go.

    Comment by Dana — 4/28/2018 @ 12:24 pm

  29. The top traffic earner was almost always Susan Wright. Then streiff, mainly because he posts throughout the day, despite apparently holding a job with the federal government.

    Comment by Patterico — 4/28/2018 @ 2:53 pm

  30. This also confirms that folks like Patterico occupy the roughest ground. He’s not militantly enough anti-Trump to become a favorite pet conservative in liberal organs, and clearly he is not sufficiently pro-Trump for most conservative institutions. There’s a dwindling number of reasonable conservative sites, including this one and National Review. And I guess Daily Wire if you just close your eyes tight enough to hunt for the Ben Shapiro content.

    Thanks.

    Your comments about clickbait are not wrong.

    Comment by Patterico — 4/28/2018 @ 2:54 pm

  31. It’s unfortunate. The strength of RedState lay in its diversity of conservative opinion. Not being a conservative myself, it was informative having one go-to site. The writing was thoughtful, even for a quick read. I think it’s going to become more like Gateway Pundit, with the word BOMBSHELL appearing at least twice a week.

    Comment by Kman — 4/30/2018 @ 6:45 am

  32. @Kman I completely agree, as the clickbait-y headlines were already starting before the mass firings. Why can’t we have a news source that isn’t left or right, but strives to cover the news from all angles? Why isn’t there a site in which two opposing voices author the same article to give readers differing points of view while acting as peer review for the facts?

    Comment by Sean — 4/30/2018 @ 7:13 am

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