Three great writers resigned from RedState yesterday. Kimberly Ross and Andrea Ruth explain why:
Unfortunately, though we continue to appreciate the hard work of our writing colleagues and hold great respect for most of them, we are no longer proud to write under the banner of RedState, or its parent group, Townhall Media, which is an affiliate of the Salem Media Group.
In April 2018, Salem management determined there had been enough front-page criticism of Trump and decided to take action. A number of long-time writers and editors, who happened to be unapologetic Trump critics, were dismissed from the site without warning. Among those let go was Managing Editor Caleb Howe, who was fired while traveling to a Salem work event. Management locked out access to the CMS, leaving writers unable to log in and wondering what was wrong. It wasn’t until hours later that Townhall VP & General Manager Jonathan Garthwaite sent emails informing those writers that contracts had been terminated.
In an attempt to save face, management insisted the decision was financial and not ideological, as a handful of Trump-critical writers remained. However, those with longer tenures, higher public profiles and biggest traffic draws were all let go. The financial excuse holds little water considering those let go were revenue-drivers.
The message was clear: Tread lightly when it comes to criticizing Trump.
. . . .
Afterward, despite holding on to some Trump critics, the tenor of the site shifted. The leftover Trump critics wrote fewer entries and the hostility toward those who still did was palpable.
We learned personally that writers who dare to examine President Trump or the MAGA mentality are purposely suppressed in private or even publicly criticized.
When I left, I still liked many of the people who remained, and I still do. I associate myself with the remarks of Dan McLaughlin:
There were still good people at RedState after the last round of layoffs, and there are still a few left, but the number is dwindling. https://t.co/KpT7ac3uCR
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) January 31, 2019
But when the purge happened, I noted that it sent an obvious chilling message. Some of the people who remained did their best to ignore the chill, but the chill was there. It still is. You don’t fire a large group of productive and successful writers because of their point of view, and expect that to have no effect.
Best of luck to the good writers who still remain there.
[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]