RedState Purges Trump Critics
There has been a massive layoff at the Republican website. Everyone who criticized the President is gone.
RedState, founded back in 2004 as the conservative alternative to Daily Kos, has just fired everyone who isn’t a Trump loyalist.
CNN (“‘Mass firing’ at conservative site RedState“):
Salem Media, owner of the influential conservative outlet RedState, froze the site on Friday and dismissed many of its writers.
Bloggers were locked out of their accounts — some just temporarily, while the cuts were made, and others permanently.
Erick Erickson, who founded the site 13 years ago, and left in 2015, tweeted about what he called the “mass firing” on Friday morning.
“Very sad to see, but not really surprising given Salem’s direction,” he wrote. “And, finally, after all these years, they’ve turned off my account.”
Multiple sources told CNNMoney that they believed conservative critics of President Trump were the writers targeted for removal.
“Insufficiently partisan” was the phrase one writer used in a RedState group chat.
“They fired everybody who was insufficiently supportive of Trump,” one of the sources who spoke with CNNMoney said, adding, “how do you define being ‘sufficiently supportive’ of Trump?”
But if it was about politics, it was also about money.
RedState writers work on contract and are paid based on the amount of traffic to their posts.
“Those who had been under a contract with a higher per-click rate were mostly all tossed, only keeping those who were pro-Trump even if their traffic was comparable,” another one of the sources said on condition of anonymity.
“Of those who make less under their contracts, they mostly tossed those who had been openly critical of the president,” the source said. “It seems to have been a cost saving measure, but the deciding factor between any two people seems to have been who liked the president and who didn’t.”
Salem had no immediate comment. But an internal memo obtained by CNNMoney confirmed the housecleaning.
“We had to make some tough changes to RedState today,” Townhall general manager Jonathan Garthwaite wrote in the memo. “While these changes are painful, they were necessary once we reached the conclusion that we could no longer support the entire roster of writers and editors.”
RedState, a 13-year-old blog that was founded by Erick Erickson, is one of several sites in Townhall Media’s portfolio. Townhall, in turn, is owned by Salem Media Group, a conservative media company that also operates radio stations and publishes books.
First off, Erickson did not found RedState. Josh Treviño, Ben Domenech, and Mike Krempasky did. Erickson came aboard the next year.
Otherwise, I suppose this isn’t surprising.
Patrick Frey, who blogs and Tweets as “Patterico,” was among those fired.
Frey is an attorney and rightly notes,
They have the right to fire anyone they want. However, any opinion site that fires people en masse because of a particular point of view is sending a message. The message is: this point of view will no longer be tolerated at this Web site. Any operator of a Web site is entitled to decide that a particular message will no longer be tolerated. When the message that will no longer be tolerated is criticism of the sitting President, that creates all kinds of problems for the site. I do not know whether management thought those problems through, but the problems will soon become apparent.
Krempasky invited me to join RedState’s stable ahead of the site’s launch but I declined, for two reasons. First, their vision for the site was partisan activism and I was simply never comfortable with that role. Even though I was much more a Republican partisan in those days, I was always an analyst first. Second, and relatedly, I didn’t want to lose the complete freedom that operating my own site provided.
RedState was wildly successful and one presumes the founders made out quite well with their sale to TownHall back in 2006. But, while I like and respect Krempasky and several of the early stable of writers, I certainly don’t regret that decision. And, frankly, I can’t remember the last time I read the site outside of the occasional referral link.
Still, it’s one thing to be a site predominated by conservative hacks. It’s quite another to have a loyalty oath to the sitting president. Even the sainted Ronald Reagan was allowed to be criticized.