Monday, November 9, 2009

Bad craziness at The Washington Times

Back in the day, the motto was always, "When in doubt, blame McCain," but I had nothing to do with the latest onset of atavistic anarchy:
The Washington Times has announced major changes at the paper this morning, with three top executives gone in the process.
Those removed Monday morning include Thomas P. McDevitt (president and publisher), Keith Cooperrider (chief financial officer), and Dong Moon Joo (chairman).
Jonathan Slevin, previously vice president, has been named acting president and publisher . . .
News of the executive shake-up follows rumors swirling around the Times Sunday night that there could be a major change on the editorial side, perhaps including executive editor John Solomon. However, Solomon was not mentioned in the release about changes to the business side. (Solomon has not responded to multiple calls and emails for comment).
There's also been speculation that changes at the Times could be associated with last month's handover of power in the Unification Church, the paper's owner. The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who turns 90 in January, handed over power to his three sons . . .
And there's more:
Following Monday's news that top executives of the Washington Times have been removed, senior editors will be briefed at 10 a.m. this morning by members of the paper's Board.
Managing editor David Jones notified staff in a memo obtained by POLITICO.
Jones is second-in-command to executive editor John Solomon, who has been rumored to be leaving the paper, according to staffers . . .
Those of us who got out when the getting was good were the object of much badmouthing at the time. I still occasionally run across claims that I was fired, instead of resigning shortly after Solomon was hired from the Post. As a colleague said to me at the time, "If I wanted to work for a Postie, I would have applied at the f---ing Post."

One of the basic misconceptions that outsiders (and some insiders) had about The Times was that every problem at the paper was a function of the paper's conservative-alternative perspective: "It's those wacky right-wingers! Blame them!" But the newsroom operation was excellent. The real problems were always on the business side -- advertising, circulation and promotion.

So when the new management began by decapitating the newsroom -- Wes Pruden retired and Fran Coombs ousted -- it was certain that there would eventually be further bloodletting. Now it's come, and we wait to see what happens next.

UPDATE: Management spews mumbo-jumbo in press release:
The Washington Times LLC today announced that it is continuing on its path toward a sustainable multimedia news enterprise involving leadership expertise from within The Washington Times and directed by its Board of Directors and its parent company, News World Communications LLC.
Today's industry conditions and the general economic downturn necessitate this team-based assessment, planning, and subsequent implementation of a plan to enable The Times to become a sustainable multimedia company in today’s challenging news industry environment. . . .
[New publisher Jonathan Slevin]: "Our assessment team looks forward to emerging with a market-based plan that supports the sustainability of The Washington Times and advances the Times' role as an important source of news and opinion for readers who value a diversity of information and analysis."
Whatever that means -- probably not much, really. You could boil it down to, "Revenue sucks, so we're ditching some guys with big salaries."

The larger problem is that new giveaway tabloids -- the Examiner and Politico -- are cutting into the two paid-circulation daily broadsheets in D.C., while a plethora of Web-based outfits make it more and more difficult for newspapers to break exclusive news. Hell's bells, you can get scooped by Twitter and Facebook nowadays!


  1. Interesting. I couldn't figure out what Democratic Party publicist Matthew Mosk was doing at the Washington Times. Now it makes more sense.

  2. And by "an absolute douchebag" "tedious nothing" from "the bottom layer of the right-wing noise machine."

    How's the IG-gate stuff going, anyway?