saramerica (saramerica) wrote,

Something is rotten in the State of Denmark

Last week, I was fired from a job for the first time in my life. If it had been because I'd been incompetent, or I'd consistently handed in second-rate columns, or my I'd been unreliable about deadlines or some other just cause, I could understand it. But the reason given by Media News for removing me from my columnist post at the Greenwich Time/Stamford Advocate after five years was that by writing the column criticizing Lee Whitnum (which you can read at the end of the previous post) having held a meet and greet for her opponent for the Democratic nomination for the 4th Congressional District, Jim Himes, I had somehow "compromised the newspaper".

I don't want to go into the whole story because you can read all about it here and here, and frankly, it's kind of weird to be the subject of press attention that has nothing to do with my day job as an author.

I certainly don't want to do anything unethical, so just out of curiosity I went onto Open Secrets and searched for a few well-known columnists. Sure enough, my suspicions that I'm not the only opinion columnist that has ever donated to a political candidate and written about that race was confirmed.

Before he passed away, I used to appear on the editorial page with noted columnist William F. Buckley Jr. In fact, I used to take great amusement in telling people that my column was "to the right of William F. Buckley" - albeit on the page, rather than in content.

WFB's donations pages are quite illuminating in light of my firing:

So it didn't "compromise" the paper when WFB donated to candidates and wrote about them (and we're talking much larger numbers than the measly sum yours truly donated in kind for the meet and greet). Maybe that's because he was a prominent male Republican?

Meanwhile, on a more positive note, I've been really touched by the outpouring of support. I got a really nice e-mail today that says it all:

Is it true that the Greenwich Times terminated you over the Lee Whitnum Op
Ed piece? If they did I have to say they are really one of the dumbest
papers around. While I may be a republican I love reading your stuff as it
gives a different point of view in an intelligent and concise manner which
broadens my own perspectives (I suppose that is what Op Ed pieces are
suppose to do).

Yes. That is what Op Ed pieces are supposed to do. That's why I have the greatest respect for the former publisher of the papers, Dhurrie Monsma. According to one of my former editors, he got a lot of pressure to get rid of me prior to the 2004 election. But his attitude was that I was a good writer who sparked debate and so there was a place for me at the paper.

And boy, did I ever feel vindicated for writing that column exposing Lee Whitnum for the anti-Semite that she is when I watched the debate between her and Jim Himes on News 12 on Monday:

Tags: double standards, greenwich time, hypocrisy, media news, stamford advocate
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