The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Sam Dealey Has What It Takes to
Make That Paper Great Again’

Posted on | January 30, 2010 | 7 Comments

So says Christian Josi, referring to the hiring of a new editor at The Washington Times. Paul Bedard, who was on the White House beat when I joined the Times in 1997, gives the lowdown on the new guy:

Dealey, a U.S. News contributor, is based in Washington, writing on national and foreign affairs. Besides contributing to Reader’s Digest, he writes frequently for publications such as GQ, Details, and The New York Times. Dealey has also reported from Africa for CNN and PBS’s NewsHour With Jim Lehrer. He is a media fellow at the Hoover Institution.
The Dallas native was a reporter for The Hill newspaper, an editorial board member at The Washington Times, and assistant managing editor of The American Spectator.

I’ve never met Dealey, and have no reason to doubt that he is everything he is cracked up to be. On the other hand, he’s only 36 and nothing in his biography suggests extensive managerial experience in a daily newspaper environment.

That was really the problem that sank Dealy’s predecessor, John Solomon, who had built his career as a reporter for the Associated Press and spent a year at the Washington Post before taking over the top job at the Times shortly after I left in January 2008. Whatever else his qualifications, Solomon had little managerial background and no experience of the distinctive culture of the Times.

Running any daily newspaper is a tremendous managerial challenge, and the Washington Times is certainly more challenging than most. D.C. is a very competitive news environment and being the underdog paper, going up against the Post every day, requires an extraordinary degree of mental toughness. Former editor-in-chief Wes Pruden’s long tenure in the job was as much a testimony to his cast-iron temperament as to his journalistic ability.

No matter what, Dealey starts off on the wrong foot with the newspaper’s staff. Bringing in an outsider to run the Washington Times newsroom — Dealey was on the editorial board of the paper, but never on the news staff — is an implied putdown of the guys who’ve been in charge of the daily news operation since Solomon quit in November.

All of which is to say that Dealey’s got his work cut out for him. I wish him luck. At least he’s not a damned Postie. That’s basically what prompted me to resign when I did. It had just been announced they’d hired Solomon from the Post, and one of my colleagues remarked, “If I’d wanted to work for a Postie, I’d have applied at the f—ing Post.”

Good point. I submitted my resignation the next day. My colleague stayed — and got laid off right before Christmas last year, along with dozens more who didn’t see the writing on the wall soon enough.

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Comments

  • Chuck Cross

    Mr. McCain — not sure if you fall into the “I-Hate-Ron-Paul-and-everything-associated-with-him” camp, but his son Rand is running an amazing campaign down in Kentucky. They had a major snowstorm today, and he still managed to pull 800+ people to a convention center for a rally. Not to mention the guy is up 19pts in the polls, I think he’s going to make a great Check in the Senate when it comes to un-American legislation.

    http://www.bluegrassbulletin.com/2010/01/rand-rocks-the-house-over-800-brave-snow-storm-to-attend-his-rally-for-republicans.html

  • Chuck Cross

    Mr. McCain — not sure if you fall into the “I-Hate-Ron-Paul-and-everything-associated-with-him” camp, but his son Rand is running an amazing campaign down in Kentucky. They had a major snowstorm today, and he still managed to pull 800+ people to a convention center for a rally. Not to mention the guy is up 19pts in the polls, I think he’s going to make a great Check in the Senate when it comes to un-American legislation.

    http://www.bluegrassbulletin.com/2010/01/rand-rocks-the-house-over-800-brave-snow-storm-to-attend-his-rally-for-republicans.html

  • http://theothermccain.com/ Robert Stacy McCain

    The Great Republican Feud in Kentucky has been fought in the comment fields here for the past week. Some of my friends are Hatifields and some are McCoys, and I’m just trying to stay out of the crossfire. From a conservative standpoint, the bitterness is unfortunate. From a newsman’s perspective . . . well, it’s certainly news.

  • http://theothermccain.com/ Robert Stacy McCain

    The Great Republican Feud in Kentucky has been fought in the comment fields here for the past week. Some of my friends are Hatifields and some are McCoys, and I’m just trying to stay out of the crossfire. From a conservative standpoint, the bitterness is unfortunate. From a newsman’s perspective . . . well, it’s certainly news.

  • Pingback: The American Spectator : AmSpecBlog : Note to Sam Dealey

  • http://blog.infinitemonkeysblog.com/ Jim Lakely

    Stacy,

    Great post, and great insight. As a fellow former TWT staffer, your comments are right on. (And I think I know who uttered that salty quote you shared … but we’ll just leave that anonymous).

    I wish The Washington Times well, as I’m sure you do. We’ll never see the glory days of Pruden’s tenure again, but the capital city needs a healthy Washington Times. I pray Dealey can help provide it.

  • http://blog.infinitemonkeysblog.com/ Jim Lakely

    Stacy,

    Great post, and great insight. As a fellow former TWT staffer, your comments are right on. (And I think I know who uttered that salty quote you shared … but we’ll just leave that anonymous).

    I wish The Washington Times well, as I’m sure you do. We’ll never see the glory days of Pruden’s tenure again, but the capital city needs a healthy Washington Times. I pray Dealey can help provide it.