The Other McCain

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

Newsroom Management Training Video

Posted on | December 22, 2012 | 45 Comments

“The idea that I could do for a living that which I would do in my free time, for free, is the single greatest thing on the planet.”
Andrew Breitbart, May 2007

“He had so much energy. He was so positive. . . . He was definitely a mentor. He was great to his employees. . . . He leaves behind a huge legacy.”
Dana Loesch, March 1, 2012

“This case concerns a poorly managed but well meaning relationship gone tragically awry, resulting in the attempt by one vindictive party to sabotage the reputation and career of another. . . .
“For reasons that may just as easily be attributed to basic ideological conflicts, the working environment for Loesch became increasingly hostile.”

Dana Loesch v. LLC, December 2012

Generally speaking, when a routine personnel matter at a political news organization turns into a federal lawsuit that zooms to the top of Memeorandum, we might suspect that editorial management practices are not optimal, to say the very least.

Look, I once worked for the legendary notorious Otis Brumby, the pluperfect stereotype of the temperamental domineering publisher.

Otis recently did the world of journalism an enormous favor by dying, so that he can’t sue anyone for libel. Then again, truth is the ultimate defense and there were alway plenty of witnesses willing to testify that Otis was one evil, mean and crazy son of bitch.

A certain level of “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs” in the newsroom therefore seems entirely normal to me, experience that came in quite handy during my decade at The Washington Times, another news operation where the words “commitment” and “institution” have special significance.


Megalomania as a managerial principle is perhaps a suitable topic for a graduate thesis at the University of Columbia J-school, but I digress . . .

Having further explored the background on what is now a matter of litigation (Loesch v., I think three things are obvious:

  1. Andrew Breitbart never would have let this happen;
  2. There’s much more to the story; and
  3. Dana Loesch has already won.

Whatever happens to the lawsuit, Dana is and will remain a person much beloved by the conservative Tea Party grassroots, whose light cannot possibly be kept hidden beneath a bushel.

The problem for the defendants in this lawsuit is that there is now blood in the water and the sharks — TPM, ThinkProgress, Media Matters, Mother Jones, Slate, Salon, Politico, Gawker, etc. — are going to insist on having themselves a feeding frenzy.

When McKay Coppins did his little “sources say” story in October, it pissed me off, because institutional loyalty and staff morale are essential to any news organization. It was shocking to think anyone who worked for Breitbart would have anything to say to McKay Coppins that did not begin with “fuck” and end with “you.”

Now, however, in my mind’s eye I’m seeing a 4,000-word article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, or an equally in-depth cover article in The New Republic — written by liberal journalists who despise everything that Andrew Breitbart believed — and there is nothing anyone can do at this point to prevent that from happening. Too many people are already talking, and the inherent news value is too great, to convince an editor that it’s not worth reporting at length.

Go read Dana Loesch’s lawsuit and ask yourself what is meant by such phrases as “poorly managed . . . vindictive . . . sabotage . . . basic ideological conflicts . . . increasingly hostile.”

Well, these are merely allegations, eh? So far as we can claim to know, all these things are wholly imagined by the plaintiff, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

I first met Andrew Breitbart at CPAC in February 2007, and interviewed him for a feature profile in May 2007. I hung out with him many times over the years, including at the Michigan AFP event in February this year, just a few days before his untimely death.

And I think everyone involved in this unfortunate mess — defendant, plaintiff, and the horrified witnesses — can agree with this four-word sentence: Damn, I miss Andrew.





  • smitty

    Standing by for Dan Riehl to weigh in, or not–is his name used in the complaint?

  • Quartermaster

    I had wondered what would happen to his organization after Breitbart died. Now we know, sadly. I doubt MIttens would have won in November had he not died, but at least his enemies would not be having the fun they will now have.

  • robertstacymccain

    Don’t expect that, but if it happens, it should be like a spark in a fireworks warehouse.

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  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    This is not a criminal charge. No one is presumed innocent. That is not the issue. Dana Loesch has the burden of proving her allegations by 50.00001% and she wins.

    But because I trust and respect the Dana and Chris, I know she would not be making such allegations if there was not some truth to them.

    It makes me sad. And I like the rest of the people at We need We need Dana Loesch.

    I miss Andrew Breitbart.

  • Delaney Coffer

    Mittens? I don’t recall Breitbart ever shitting all over Mitt Romney by calling him some retarded ass name like “mitten”. I know why. Do you?

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  • denverwindowwashing

    The problem, I’m quite sure, is that Netflix episodes 109 and 110, Season 5 episodes 20 and 21, titled “Never Send a Boy-King to do a Man’s Job” part’s 1 and 2, of James Garner’s “The Rockford Files” summed it all up.

    So newsrooms have to skate around the truth or quote Jim Garner, and, in order to be fresh, these quibbles happen.

  • jwallin

    Sadly, when Breitbart died, died.

    Those left in charge don’t have the vision the skill or the chops.

    Cast adrift and over their heads, they made many bad moves towards their readership, their employees and the “Cause”.

    They should have folded right then and there.

    Now we’re going to see the breakup of a relatively new enterprise that had so much promise but depended so much on one person.

    It’s not going to be pretty and I applaud Dana for her loyalty to Andrew by waiting so long to attempt to resolve this.

    It’s a story that’s happened before; man dies in prime of life leaving a thriving but nascent organization, fraught with promise but now with no one with the skill or vision to guide it properly, that is left to the heirs and widow to attempt to retain some of the promise and the profit. Without the primogenitor and his vision however this is next to impossible to pull off in the best of times.

    These are not the best of times.

  • McGehee

    Not having read the lawsuit (please don’t make me!!!) I wonder if the issue isn’t simply that someone at dropped the ball, assuming incorrectly that Dana’s contract would renew automatically without legal hoops being jumped through?

    You know what it says on the diploma of the guy who graduates at the bottom of his law school class, after all.

  • Quartermaster

    Mittens was an echo, not a choice. I couldn’t really care less what Breitbart thought of him, or about him, other than the man was the only “choice” we had other than Zer0.

  • Delaney Coffer

    “Mittens was an echo, not a choice.”
    I suppose dumb can be soothing to the dumb. Romney was an echo of Brakabama? You’re either incredibly unable to engage in rational thought or you’re a liar. Which one you are is irrelevant. Either way, you’re on the other side.

    Tell how Romney would be driving millions of people into abject poverty right now. I’m pretending you’re interesting for a minute.

    Get on with it.

  • Rick20033

    Quartermaster, you’re absolutely right. I’m surprised that your critic is treating you like YOU are the odd one (especially on this webpage!). Romney was no conservative. Your critic is being obtuse.

  • K-Bob

    I think there were plenty of folks with “the chops” to run the place. But Andrew’s passing left a battle to be fought over who became the alpha.

    There can be only one.

    Until it becomes clear exactly who that is, the place will be pulled in many directions, and it won’t matter how good anyone’s chops are.

  • K-Bob

    No one gives a shit what you think.

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  • Delaney Coffer

    So Mitt Romney is a Communist?


  • Delaney Coffer

    In other words,”K-Bob can’t respond.” Fine. I’m simply sick of sad sacks pretending that a candidate was the problem.

  • Delaney Coffer

    Andrew didn’t expect to die. The rub is he did. 20/20 hindsight would dictate you not brand a giant enterprise as uuuhhh YOU and then up and die. It’s unfortunate when great men pass. It should be. It SHOULD sting. His absence SHOULD be palpable. That is the nature of greatness.

  • K-Bob

    Nothing sadder than some hothead jumping into a site farting flames and acting all king shit all of a sudden. Unless you want to become the comment section punching bag you should dial back the angry asshole routine and maybe learn what this site is about.

    Helpful hint: Pretending Romney wasn’t a major part of the problem doesn’t add to your credibility. You’re welcome.

  • Adjoran

    From my understanding, the allegations of vindictive actions mentioned here aren’t germane to the central issue: did fail to exercise its initial option to renew Dana’s contract for a full year term, which specifically would mean her continuing relationship with them was month-to-month and terminable by either party upon one month’s notice?

    She is suing to be released from the contract and for losses and costs associated with the site’s failure to follow the terms. It is not a lawsuit for damages resulting from defamation or hindrance of commerce, that may well come later – and would be bolstered by a ruling the contract had been voided.

  • K-Bob

    Breitbart was eager to get behind the “anyone but Obama” plan, and so he accepted Romney as frontrunner (at the time), even though he wasn’t thrilled with him. He preferred to see an end to the criticism of Romney as soon as possible (which didn’t happen).

    The ABO stuff really worked against our side. It assured the Rove types that we would eat that crap sandwich one more time.

    Next go ’round, we have to make all of the candidates work for the nomination, all the way until the convention announces the winner. No more “anyone but,” nonsense.

  • Adjoran

    I strongly suspect it isn’t legal incompetence, but a management problem. In the reshuffling of responsibilities after Andrew’s death, it’s possible no one was given specific power over renewing the contracts.

    If it was in no one’s job description, no one would have checked the terms – it would have been going outside their duties. So it didn’t happen – they just assumed it had been renewed.

    Now if their attorney sent notices to prospective Loesch employers threatening action that had no basis, that’s another kettle of fish. But it’s hard to imagine a competent attorney doing that without having a copy of the exercise notice in hand.

  • Adjoran

    There wasn’t any better candidate in the field this cycle. We don’t have to like it, but we should be able to admit it.

  • Jaynie59

    Boy do I hate being right all the time.

  • BarneyFranken
  • McGehee

    You admit it if it makes you feel better. We choose to disagree.

  • Quartermaster

    No one is saying he was commie. Your reading comprehension is just a bit on the low side.

    Mittens, OTOH, is a liberal. Liberal does not, however, mean commie. He was the man that set the bar pretty low for Obamacare and people looked at the rest of his record and stayed home.

    When you put up someone that campaignes as “not X” and you have little you can say except general banal platitudes, then you will lose to the incumbent, and that’s exactly what Mittens did.

    I saw this coming all year. I didn’t like it, and I voted for him, but I’m just one man.

    Now, if you wish to continue being obtuse, that’s your choice, but expect to get banged around for it in this place as we have little tolerance for intentional stupidity.

  • K-Bob

    Newt was better, Santorum was better. Don’t confuse a nomination battle with the campaign.

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  • SDN

    ORomneyCare should pretty much cover it.

  • SDN

    As I pointed out earlier, this scenario is classic MBA course material: an organization, whether Apple or Microsoft or, with one charismatic leader and no clear XO is one of the oldest recipes for failure known. See Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, etc.

  • Delaney Coffer

    So you’re enough of a scumbag liar to say openly that Mitt Romney wrote that legislation instead of vetoing most of it? Or are you just really stupid? Which is it?

  • Delaney Coffer

    “No one is saying he was commie.

    Then just what in the hell does a halfwit such as yourself think the term “echo” is supposed to mean? Mitt Romney ran against a goddam Communist and gibbering fools like you burned calories spreading the stupid lie that they were indistinguishable from one another. You’re the problem, son. If I were you, I’d be defensive too. Tell everyone why the hell you voted for Romney if he was an “echo” of a fucking America-hating Communist. What does that make you? Why didn’t you vote for Brakabama? What’s the difference?

    I know what it makes you. You do too if there is a shred of integrity in you.

  • SDN

    No, you’re the scumbag liar for trying to tell us he didn’t implement it in MA and then write multiple articles in such places as the WSJ defending it. Or is Cato Institute lying too? Anyone who was honest knew all of this as far back as 2008.

  • narciso

    Some folks are not self aware enough to realize, that was Goldwater’s cry, ‘a choice not an echo’, Reagan, put it another way, ‘bold colors, not pastels’ a qualitative distinction with the Democrats

  • OhioHistorian

    Neither one was better, just different. Santorum screwed it with his Congressional votes. Newt screwed it by sitting down with Nancy Pelosi and agreeing on global warming approach which is to get more Federal money.

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  • K-Bob

    That’s confusing the primary for the general. Both would have been better at taking the fight to Obama in the General Especially Newt. And I wasn’t pulling for Newt in the Primary (but neither was I joining the chorus of Newt bashers).

  • Clover1111

    She’s angling herself to get a radio syndication deal even though she’s only on live in St. Louis and Indianapolis. I’m surprised CNN doesn’t give her a show as much as she has been on there.

  • tdperk

    We shouldn’t have nominated the one who prototyped Obamacare.

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  • Terry

    Stace, in your link on Otis Brumby, I found one of my favorite “back stories” about him.

    …..At 61, Brumby possesses a power to evoke disdain — and even hatred — that is undiminished. An ex-writer once put a secret message into a sports column, so that the first letter of each paragraph spelled out “Otis Brumby is a son of a bitch.”

    The “ex-writer” who put that secret message was my uncle, now deceased. My father, now retired from the newspaper world, shares your sentiments about Mr Brumby.


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