RedState was a rare thing these days in the conservative media: a platform for an array of different opinions about President Trump.
That now seems to be a thing of the past, as media on the right has split into two camps: the full-on Trump boosterism of Breitbart or Fox News’s opinion programs, or anti-Trump critique as exemplified by National Review. On Friday, several contract writers were let go from the conservative website RedState and its editor, Caleb Howe, was fired. One thing many of them had in common was their vocal criticism of Trump.
Howe got the news while driving from his home in North Carolina to Washington to meet with Townhall Media, the arm of Salem Media which owns RedState, about Facebook strategy. Jonathan Garthwaite, the vice president and general manager of Townhall Media, called him before he got to the meeting and fired him over the phone, Howe told me. Garthwaite did not reply to multiple requests for comment.
I spoke to Howe while he was still in his car in D.C. He said that around 10 writers had been let go, and their contracts (which pay writers based on the number of times their articles are viewed) terminated.
“The site has been doing well. I don’t think there’s any reason to panic or that they would need a sudden and instantaneous change to how things are done,” Howe said. The site had drawn roughly 7 or 8 million page views each month, according to Howe, down from 10 or 12 million a month during the election. Dips in audience after elections are common throughout the digital media. Howe said that even the impact of Facebook’s algorithm change, which conservative publishers have blamed for a decline in traffic, was relatively moderate: “We took a relatively small traffic hit from the new Facebook guidelines,” he said.