FAGAN: I’m Back. Here’s Why I Quit The Advocate.

On Wednesday, I sent Peter Kovacs, editor of The Advocate/Times-Picayune, an email resigning my position as a columnist for the paper. I had written for it for three years.

I told Kovacs it had become clear in recent weeks that my worldview was so drastically different from the one the editorial page promotes; I no longer believe our relationship was plausible.

When I first began writing for the paper, Danny Heitman ran the editorial department. I would submit my columns directly to him. Heitman and I would typically go round and round over content. I’m ashamed to say, initially, I caved to Heitman’s watering down of the conservative bent of my columns. I was worried about losing my job.

One of the quickest paths to losing your formidability is giving in to fear of losing your job.

But eventually, I grew frustrated with Heitman and I began to push back. This led to the frequent spiking of my columns.

Then Heitman quit and Kovacs began to edit my columns. I enjoyed working with Kovacs and he rarely made changes based on what I viewed as an anti-conservative bias. This was something common with Heitman. It was a welcome change.

In recent weeks Kovacs relinquished the editing of my columns to Lanny Keller. Keller now heads the editorial section of the paper since Heitman quit. People would often describe Keller as a moderate because he once worked for the former Republican Gov. Dave Treen sometime in the Cretaceous Era. But that was not my experience with Keller. I found him to be a staunch left-leaning ideologue and a rude one at that. Keller had me longing for the days of Heitman editing my column.

The straw that finally broke the camel’s back came with changes made to my last column published Wednesday focusing on Drew Brees wearing the name of Jacob Blake taped to his helmet during practice. Blake had a warrant out for his arrest for third-degree sexual assault among other things.

A Kenosha, Wisconsin cop shot Blake in the back several times after he reached for a knife on the floorboard of his car. Blake survived but is likely paralyzed.

Police were unable to subdue Blake even after tasing him twice. At one point, Blake was able to get one of the officers in a headlock. It seems reasonable for the officer to fire upon Blake if as it is alleged, he was reaching for a knife placed on his car’s floorboard.

But Keller wanted to add this: “No, that does not justify shooting someone in the back.”

I wonder what Keller would do if a violent suspect turned his back on him to grab for a knife. I suspect Keller, like the Kenosha cop, would pull the trigger, even if the bullets hit the suspect in the back.

Keller’s blame-the-cops-first attitude is typical of his leftist views.

The original point of my column was the transformation of Brees. He went from standing up for the national anthem, to groveling for acceptance and forgiveness for doing so. His placing of Blake’s name on his helmet proves he’ll do just about anything to appease the woke crowd. His cowardice is a huge story and has been ignored by the liberals working for the paper.

Kovacs removed Brees’ name from my column. He argued I had been too hard on the quarterback recently. I understand it’s bad business for a newspaper struggling financially and needing subscribers to criticize someone as popular as Brees. But it’s an important story and illustrates perfectly the bullying power of the woke mob.

I also wrote about the Pelicans, who like Brees, endorsed the “cops are racists” narrative when they kneeled during the first game of the NBA restart, once the national anthem began to play. I wrote at that moment I turned off the TV and haven’t watched an NBA game since and that I wasn’t alone. NBA ratings for some games are down 50%.

“I deleted the suggestion that NBA ratings are down because of protests, which I find dubious,” Keller wrote in an email.

As a man of the Left, it’s no surprise that’s how Keller views it. The NBA continuously shoving an anti-cop narrative down the throats of fans is certainly why so many are no longer watching.

In Keller’s defense, I can veto changes. Although there have been plenty of times we couldn’t come to an agreement and my columns were simply spiked.

The change Keller made to my final column published this week is what finally pushed me to quit. In his defense, Keller did send me the change for review but for some reason I didn’t catch it until it was published Wednesday.

I argued that the “cops are racists” narrative supported by Brees and the Pelicans is dangerous because it further erodes the trust of those living in dangerous parts of town. It makes it more difficult for them to catch the bad guys and make neighborhoods safe.

I wrote: “Many living in crime-ridden neighborhoods already distrust the police.” Keller added at the end of my sentence: “often with justification.”

The distrust those living in dangerous neighborhoods hold toward cops is not “often” justified. It rarely is.

But this is typical of the mindset Keller, the other columnists, and most reporters at the paper hold. Frankly, I don’t think most of them realize how biased they are. They just know conservatives are bad people and should not be taken seriously.

I would face the most resistance when my columns would dispel the notion that America is a vile, oppressive, racist nation. The Advocate/Times-Picayune seems fully invested in advancing this narrative with their reporters and columnists. Most of my columns spiked involved downplaying the role of racism in our state.

The readership of The Advocate/Times-Picayune tilts decidedly left. Leftists typically don’t like dissent. They are not free-speech advocates and they hate anyone who offers views opposite of the ones to which they are emotionally attached. Leftists don’t rely on logic or reason when forming opinions. They arrive at their conclusions based on what makes them feel good, superior, and virtuous.

You should see the hate emails I received from readers. I know Kovacs got plenty of complaints about my columns too. Kovacs paid a heavy price for publishing my columns for three years. He suffered the wrath of his joyless, judgmental, intolerant leftist readers. Some probably cancelled their subscription because of their outrage with my columns. I appreciate Kovacs taking the heat the past three years.

But I also received hundreds of emails from people claiming my columns were the only reason they were subscribers. I would often hear from people shocked but glad the paper would publish me considering my political leanings.

On Wednesday after I quit, the paper’s owner, John Georges, called me and thanked me for what I contributed over the past three years. He told me he wished I would have called him earlier and let me know of the resistance I encountered.

Georges said it’s difficult to find conservatives who work in the media. I sensed he was not happy the paper he owns is so hard left-leaning. Georges wanted me to know he was not a liberal.

In the end, I believe The Advocate/Times-Picayune is not a force for good in the state. It promotes an ideology that leaves destruction in its wake wherever it’s practiced. That’s why I left.

Eventually, the free market will catch up with the liberal media and Louisianans will gravitate more toward websites like The Hayride not intimidated or afraid of the woke mob. The paper and most other legacy media are clearly on a downward trajectory.



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