Many of our readers, particularly those of you who hail from Baton Rouge or New Orleans, are aware that Dan Fagan is the conservative columnist at The Advocate. Many of you are aware that Dan is more or less the only voice of reason at that paper, filled as it is with leftist buffoonery. Even the purported reporters of straight news are overtly leftist, and the paper openly cheerleads for LaToya Cantrell, Sharon Weston Broome and John Bel Edwards while commonly attacking Republicans. Their jihad against Jeff Landry is a perfect example of the paper’s editorial excesses.
What you might not know is that Dan, before he took the job at The Advocate as the sole conservative voice on its editorial page, had a five-month stint writing here at The Hayride. Dan’s stuff was outstanding and we were sorry to see him go – but there needs to be somebody at The Advocate to counter the idiocy of Stephanie Grace and Will Sutton, and Dan was as good as there is, so we wished him well.
But for the better part of three years Dan has been treated as a red-headed stepchild at that paper, and after a series of events that he’ll explain here at the site tomorrow, he finally threw in the towel over there. Dan’s coming back.
I sent my letter of resignation into Peter Kovacs, editor of The Advocate/Times-Picayune this morning. I had been…
Not to seem grandiose about this, but we think there are implications here that bear comment.
Namely, that the Advocate, which has spent the past several months obnoxiously begging for donations to support “great journalism” while it was spiking and chopping apart the offerings of its best columnist, is on its way out. The model of arrogantly proclaiming that a distinctive left-biased publication represented balanced and objective news, which nobody ever believed but there was no alternative to what they were offering, simply isn’t operable in 2020.
Even fighting through the damage Facebook and Twitter are intentionally doing to our engagement on their platforms, The Hayride is regularly pulling 40,000 to 50,000 page views per day, which is more than most of the state’s smaller newspapers do. And we don’t have a newsroom, we don’t have a staff. We have virtually no resources at all. We just have talented writers who tell the truth, and a dogged determination to stick around and make a difference.
A big, sloppy, cumbersome, clunky old-school newspaper can’t survive in this environment. Everybody knows that. When it treats its people the way The Advocate treated Dan, increasingly nobody even wants it to survive.
There is no doubt The Advocate’s circulation is declining even while its owner John Georges has all but cornered the newspaper market in southeastern Louisiana. Now its editorial staff is declining, too.
Three years ago it would have been inconceivable for a star columnist at The Advocate to voluntarily choose to write at The Hayride instead; things flowed the opposite way then. But today’s announcement was almost inevitable. And that’s noteworthy.