I was the token conservative columnist for seven years at the Aspen Times, the local lefty newspaper of Aspen, Colorado.
Despite Democrats outnumbering Republicans in Aspen by about a three-to-one margin, the clicks on my column dwarfed the pack of liberal columns and their predictable progressive pusillanimous pattering. In fact, my column was often the most popular thing in the entire newspaper, sometimes drawing more clicks than frontpage news.
I was occasionally picked up by national outlets like Real Clear Politics, Powerline, Lucianne, American Thinker and Instapundit. I drew clicks to the little Aspen Times from around the country.
But I was supposed to be a token, not a success. Last Christmas Eve without warning or discussion, they fired me via an email. They said my “values” were contrary to theirs. They also took some parting potshots at my writing, apparently forgetting that without complaint they’d published hundreds of iterations of that very writing.
They offered no thanks for my service, nor for my performing that service without compensation (the Aspen Times ordinarily paid its columnists, but I’d always declined any compensation).
Readers flooded the newspaper with letters objecting. It made no difference. The newspaper published only a small fraction of those letters.
It all worked out fine for me. My blog at theAspenbeat.com took off and I increased my readership nearly ten-fold. National outlets now link to my site more than ever.
Meanwhile, the Aspen Times is being smacked around by a sassy bitch named Karma. The internet is undermining their biggest source of revenue, namely real estate ads. Layoffs loom. They’ve been reduced to begging for charitable donations. They may need to change their name to Aspen Hard Times.
Karma still wasn’t done with them. The Aspen Times holds an annual “Best of Aspen” competition each fall where locals and visitors cast votes for their favorites in various categories. One category is “Best Columnist.”
Guess whom the readers decided was “Best Columnist” for 2020. Yep, even though the Aspen Times technically fired me as a columnist back in 2019 and so I wrote only a blog in 2020, their readers voted me “Best Columnist” of 2020. (See page 8 here.)
A friend suggests that the newspaper should throw out those turkey leftovers. They have a full plate of crow to eat.