Monday, October 09, 2006

Reuters Editor Fired for Writing Ann Coulter Book

Thanks to my friend Tracy Van Slyke, Publisher of the excellent In These Times, for the tip today that an editor at Reuters was fired last week when his employer got a good look at what he had written about Ann Coulter, the venomous author of a trillion lies about Progressives.

Joe Maguire, whose book Brainless: The Lies and Lunacy of Ann Coulter, is scheduled for release on tomorrow, will not concede that he was fired -- nor will Reuters. But this certainly has the telltale look of someone who abruptly resigns their post to "spend more time with family." In other words, a canning by any other name…

“There was a difference of opinion about the approval I received to write this book,” Maguire said. “I thought I had met the conditions, and proceeded accordingly. As a result, I no longer work there.”

Maguire says he wrote the book to deconstruct Coulter's arguments and "show how misguided they can be," adding that “when the political discourse has dropped to the unfathomable levels it has, someone has to say this is wrong.”

Reuters confirmed that Maguire was granted conditional approval to write his book but that once it was written, it ran afoul of the Reuters’ "principles of integrity, independence and freedom from bias.”

“Our editorial policy and The Reuters Trust Principles are prominently displayed for all to see on Mr. Maguire’s book will soon be available. Both speak for themselves,” read a Reuters statement.

But the New York Times cites "A Reuters employee who insisted on anonymity out of concern at angering management said that the 20 or so employees at the markets desk where Mr. Maguire had been one of two editors in charge 'took a group coffee break' in solidarity on Thursday."

I did some quick homework on political donations by senior managers and board members at Reuters and they don't appear to give any more collectively to Republicans than Democrats, which doesn’t rule out political bias, but it at least makes it less of an obvious call.

But one has to wonder what, as a news organization, Reuters would consider a departure from "integrity, independence and freedom from bias" if one of their employees, on his own time, wrote a book to correct the record on some of Coulter's slime.

I guess we'll see when the book comes out.