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The Swamp

Daily Caller Fires Legendary Opinion Editor Rob Mariani For Printing Milo

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Daily Caller opinion editor Rob Mariani was fired Saturday after several years at the publication. Mariani published a piece by Milo Yiannopoulos and promoted a weekly column for Milo, which he said was approved by Daily Caller editor-in-chief Geoff Ingersoll and other Caller authorities. However, backlash from the establishment media greeted Milo’s Caller coming-out party, and Mariani got the boot. To be fair, Ingersoll has not explained his side of the decision.

https://twitter.com/robert_mariani/status/926940817352200193

Milo also expressed in a Facebook statement that he was “disappointed, to put it mildly.” Milo’s sardonic headline, “A Round of Applause For Kevin Spacey,” is still on the Caller’s site. Mike Cernovich criticized the Caller’s decision, accusing the conservative publication of free-speech hypocrisy.

I spent some of the best years of my life working for the Daily Caller. At editorial meetings, Tucker Carlson (no longer there) went around the table and chided, mocked, dressed-down but most importantly PUSHED each one of us to come up with our most interesting ideas and provocative stories. The Caller is like an alternative-media “Saturday Night Live,” except good. People come and go. There were rivalries, there were screaming matches, there were headline-grabbing controversies and national boycotts. But when you were in that newsroom, you were with the most eccentric stone-cold killer journalists assembled anywhere. Our ragtag crew had an office on K Street, throwing keg parties surrounded by the most banal soul-sucking lobbyists in the belly of the beast, and it was awesome.

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I’m not going to delve into whether it was right or wrong to fire Mariani (wrong, and I’ll leave it at that). I’m not going to slam the Daily Caller, because I love that place deeply and I have my own website now, so it’s really none of my business. I’m also not going to make this another big piece about Milo. I like Milo and I was proud to work with him at Breitbart, to witness that rare moment when a great artist finds “Eureka,” puts the pieces together, and paints his own Campbell’s soup can. An astute media observer told me that Breitbart in 2015-2016 was a crew of Nines, and Milo was our Ten, the hottest chick among us who helped the other girls in the posse get more attention in the VIP room. It’s an interesting analysis, but it also makes us out to be a bunch of girls, which is pretty gay. Thanks Milo.

Instead, I’m going to carry on a proud Daily Caller pastime, which used to be the domain of our fearless leader Mr. Carlson: the Daily Caller Employee Obituary. Tucker loved lightly slapping us one more time on our way out the door, but he’d pepper in some heartfelt things too (Chris Bedford wrote mine). Rob deserves this time-honored tradition, and I might as well be the one to deliver it.

Rob Mariani, In Memoriam

Jordan Bloom, Rob Mariani

When I started at the Caller, the opinion editor was a delightful well-dressed young man named Peter Tucci. Later, a fellow from “The American Conservative” magazine named Jordan Bloom became the opinion editor, and also became one of my best friends for life. A true populist, Jordan built an incredible stable of button-pushing opinion writers, and managed to earn respect from the fringes and piss off a whole lot of people in the establishment. He ran folks like Gavin McInnes, Justin Raimondo, and Mark Judge when those dudes were less famous. Jordan and I bounced ideas off each other constantly, and he made me a sharper, more impactful writer. Before Milo started chomping on black cock, the Daily Caller opinion section was the coolest thing going.

I got to know Rob Mariani as Jordan’s roommate, in a chaotic but legendary row house in an unsavory neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Rob might very well be the funniest person I’ve ever met. He has the rare ability to spin impromptu monologues from historical esoterica, fantasy board games, current-events, personal neurosis, and pained everyday observations. He strikes me as someone who is profoundly miserable in his own skin, and I like that. Whenever he sensed someone around him becoming uncomfortable, he went out of his way to make them even more uncomfortable, to the point where they would get upset, shrink into themselves, and walk away never to be seen again. He compared “Vox” writers to SpongeBob’s Kevin the Sea Cucumber. He railed against the unearned supremacy of “highly-medicated fat chicks.” He did not have a filter.

In 2014, Bloom-Mariani scored one of the greatest victories in the history of independent media. They created a parody Twitter account called Salondotcom. Mimicking the social-justice headlines of Joan Walsh’s editorial staff, they inhabited Salon’s voice: earnest but ill-informed, click bait-y and clueless, eager to push for ruining someone’s life without even understanding the issue. Overnight, they started getting a ton of re-tweets from people who were convinced that the headlines came from the actual Salon website. It was gold.

The account was so hilarious, in fact, that Twitter suspended it, purportedly for violating its rules by not identifying itself as a parody account. Then something beautiful happened…there was a massive Twitter-wide movement to get it re-instated. Today, Salon is having financial problems and Joan Walsh is out as editor. One can only speculate when its downfall started.

Jordan left the Caller to go to grad school in Kansas and get married, and I left the Caller to help Steve Bannon kick the mainstream media in the teeth and bring down Hillary Clinton. To my delight, Rob Mariani was appointed to take over Jordan’s office, to keep the Tucci-Bloom dynasty going. He fit right into Bloom’s program and expanded it, bringing in some of the most interesting out-of-the-mainstream writers in the world. Usually when the Daily Caller came up in conversation in populist circles, it was Mariani’s opinion section that garnered praise. (How do you fire an editor who has Ilana Mercer, David Benkof, and Scoops Delacroix up on his last day?)

Operating at different outlets and in different capacities, the Good Guys in conservative media executed a flat-out, take-no-prisoners revolution in 2016. Rob Mariani, as gatekeeper of a high-traffic platform and as a thinker and strategist, was integral to the populist-nationalist hijacking of the Republican Party and the White House. Tucker got a primetime show. Bannon wrote executive orders. Gavin McInnes punched a guy outside the DeploraBall. President Donald J. Trump released the JFK Files. And I authored some of the greatest-ever Drudge links that beautiful man ever placed on his beautiful website:

The day after Trump’s victory, with Hillary defeated, middle-management at Breitbart explained to me that my time there was coming to an end. There would be no more “Pussy-Whipped.” There would be no more pretending to leave things in the kitchen of an Iowa hotel in order to listen discreetly to Marco Rubio. The prevailing idea, then, was to hide the Howleys on staff so, I don’t know, they wouldn’t get their Senate press credentials revoked (they did anyway). I wasn’t interested in playing along, and I let them know it. I quit. I won’t delve into whether their strategy then was right or wrong (wrong, and I’ll leave it at that). It’s their company, and it’s a great one. But it felt like a kick in the gut. It felt like yet another case of management telling my dishwashing crew to take a nice long smoke break, and to come in and out through the back door so the dinner guests won’t have to look at us. It hurt.

I found myself unemployed, sitting back at that row house with Jordan Bloom and Rob Mariani, watching the South Park Trump episodes and recalling all that we’d been through. “It’s actually happening. And this time for real,” Jordan said. The Bad News Bears actually won. The Little Giants beat Tom Arnold’s team. But our crew still had an uphill fight. We realized how tough it was still going to be for us. We were like the blacklisted Hollywood writers of the 1950’s, except we didn’t actually do anything involving Russia.

When I needed a place to write post-Breitbart, Rob Mariani gave me space for my columns at the Daily Caller, and I wrote some of my best pieces exposing the nefarious doings of the Deep State early on in the Trump administration. Rob kept my byline afloat, and kept me in the journalism game. When I asked him for advice on what I should do next, he heard me out. When I mentioned, under my breath, that I could start my own website, Rob knew immediately that’s what I wanted to do. That’s what I HAD to do. On April 15, I cut the tape on Big League Politics. Now I get to be like Tucker, holding court in editorial meetings challenging people to be the most interesting writers they can possibly be. To quote our president, I am very proud of myself.

I reached out to Caller editor Geoff Ingersoll and editorial director Vince Coglianese about Rob’s firing. They’re good decent guys, but even if they respond I don’t think I’ll put their quotes in this piece. This is Rob’s Daily Caller obituary. And even though I love the Daily Caller, or maybe BECAUSE I love the Daily Caller, writing this feels like another kick in the gut.

Rob Mariani will probably never get his own TV show (though I sincerely hope they let him do “Outnumbered” at least once). But he’s the funniest guy I’ve ever met, and he helped the Good Guys win. He helped save America. And that means something.

I started Big League Politics to provide a home for the homeless, employment for the unemployable, a Big League platform for writers who get traded 20 times and released by the Billy Beanes of the world. Rob, you’re welcome to write for us!

As Salondotcom told its aborted baby, “Sorry not sorry.”

 

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