Et tu Quinton?
“If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”
It seems our “ill informed friend” Jeff Quinton has decided to eschew his pretense to the contrary and join the ranks of Red Maryland critics. In his cutesy titled would be obituary “The Sun sets on Red Maryland”, Mr. Quinton attempts to tell a fairy tale of our demise and to openly refute, without any cited evidence, the facts regarding our parting of the ways with the Baltimore Sun.
While mentioning Red Maryland’s multiple explanations of these events, Mr. Quinton proceeds to ignore them, making the outrageous claim that we at Red Maryland “should have known that nefarious inferences could and would be drawn” by our email offering to help Republican candidates throughout the state. Mr. Quinton, like other critics of our outreach, knows full well that there was no “nefarious” purpose to what we wrote nor was it reasonable or foreseeable for anyone to expect that Red Maryland would be accused of running a “protection racket” for offering to interview candidates on our air and offer, as many Maryland conservative blogs and even newspapers do, advertising as well.
To double down on his “Red Maryland deserved it” fantasy, Mr. Quinton employs, for the second time, an anonymous source to bad mouth Red Maryland. In this case, the purported source is identified as “one veteran politico” whose keen veteran insight was to call us “just dumb”. We assume that this “veteran politico” is just an established critic of Red Maryland, like the “GOP Insider” Mr. Quinton used in an earlier hit piece. In any event, they know not of what they speak.
When we joined the Baltimore Sun we wrote the following:
“We have been doing Red Maryland for almost six-and-a-half years. We’ve been doing blogging and podcasting even longer than that. We thank you, our readers, for trusting Red Maryland as Maryland’s premier conservative source. We plan on maintaining that tradition.”
We insisted that we had full control over our content and would not be changing who we are. Despite Mr. Quinton’s assertions to the contrary, we were never asked to do anything differently. The Sun put absolutely no preconditions on our work for them. The Sun knew we endorsed candidates and that we had offered advertising on the Red Maryland Network. They never asked us to stop. The Sun knew that we endorsed candidates and that we gave our full-throated support to Larry Hogan. In every piece we wrote for the Sun about the Governor’s race, none of which were authored by Mark Newgent, we fully disclosed our support for Hogan. The Sun had no problem with this and anyone who read our work knew of any “bias” we may have had. They never asked us to recant it or to not write about that race. Unlike the Sun’s editorial board itself, no one had to guess or assume which side of things we were on, we admitted it early on and acknowledged it in every piece we wrote. Remember that when the Sun makes its endorsements right before the election.
So if the Sun approached us, which they did, and accepted us as is, which they did, what changed? Well for one, there was a concentrated effort to kick us off by the Soros-funded Media Matters for America, who repeatedly saw Red Maryland as such a threat that they took time away from attacking Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Fox News to attack us on their front page and worked behind the scenes to get us removed. Our writing actually exposed the inherent corruption of our one party state and O’Malley cronies threatened to sue, Democratic legislators harassed Sun reporters and even two Mayors of Baltimore felt the need to directly respond to a piece written by our Brian Griffiths. But the Sun would lose face to give into such obvious pressure and, again, never asked us to change what we wrote.
So what happened? Of course, we explained that on two occasions. But the City Paper probably summed it up best
“The interesting twist on the conservative kerfuffle comes as the conflict came to light through the posting of the entire Red Maryland solicitation email by former Gov. Robert Ehrlich staffer Joe Steffen on his blog Darkness Revisited. Steffen, as you may recall, was the self-described “Prince of Darkness” who was fired by Ehrlich back in 2005 after allegations came to light that he was spreading malicious rumors about then-Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley’s marital status on a conservative blog and in private emails.
Steffen, who most recently worked on the unsuccessful Dan Bongino campaign for the newly-redistricted 6th district congressional seat, called the Red Maryland solicitation “a paid protection racket” and said that several candidates forwarded it to him. Steffen wrote on his blog, ‘Had the editors of Red Maryland written what I think they wanted to write, it would have been along the lines of ‘pay us and we’ll have you on our show and say nice things about you and we’ll fuck your opponent over. Capiche?’”
Of course any “conflict” was known to the Sun before Steffen’s defamatory piece and was never an issue. For all of Mr. Quinton’s hypothesizing about shorter leashes for conservatives and how Red Maryland should have known we needed to be something different when we started working for the Sun, it is clear he does not know the real facts regarding our relationship with the Sun.
Which brings me to the great irony of Mr. Quinton’s hit piece. Our relationship with the Sun ended precisely because we never changed who we were, as we promised we wouldn’t. We are proud of the work that we did for the Sun and did great good for the cause of conservatism and Republicanism in Maryland in a forum openly hostile to both. What did us in, however, was an outrageous set of lies by someone nominally on our side of the ideological fence. Someone who was angry with us because he didn’t like who we supported for Governor and took it upon himself to deceitfully undermine us.
While some may disagree with us on issues, or tone or which candidates we choose, who can really say that our cause is better served by us not working for the Baltimore Sun? What objective good was done by silencing an unabashed voice of conservatism on the editorial pages of the state’s largest newspaper? Work that exposed our Democratic opponents and directly encouraged like minded readers to help grow our state Republican Party. Some in our party have recognized that but our “friends” in new media would rather give in to their jealousy and schadenfreude.
Which brings me to the blatant hypocrisy of Mr. Quinton. After blaming Red Maryland, after qualifying defamation as a foreseeable inference, after issuing anonymous attacks and reinventing reality about the nature of our relationship with the Sun, Mr. Quinton says
“Here in Maryland, it appears that O’Malley’s cronies and the Soros-funded MMFA were out to get Red Maryland canned at the Sun from the beginning. Then, Republicans piled on and let their own feuds or jealousy fuel them into using the words and tactics of the hard left to trash Red Maryland. I doubt The Baltimore Sun will take a chance on any other conservative bloggers in the immediate future and I’m sure many short-sighted Republicans who hate the Sun and don’t get the big picture of engaging the broader culture will be happy with that.“
Mr. Quinton laments the “circular firing squad” of the MDGOP. He looks down on the party for its infighting. But read his blog. You will find few articles that are not written from some firing position within that circle. You would be hard pressed to find any useful information about what state Democrats are doing. You see none of the investigative insight into the state’s corrupt one-party system that is replete at Red Maryland. And while we are not shy about criticizing those on our side, the contributors at Red Maryland all have a long list of accomplishments in service of the cause of conservatism and the state party. Mr. Quinton cannot claim the same thing. To bemoan the “circular firing squad” when you have stood in every position in the circle and contributed nothing positive to the cause or party you now criticize is beyond absurd.
Mr. Quinton’s piece is a pulp fiction written by an opportunistic blogger looking to boost himself on the adversity of people he claims are friends. It is despicable but it does prove the wisdom of President Truman so thoroughly.