Daily Caller Quietly Fires Managing Editor for Communicating with White Nationalists

Daily Caller Quietly Fires Managing Editor for Communicating with White Nationalists

Of the many eye-popping nuggets in this deeply reported Buzzfeed profile of one-time white nationalist poster girl Katie McHugh is the revelation that the Daily Caller News Foundation last week quietly fired managing editor Dave Brooks over his contact with her.

The emails were, by the standards of any networking emails exchange between two former colleagues (McHugh had previously interned for the DC), innocuous. What makes them noteworthy is that Brooks told McHugh he would inquire on her behalf about job opportunities at openly racist outlets such as American Renaissance. This, apparently, was a bridge too far for his employer.

Neil Patel, the publisher of the Daily Caller, told reporter Rosie Gray in response to her request for comment over a series of emails McHugh and Brooks exchanged after the former was fired by Breitbart in 2017, that “we have absolutely zero tolerance for these insane white supremacy types…We have dismissed Dave Brooks effective immediately based on the email correspondence you sent which we had never previously seen.”

Patel may say his outlet has “zero tolerance” for white supremacists, but it is wild how they keep finding their way to work for the Caller.

Besides McHugh, the Caller has published plenty of white supremacist writers. Peter Brimelow, founder of the openly racist VDARE.com, has written opinion pieces there. Jason Kessler, the organizer of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August of 2017, also wrote opinion pieces for the site. The Caller purged Kessler’s byline in the wake of the rally that resulted in three deaths.

Then there was Scott Greer, a one-time editor for the site. Greer left the Caller in June of 2018 to write a book, but continued writing the occasional piece on a freelance basis. He ended all his ties with the site in September after Gray, then working for The Atlantic, revealed that he had also been writing articles under a pseudonym for the white supremacist website Radix Journal.

The Caller had actually known about Greer’s ties to white nationalists since 2017, when the Southern Poverty Law Center reported on them. But the site chose to believe Greer’s claim that the photos the SPLC had published of him with known white nationalists had been “taken at metal shows” when he was in college. After his ties to Radix came to light, Patel again hopped up on his high horse, saying anyone who “associate[s] with these losers” had no place writing for the site.

As Gray’s piece for Buzzfeed recounts, the alt-right circles McHugh and Greer ran in celebrated his employment with the Daily Caller. To them, it was a coup that they were getting their people into positions at high-profile conservative news sites. And it illustrates the nearly nonexistent line between the conservative movement and the white supremacists who have been energized and empowered by the right for many years, and particularly by the rise of Donald Trump to the presidency.

As noted by writer Jeet Heer, mainstream conservatism has played footsie with these racist elements for decades. Now that those elements have become visible, outlets such as the Daily Caller and Breitbart are suddenly claiming to be shocked, SHOCKED to find white supremacists in their ranks. (Breitbart provided Gray a statement claiming the organization “does not tolerate bigotry of any kind,” which would be news to anyone who has ever read it or just dived into the sewer that is its comments section.)

Whether outlets such as the Daily Caller and Breitbart are doing any soul-searching about why openly white supremacists are attracted to their editorial line is an unanswered question.

Then again, all these fired white nationalists can turn on Fox News any night of the week and see Daily Caller founder Tucker Carlson spouting white nationalist talking points to a primetime audience. Yet the website he founded has yet to denounce him. It must be very confusing.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.