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David Harsanyi thinks Glenn Beck's The Blaze will "do better" in future than Denver Post

Categories: Media

david harsanyi.jpg
David Harsanyi.
David Harsanyi was hired as a Denver Post columnist in 2004, eventually moving to the editorial page -- and the bookshelves via his well-read 2007 effort Nanny State. He also contributed to Glenn Beck's Arguing With Idiots -- and he's now on Beck's payroll as a major player for his news website, The Blaze.

Why make the jump? In part because Harsanyi thinks The Blaze offers better potential for growth, on a number of fronts, than does the Post.

"I loved my job at the Post," Harsanyi emphasizes from The Blaze offices in New York. "How many people get to sit there and write columns about anything they want and work with really good people in a great city? But I was there almost seven years, and I'm a restless person -- and I wanted to explore something new. And the trajectory of where the media's going is here. Not to say the Post won't do well. But I think places like The Blaze will do better."

glenn beck photo.jpg
Glenn Beck.
Some observers may question this assertion given recent news about Beck, who's announced that he will be parting company with Fox News in the wake of near-constant controversy and desertions of his program by numerous advertisers. This news broke on April 6, which just happened to be Harsanyi's second day on the job. "I didn't know that was going to happen," he notes. But while he concedes that the being blindsided by this development was "kind of a weird experience," he's not overly concerned. In his words, "I trust Glenn knows what he's doing."

He also feels comfortable with the way Beck has set up The Blaze.

"Glenn has no expectations that you're going to agree with him about everything when you work here, and there are some things I don't agree with him about -- not that he's ever even asked me," he says. "And it's not like I work with Glenn every day, though his hands are on most things that go on here. But he's put together a team of really smart people, and I love the plans they have here.

"I think The Blaze has gone out of its way to be an independent news and commentary source," he continues. "And that's what Glenn wants -- or he would have called it GlennBeck.com. He's growing the brand."

Regarding the brickbats being thrown at Beck by critics across the ideological spectrum, Harsanyi sees them as potential positives. "It doesn't concern me very much that he's being targeted," he says. "Actually, when you're being targeted, it shows that you matter."

nanny state.JPG
As for Harsanyi's specific duties beyond his weekly syndicated column, which will continue, he's not entirely certain -- and that's exciting for him. "This isn't a huge company, so everything is still evolving," he points out. "But I'll have a ton of freedom to write long, write short, be goofy, be serious, answer critics. This gives me a platform that most journalists -- especially young journalists -- embrace, and that writing a column on a specific date and time doesn't allow you."

Granted, he wasn't an early adapter of all current social media faves. "I wrote a column two years ago about how I hated Twitter and how useless it was," he says. "Then I took it back and Dan Haley" -- the Post's editorial page editor -- "called me a flip-flopper. But now I use it like an aggregator, to find out what's going on and gauge what people are interested in. It'll probably take a little time for me to build an audience there now that I'm at The Blaze, but I'd like to get involved in the larger conversation as well."

The Post, meanwhile, "is putting out a great product with maybe half the staaff it used to have, and I think its future is bright. But looking at it personally, to work at a place like The Blaze, because of how the medium has developed and the way the site is set up, gives me a lot more freedom to weigh in on different types of things. Not because Dan Haley didn't give me freedom. But here, I have a lot of interesting opportunities as a writer -- and I do think The Blaze will probably have a lot more eyeballs on it than the Post will probably have in the long run.

"That wasn't a huge part of my decision, but it seems to me that in the future, sites will look more like The Blaze than a newspaper. Obviously, the Denver Post is a different sort of journalistic enterprise, and we need both. But I just view this as something that fits me a little better."

More from our Media archive: "The Post's David Harsanyi breaks RNC-DNC flag flap."


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11 comments
David Scott
David Scott

Yeah, well, Beck's a dumb blowhard.  Harsanyi's a dumb blowhard.

Me
Me

Harsanyi was way too selective in his book "Nanny State," choosing only to skewer nannyism from the left. Oh, sure, he ignored conservative moves to prohibit gay marriage, adoption and military service. But mainly, he ignored conservatives' unseemly love of "term limits." They're nannyism in the extreme, a case of voters asking benevolent old Uncle Sugar to protect them from themselves and their own behavior: "Oh, PLEASE, Big Government, stop me from voting for that incumbent again! Take him off the ballot, otherwise I'm sure I'll re-elect him; I just can't control myself!" Conservatives such as Henry Hyde and Joel Hefley understood the freedom-inhibiting nannyism of term limits; it's a shame Harsanyi was too blinded by partisanship to se it. At the same time the Iron Curtain was falling and people in Eastern Europe were tasting freedom to pick their leaders for the first time, conservatives like Harsanyi in the U.S. wanted to limit who Americans could and couldn't vote for -- just like the old Soviet Union did. Republicans say government should be run like a business, but can you imagine running a business this way: "Johnson, you're our most productive salesman. You've brought more revenue into this company than any of our other salespeople combined. But you've been with us 12 years, so we have to let you go." Stupid, stupid, stupid. And so is Harsanyi, for looking for nannyism only to his left as it crept up on him from his right.

Jones
Jones

Maybe the Denver Post should do a story about it taking Westword's media reporter a month to figure out one of four columnists in this town had flown the coop for a job with Glenn Beck. Nice work, Westword. What's Susan Greene up to?

Eric
Eric

For once, Harsanyi could be right.

Now, I've been a detractor of the Post for a long time, and I actually dropped my subscription years ago.

Don't even remember what the big tiff was but it was political and it had to do with the Post's unending tongue bathing of conservative points of view.

So, I'm saying this as a comparison.

The Post does give a modicum of effort to presenting actual hard news stories in an at least semi-non partisan delivery.

This will be the reason that Harsanyi's "prediction" could, might bear fruit.

Beck's website will devote all attention to wild eyed, right wing theories, rumors, outright lies and hatefull accusations. It will rival Drudge, and seethe like Hannity. The conservative bottom feeding base for this is large enough to give the blaze good numbers , and Harsanyi's very style, delivery, and world view dovetail perfectly into the Beck cauldren of sleaze.

From Obama's "indoctrination centers" piece, the "personal Obama army" story, the made up stories about thrown away American flags during and after the '08 DNC, to the recent pieces, Harsanyi's proven he's as extreme a huckster as Beck, and willing to get just as dirty.

He could be right.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

For what it's worth, Jones, David Harsanyi was precluded from doing interviews until after The Blaze made its official announcement of his hiring, several weeks after he started working at the site. Thanks for the post.

Jones
Jones

RT Mike on Friday, the more you defend your slow, lazy work, the slower and lazier it seems. For what it's worth, Dave posted this news on his Facebook page over two months ago, before he even left Denver, so I doubt it was that much of a secret. Keep up the good work.

Jones
Jones

So you only report when Glenn Beck allows tells you it is okay to report something, Got it. Is that how "alternative" journalism works? Tell the truth,Mike, you had no idea this guy was gone for weeks after it happened, even though it is your job to know bout these things before they happen. For a man who loves to take reaching pot shots at anything and everything in Denver, you sure leave yourself open for equal criticism quite often.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Jones, I learned about Harsanyi's departure from the Colorado Pols piece. After that, I contacted him about arranging an interview. He e-mailed that the PR department at The Blaze wanted him to hold off until a formal announcement. That turned out to be the Politico piece, which marked his first interview on the subject I'm aware of. After the Politico item appeared, my interview with him took several days to coordinate. That's the way it happened. Thanks again for posting.

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