Reason Podcast

Kevin Williamson on How Mob Politics Got Him Fired from The Atlantic

He was hired to bring ideological diversity to The Atlantic and fired days later for being heterodox. He's not a fan of Donald Trump but finds his critics just as bad.

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In 2018, the journalist Kevin Williamson was hired away from the flagship publication for the conservative movement, National Review, by one of the oldest and most-prestigious magazines in American history, The Atlantic. The editor of The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg, explained that Williamson's hire was done to help bring ideological diversity to the pages of a publication that skewed liberal or left on most things.

Williamson's first piece for The Atlantic—a column declaring that "The Libertarian Moment" heralded by Reason was deader than a doornail—appeared on April 2, 2018. He was fired on April 5, after a years-old tweet had come to light, one in which the pro-life Williamson argued that women who have abortions should not only be charged with homicide but executed, preferably by hanging. It's worth pointing out that Williamson was joking, at least about the hanging part, because he's generally against capital punishment.

Williamson rejoined the staff of National Review, where he continues to author a mix of heavily reported articles from the backroads of America and opinion pieces that are always incredibly well-written and challenging to libertarian sensibilities—many of which the 46-year-old Texan shares. He's also just published The Smallest Minority: Independent Thinking in the Age of Mob Politics, which he had actually started writing before he got fired by The Atlantic.

Nick Gillespie spoke with Williamson at FreedomFest, the annual gathering of libertarians in Las Vegas, about his brief, tumultuous experience at The Atlantic, why he thinks Trump supporters are often just as bad as left-wing ideologues when it comes to shutting down divergent opinions, and how America might actually start encouraging people to think for themselves again.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

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  1. Couldn’t he have just claimed to have “evolved” and only racist, traitorous Trump supporters (i.e. all Trump supporters) should be hanged? He would then be praised for “commonsense” policy proposals.

    1. Shhhh!

      Don’t help the Neocons.

  2. Kevin W. (‘s career) must die.

    Reason #1: stupid enough to think Atlantic readers wouldn’t do a background check.

    Reason #2: stupid enough to think hating Trump would earn him a pass.

    1. But women who kill their kids in the first third trimester should face the same penalties as those who kill in the twenty-second.

  3. “The editor of The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg, explained that Williamson’s hire was done to help bring ideological diversity to the pages of a publication that skewed liberal or left on most things.”

    Hint to the world: Socialists lie.

  4. “…by one of the oldest and most-prestigious magazines in American history, The Atlantic”

    Hahaha. This is patently untrue Gillespie. It has been a Propaganda outlet for many decades now.

    1. It has been a Propaganda outlet for many decades now.

      That may be true, but oldness is immutable and prestige isn’t necessarily deserved.

      1. The Atlantic was started as an Abolitionist Propaganda periodical.

        It is debatable that the current version of the The Atlantic is old at all. It has been reformed numerous times since 1857.

        pres·tige
        /preˈstēZH,preˈstēj/
        noun: prestige
        Widespread respect and admiration felt for someone or something on the basis of a perception of their achievements or quality.

        The Atlantic does not have widespread respect and admiration based on achievements or quality. It has always been a Propaganda outlet, so there are no achievement or quality. The Atlantic is not valued outside Lefty circles and I don’t even think those circle respect or admire The Atlantic.

  5. Um, he needs to stop complaining and retrain, his job isn’t in demand any longer. Pandering to his biases won’t bring it back either. Get up and move Williamson.

  6. I hope Williamson is living in a Uhaul trailer down by the river.

  7. The Atlantic is only “diverse in opinion” when the opposing view is losing the debate.

  8. “The Libertarian Moment” heralded by Reason was deader than a doornail

    I guess it turned to be deader than even he knew.

    1. The thing about moments is that they don’t last very long.

  9. Williamson deleted his entire Twitter account and all his tweets immediately after being hired but before the Tweets that got him fired went viral. That tells you all you need to know about his integrity. Had everything on the internet not been forever and people hadn’t had screen shots of those tweets, Williamson would have denied ever making them and called anyone who said he did a liar. He clearly wanted and hoped he could deny making them and a lot of other statements or otherwise he wouldn’t have deleted his twitter account.

    Williamson is a lowlife. There is just no other way to put it. And frankly I don’t blame the Atlantic for firing him. It wasn’t a “mob” that got him fired. It was their readers and their staff. The Atlantic didn’t owe his fat ass a job. If his statements offended their existing staff and alienated more readers than he would have brought to the publication, he should have been fired. It was a necessary business decision.

    For him to whine about it now and claim it was the “mob” and not his own stupidity and statements he tried to not own up to making just shows what a hypocrite he is.

    His fat ass needs to buy a Uhaul and learn to weld or code or do something useful. I am tired of knowing who he is.

    1. What happens on the web, stays on the web – – – – – –

  10. I love how reason is so forgiving of Williamson. He was just joking. Or at least joking about the hanging part. I am sure if someone who wasn’t part of the beltway media club said women who had abortion should be charged with murder, Gillespie would be just as forgiving, right?

    For Nick it is always about class and who is in the club. The fact that it is a club of lowlifes who have no business having any influence on anything is besides the point I guess.

    1. Gillespie knows if he supports oblivion for people who use dark humor and snark, he would be the among the first ostracized.

  11. Williamson can go fuck himself with a rusty pipe.

    Kevin Williamson wrote of white working class communities:
    “The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die.”
    http://bit.ly/22kuT51

    And in this case, he was not “joking”.

    Think this played in his firing, or his hiring?

    I wonder if this comes up at all with Nick. I expect not.

    1. Fascinating how Reason now fellates the white hating Neocons they used to despise, because Open Borders Uber Alles.

      Nick:
      In the 21st century, libertarians are going to have make common cause with the globalists of all parties, with the people whose core value is the right of individuals to move freely around the planet.

      Watching The Brink made me think that for all the other differences Reason has with the socialist magazine Jacobin, it may matter far more that we share a belief in open borders.

      https://reason.com/2019/04/12/steve-bannons-economic-nationalism-is-th/

      1. You do not know what a neocon is, besides something you don’t like, do you?

    2. If you lose your job because China cheats on its trade deal and devalues it currency and uses slave labor, buy a uhaul you fucking welfare queen. But if you lose a job because you said a bunch of stupid shit that offended your employer’s customers and the other employees, that is totally different and completely unfair. That is just the mob.

      God what a piece of shit lowlife Williamson is. When that fat fuck finally keels over of gout or heart failure, I am going to wait in the long line to piss on his grave.

      1. Reason: Free trade is buying widgets from Slavemaster Xi. Offshore slaves: Libertarian Moment!

      2. “But if you lose a job because you said a bunch of stupid shit that offended your employer’s customers and the other employees, that is totally different and completely unfair. That is just the mob.”

        Because it was a completely stupid thing to get offended about that resulted in absurdly hyperbolic reactions? Like the other writers saying they would feel “unsafe” by him writing for the magazine from halfway across the country?

        1. The employer has to do what is best for his business not what is fair

          1. I doubt that pandering to a bunch of prima donnas who cannot abide an opinion that contradicts their worldview is good for the long term business of an ostensibly nonpartisan publication.

            1. Atlantic isn’t a nonpartisan publication. And those prima donnas who can’t stand another opinion are the vast majority of their readership.

              Moreover, it is pretty rich of Williamson to claim the Atlantic needs “diversity”. Does anyone ever say that the National Review? Why don’t they hire a progressive who offends 80% of their readership. Oh wait, they did that. His name is Kevin D. Williamson.

    3. Well, yes, dysfunctional downscale communities Should die, instead of perpetuating more dysfunction and poverty….what on Earth is wrong about that?

      1. Maybe the causes of the dysfunction are what need to change. Wow, giving fat fucks like Williamson access to cheap shit from China causes a huge amount of social disruption. Maybe that cheap shit isn’t so cheap.

        I wouldn’t even mind his point that much if he wasn’t such a whinny piece of shit when it happened to him. He lost his job that he has no visible qualifications for to begin with and he is still bitching about it. But everyone else needs to move across the country and learn to code.

        Fuck him. He needs to die. I am tired of knowing who he is.

        1. Social disruption is a feature, not a bug!

          Generates more orphan tears to polish our monocles!

      2. Well, yes, dysfunctional downscale communities Should die, instead of perpetuating more dysfunction and poverty

        I wish our shithole urban areas would disappear, too, but those people are going to end up going somewhere.

  12. Obviously, Williamson isn’t very smart. Why in the world would anybody go to work for a crappy magazine like The Atlantic?

    But then you might have been able to tell that from his choice of profession.

  13. Striped tie with a striped shirt?

    Dude.

    1. These guys are always broken dorks

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