Eric Alterman: Mainstream Blog Pioneer Alterman Axed by MSNBC

Historians in the News

NEW YORK Eric Alterman, perhaps the first writer to get a blog on a mainstream national news site, has been dismissed after 10 years by MSNBC.com.

"P.S., I’m Fired," he heads an email to others in the media.

His blog, Altercation, however, will be picked up by the liberal site Media Matters. He will also become a senior fellow there. Alterman has also been a longtime columnist at The Nation magazine. He teaches at City University of New York.

"I was hired before the 1996 launch by both the website and the cable station, and while the latter association ended in 1998, I have been here at MSNBC.com for ten straight years, writing a column until 2002 and Altercation every day, ever since," he writes. "Permit me to point out that with the help of my contributors and co-Altercators, I’ve probably contributed more words to this site than any other person, including full-time staff. Well, ten years is a good run at anything."

Alterman noted that when he started, others, such as Mickey Kaus and Andrew Sullivan, already had popular blogs but they had not yet been adopted by larger news organizations.

"As for MSNBC.com, I want to say that my experience working with my editors, past and present, has been an unbroken and unblemished blessing," he concludes. "It may sound amazing in the context of the online world but until I learned of my dismissal a few weeks ago, I had no idea whatever how many hits this site received. Nobody ever asked me to deal with a topic on Altercation, much less to stay away from one. And of course, all mistakes were my own....

Related Links

  • Eric Alterman's statement about his firing
  • Read entire article at Editor & Publisher

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