Jonathan Slevin, The Washington Times' president and publisher, will be leaving the paper Friday after his contract was not renewed, and he is not happy about it. In a letter to the paper's staff, Slevin airs the Times' dirty laundry, savaging the paper's board of directors and editor in chief Sam Dealey. Among Slevin's claims, he states:
- The two-person board of directors "has no experience in the newspaper business, and since takng [sic] an active and intrusive role in February have involved themselves incessantly in operational matters, including taking charge of financial, legal, and human resources with which they lack the operational knowledge to make judicious decisions."
- Nick Chiaia, one of those directors, "has on several occasions in past months communicated directly to me his disdain for The Washington Times."
- One of the directors has not been to the Times' office during Slevin's six-month tenure, while the other has visited once. Slevin states that as a result, "they were either aloof or out of touch with our endeavors."
- "Board decisions seemed at times to reflect other priorities that conflicted with their fiduciary responsibilities for the business strategy and growth opportunities of The Washington Times, such as a constant emphasis on the needs of sister-company UPI." [NOTE: Chiaia is president of UPI]
- Dealey leaked news of the Times allowing Slevin's contract to expire. Slevin says of Dealey's behavior, "For me this was particularly upsetting, since I had hired this young man with the intention of grooming him in his first opportunity to be an editor. How sad that he elected to embark on such a pattern of conduct which hurt so many."
A few notes on this. First, I entirely understand Chiaia's "disdain" for the Times, though I assume my reasons are different from his. Second, it would be easier to sympathize with Slevin's sadness at being purportedly betrayed by Dealey if Slevin had not begun his tenure as Times president by escorting his predecessor from the building and confiscating his computer and phone. Finally, as my colleague Eric Boehlert puts it, this is what happens when the Messiah tries to run a newspaper.