Mediaite and its illustrious White House Correspondent Tommy Christopher have parted ways, The Mirror has learned. And it wasn’t voluntary. We’re told Christopher was fired. Details are still forthcoming.
In the past year there were murmurings that editorial leadership was not pleased with Christopher, particularly his reporting on racial issues. Editors were well aware of the varying difficulties involved in working with him and privately voiced concerns.
That said, he’s a character and a pretty decent writer — in 2010, he even live-tweeted his own heart attack and lived to tell about it. Or tweet about it, as the case may be. In 2011, he suffered gangrene of the appendix, but mostly kept it under wraps.
AOL sacked Christopher in 2009 over a story involving Playboy.com writer Guy Cimbalo‘s attack on conservative women. At the time, it was reported that Christopher was trying to get the Playboy attack list on Politics Daily, a site that no longer exists after the merger with Huffington Post. He reportedly posted a critique, but an editor, Melinda Henneberger, who now works for The Washington Post, later scrapped his copy and canned him.
Christopher did not return an email request for comment.
Sadly, yesterday, the feisty reporter was carrying on via Twitter that Grandmaster Flash had favorited one of his tweets.
“Hear that, world?” he wrote. “Grandmaster Flash is remotely aware of my existence! So step off!”
UPDATE: My colleague Matt Lewis overlapped with Christopher at Politics Daily and weighed in on him and the details surounding his termination from AOL Context is important here. Playboy had published a list of conservative women the author wanted to ”hate f***”.
“I was at Politics Daily during this time (and consider Tommy and Melinda both to be friends.),” he wrote me by email earlier today. “It’s important to note that Melinda denies that Tommy was fired over the Playboy story. The sort of untold story is that all the bloggers Politics Daily inherited from AOL’s Political Machine (including Tommy) were let go around that time — except me. Tommy is a dogged reporter, and I was sad to see him go. His defense of conservative women was admirable and an example of why he is respected by many of us who disagree with him philosophically. But the notion that Melinda would fire somebody for defending conservative women has never rang true to me. There are three reasons: First, Melinda is a pro-lifer, herself. Additionally, as she disclosed last year, she was raped 29 years ago. [See the story here.] Lastly, as a center-right journalist, Melinda always treated me with kindness and respect. If anyone would have good reason to support the conservative women attacked by Playboy, it would be her.”
UPDATE 2: See Mediaite‘s formal memo on upcoming changes and a kind farewell to Christopher. As Politico noted, Christopher was offered options to stay on in another capacity, but internally, it was described as a firing as the result of a restructuring that editors explained on the site today. Mediaite management did not respond to a formal request for comment.