Goodbye To the Daily Caller

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
Font Size:

Almost six years ago, I awoke bleary-eyed the morning after the Super Bowl to a cryptic e-mail from a journalist friend asking me, “What are you going to do now?” I scurried to figure out what had happened overnight. I discovered that AOL had acquired The Huffington Post, creating all sorts of complications for me as a columnist at AOL’s now-defunct Politics Daily.

Still sipping my morning coffee, I fired off an e-mail to Neil Patel, co-founder of The Daily Caller. By the time I was ordering lunch, we had drafted a deal for me to come here. Not only was this arrangement quickly expedited, it may also have proved to be one of the rare times in history where a company lived up to everything they promised a prospective employee (and more). It was, as they say, the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

But all good things come to an end. Now, as we are about to begin a new political era, I am also on the verge of a new and exciting adventure at The Daily Beast. This will be my last post in this space.

I must say this: Tucker Carlson is a mensch. A year ago, when I launched my book, TheDC threw me a book party at our Washington, DC, offices. Tucker hosted the event, gave an overly complimentary and glowing speech about yours truly, took pictures with anyone and everyone who asked (and there were many), and basically closed down the event (which ended fairly late). The next morning (at 6 am), he was on set co-hosting Fox & Friends Weekend…in New York City. How many bosses do you know who would do that?

Tucker has left his role as editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller to take the 9pm slot at Fox News, but I have no doubt TheDC will continue to prosper. Tucker’s successor as editor-in-chief of TheDC is Vince Coglianese—a brilliant young journalist who came up through the ranks right here. Vince did a terrific job as executive editor during my tenure, and I’m excited to see what’s next for him on the horizon.

Over the years, so many bonds were formed here. For example, this summer, I will attend the wedding of two of my former colleagues, Jamie Weinstein and Michelle Fields — who met and fell in love in this office. If those names sound familiar, it’s partly because they became embroiled in one of the many Donald Trump stories of 2016.

One of the amazing things about TheDC is how many of the major players (Never Trumpers and Trump boosters) got their start in this office. Unlike some places that demand strict conformity, TheDC has always welcomed tension and diversity. Thus, you can have Matt Boyle (now at Breitbart) and Neil Munro (now at Breitbart) happily coexisting in the same office as Alexis Levinson (now at BuzzFeed) and Chris Moody (now at CNN). If you want to really understand TheDC, read my piece on how our philosophy is like the old Oakland Raiders.

Speaking of which, TheDC doesn’t get enough credit as an incubator of talent. You can find alumni scattered throughout journalism, ranging from Vanity Fair to BuzzFeed to the Washington Examiner to Yahoo! to the Daily Mail.

I should also add that aside from the personal friendships and the career opportunities this perch has afforded me, it has also been an honor to do this job. As the son of a prison guard, I’ve always felt blessed to get paid to write and talk about politics.

“I don’t think writers are sacred,” wrote playwright Tom Stoppard, “but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you might nudge the world a little or make a poem that children will speak for you when you’re dead.”

I love this quote, precisely because I don’t think anything I’ve written or said has changed the world in any dramatic sense. All we can hope for is to nudge it a bit.

From time to time, I believe, we’ve done that.

It has been my pleasure to work with and for some of the great journalists here at TheDC, as well as to earn a living as a writer (something I do not take for granted). Please do keep in touch with me on Twitter. And thank you for reading!

Matt K. Lewis