Derbyshire: "There Was No Reason to Give Me Anything, And I Didn't Expect Anything"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 9 2012 5:08 PM

Derbyshire: "There Was No Reason to Give Me Anything, And I Didn't Expect Anything"

It happened quickly, over a sleepy holiday weekend, and that's probably put a damper on the tick-tock of how John Derbyshire's firing happened. Earlier today I exchanged e-mails with Derbyshire, asking about the basics.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Did he think there'd be repercussions when he filed "The Talk," the column for Taki's Magazine?

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"No."

Did National Review offer him any sort of severence package?

"Nothing," wrote Derbyshire, "but I wasn't an employee, only a freelancer with an 'understanding' they'd use my stuff when suitable.  So there was no reason to give me anything and I didn't expect anything."

Did he get a chance to defend his position at the magazine?

"Not really. I exchanged 3-4 emails with [National Review Editor in Chief] Rich Lowry, but he wasn't listening."

National Review's website has hardly turned into an all-Derb-all-the-time sounding board, but it's not censoring critics, either. Mark Steyn, who now writes the back-of-the-book column (once the duty of Flo King, then of David Frum), argues that Derbyshire shouldn't have been canned. His close-out question is certainly worth a chin-stroke or two.

If Derb’s piece is sufficiently beyond the pale that its author must be terminated immediately, why is its publisher — our old friend Taki — proudly listed on the NR masthead?

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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