ASPEN — A conservative opinion writer who was fired by the Aspen Times after seven years because his ideology was too far right, has won best columnist of the year for the second year in row by the readers of the Times, despite not having a presence in the paper since December 2019.
Glenn Beaton said in his blog that on Christmas Eve, 2019, Aspen Times management sent him an email telling him that his values were not what they were looking for in a columnist, despite his column being one of the most read features of the paper, Beaton said, garnering thousands of clicks more than any other writer or feature.
“But I evidently wasn’t hired to be a conservative success. Rather, I was hired to be a conservative token,” Beaton wrote in a column on his blog about the award.
Beaton said his departure came just a few weeks after a column that hit hard against elite Aspen business owners and government officials for utilizing taxpayer-subsidized housing for themselves for “dimes on the dollar.” These housing units are at times are adjacent the ski mountain and worth millions, Beaton said.
“The liberal establishment that treats itself to this exorbitant housing at taxpayer expense includes, coincidentally, some of the editors, reporters and other columnists at the Aspen Times, the company that fired me after I reported on it,” Beaton said in his blog. “Small world, huh?”
His departure from the Times, however, didn’t silence his work. Instead, he punched back harder through a personal blog, and his readership grew.
“I’ll admit, I was disappointed when the Aspen Times fired me on Christmas Eve a couple of years ago after I became the most-read columnist in the 130-year history of the paper,” Beaton told Complete Colorado. “But it worked out well for me. Now my blog has taken off with over a half million readers, and I have a national platform.”
His new acclaim led to two consecutive “best columnist” award in the Aspen Times’ own “Best of Aspen,” a yearly special publication used in the newspaper industry and designed to sell more advertising to the winners. “Best of” publications always feature local businesses that the newspaper can then go back to when they win and sell them advertising “thanking” their customers for “loving” them. They also, many times, feature a bit of back-patting, too, by asking readers to vote on who in their newsroom is the best.
That’s where Beaton has now taken top prize two years in a row, as readers are also allowed to “nominate” someone, and Beaton continues to be nominated. This year it went even further, Beaton not only won best columnist, but he won the award of all awards, he was named “Mr. Aspen” by Times’ readers.
“I demand a crown and the keys to the city. Or at least the keys to some of those taxpayer-subsidized slope-side digs,” Beaton said in his blog. “For all this, I thank my readers. You’re the best. I may or may not have those bad values for which the Aspen Times fired me. That judgment is beyond my pay grade, at least in this world. But in any event, I’m in good company with readers like you. Thank you.”
The Times, which was originally owned by Swift Communications, has recently been sold to West Virginia-based Ogden Newspapers, purportedly led by somewhat more conservative ownership. Maybe new management will find Beaton a desk again.
“In Aspen itself, it’s gratifying to see the support of the Aspen Times readers,” Beaton said, adding his thoughts on the new management that is due to take over in a few weeks: “Merry Christmas and pass the popcorn.” Subscribe to Beaton’s blog for free by sending an email to: email@example.com.
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