Something new to whisper about in the TWT newsroom.
In his first week back on the job, Wes Pruden has put his longtime “special friend” Suzanne Fields‘ column on the cover of the opinion section. This is an unusual move and another example of, ahem, raising the quality of journalism on the op-ed pages he’s now overseeing, as was stated in a recent press release. “I wouldn’t say the Suzanne Fields column is any worse than the other stuff they have put out,” said a former TWT staffer. “But this is Wes’s prerogative. If it’s mediocre, then it’s the mediocre replacing the mediocre.”
Fields’ column never gets much traffic, but her continued publication was always guaranteed because of her relationship with Pruden. In recent years, her column never went away, but it was always buried inside the section on page 4. The cover is reserved for big names and big stories by the important people involved in the stories of the day — the Speaker of the House, presidential candidates, former Secretaries of State. But perhaps more importantly, TWT‘s opinion front page is a space generally reserved for original content exclusive to the publication, not syndicated columns available in other publications like Fields’ column.
Staff has often referred to Fields’ column as “filler.” Four opinion editors, including the late Tony Blankley, have been restrained by the “Pruden-Fields Rule”, in which then-TWT President Thomas McDevitt insisted that no one can cut Fields’ column because of her “special relationship” with Pruden. McDevitt is now TWT Chairman.
We reached out to McDevitt for comment… asking him for the Google analytics between Fields’ column and that of Ted Nugent, whose column they want to scrap, but whose prose typically makes the paper’s daily Top 10 Most Read list. We’ve also requested comment from Pruden. So far, no responses from either, despite giving them 19 hours to respond.