Pierce leaves Globe to blog on politics for Esquire

Anyone who follows Charlie Pierce on Facebook knows the guy was born to be a political blogger. Few combine snark, outrage and an eye for interesting links better than he.

Well, now Jim Romenesko reports that Pierce is leaving the Boston Globe Magazine to become the lead writer for Esquire magazine’s “Politics Blog.” (Pierce was already a contributing editor for Esquire.) Editor-in-chief David Granger says:

Charlie is going to make Esquire.com’s “The Politics Blog” one of the very few political blogs one has to read every day, all day. He is one of the great American voices, and we’re confident that he will lead a national conversation during what should be the most entertaining political season of our lifetimes.

The timing is a bit awkward for the Globe. While you still can, check out a video of Pierce talking about his favorite writers, which he made as part of a Globe ad campaign.

In 2009 I wrote about Pierce’s book “Idiot America” for the Guardian. Pierce is a longtime friend of Media Nation, and I wish him the best.

Update: Turns out there was more to Pierce’s departure from the Globe. Jack Sullivan of CommonWealth Magazine reports that Pierce was disciplined  for writing an “intemperate and intolerant” blog post about Tea Party Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell for Esquire last year. Among other things, he called her a “sideshow freak” and a “crackpot,” observations that might seem unremarkable to anyone familiar with Pierce’s writing style, O’Donnell’s bona fides or both.

Pierce currently has a union grievance pending against management. Pierce told Sullivan, “You could probably safely say ‘yes’” as to whether the dispute was among the factors that persuaded him to leave.

It would be easy to rip Globe managers for letting one of their most original writers walk over such a minor matter. But I understand why a paper like the Globe prohibits its writers from going postal for other publications, much as that policy might seem archaic in the Internet era. So I’ll leave it at this: What Pierce wrote for Esquire was precisely what the Globe could have anticipated he would write — it was standard-issue Pierce, neither more nor less caustic than his political writing in general. (Good Lord, have they read “Idiot America”?)

And the Globe is losing a lot more than it’s gaining.

12 thoughts on “Pierce leaves Globe to blog on politics for Esquire

  1. Laurence Glavin

    Charlie Pierce can be heard nearly every Tuesday morning during the 10:30 to 11:00 am bloc of the Stephanie Miller show. In Boston it’s heard on WWZN-AM 1510, which at that hour of the day has a moderately directional pattern from a 50,000-watt transmitter. Dan says he has a problem picking it up at certain times of the day. For weird reasons, it’s very directional from sunSET till sunRISE, then it provides a two-hour window of protection to a station on 1510 in Nashville, TN. Thus the Stephanie Miller and Ed Schultz shows can be heard every day with WWZN’s least-encumbered operation, even in winter.

  2. Mike Benedict

    As I’ve said before, Pierce is the best thing about the Globe. Rather than lose him, they should clone him.

  3. Stephen Stein

    You’re much more Tweet-centric than I – do you know whether Pierce has a Twitter handle other than @GlobePierce?

    1. Dan Kennedy

      @Stephen: Charlie seems to do his political blogging on Facebook, not Twitter. But I would guess that Esquire is going to push him to change his ways.

  4. Michael Corcoran

    I wish major publications, especially daily newspapers, would be looser on these kind of issues (I am reminded of the Dave Weigel situation with the Post). Too many voices must feel effectively muzzled.

  5. wilson tisdale

    The Globe lost Leigh Montville in much the same way. He went to Sports Illustrated after they took away his magazine column. And informed him by telephone while he was on he road!

    M.R. Montgomery’s entertaining op-ed column was eliminated because the wife of an editor didn’t like him.

    Jimmy Breslin worked at the Globe, where they dismissed him as a nut, only to hire Breslin wannabee Mike Barnicle

  6. Mike Benedict

    So the lesson, courtesy of the Globe, is ’tis better to be civil and wrong than provocative and right. Gotcha. One wonders what the Globe would have done with Swift after he published “A Modest Proposal.” Banish him to Rome, probably.

    1. Dan Kennedy

      @Mike: Swift would have been fine, since they apparently don’t read books at the Globe. Pierce’s “Idiot America” is a lot nastier (and even funnier) than anything he said about Christine O’Donnell.

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