OLD Media Moves

Forbes.com axes other contributors

October 3, 2014

Posted by Chris Roush

Brett Arends, a columnist for Marketwatch.com who had been contributing to Forbes.com, posted the following on his Facebook page:

I am sorry to report that I have been axed by Forbes in the fallout over Bill Frezza’s incompetent article about college fraternities last week.

Yes, I know what some of you are going to say. You’re going to point out that I had absolutely nothing to do with Frezza’s article.

And you’re right. I don’t even know Mr. Frezza. I wouldn’t know him in the line at Starbucks. I hadn’t even heard of him until the brouhaha exploded. And the only things I know about college fraternities I learned from watching National Lampoon’s Animal House thirty years ago. The whole incident had nothing to do with me.

But Forbes managing editor Dan Bigman (yes, that’s really his name) had to be seen to be doing something. Forbes just got sold to some people in Hong Kong. Mr Bigman had to be able to say “look – I’ve taken action! I’ve fired people!” So he’s axed a bunch of contributors, pretty much randomly. Apparently the only unifying theme is that we write interesting copy.

This is called CYA, of course.

I don’t know Bill Frezza. But he was clearly an amateur at writing and should not have been given the run of a prominent platform at somewhere like Forbes without an editor overseeing his copy before it was posted.

The person responsible for that monumental blunder was, of course, Dan Bigman.

Mr. Frezza’s article did not actually say what people thought it said. But Forbes failed to issue any kind of clarifying statement in the aftermath, allowing the worst possible narrative to gain hold.

The person responsible for that blunder, too, was Dan Bigman.

Mr. Bigman’s response to this is to fire a lot of other people. The one person who won’t carry the can, of course, is… Dan Bigman.

How ironic that Steve Forbes, still the editor in chief of Forbes, once ran for U.S. president on a platform of “personal responsibility.”

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