Donning a dark suit from the Donald J. Trump Signature Collection, Editor-in-Chief Brett Decker spent much of Monday in a mild state of panic before the big evening launch party. Creating a new publication can do that to a person. So could launching it on the day of a terrorist attack when parts of downtown Washington were in lockdown mode. Still, Rare, the new conservative news outlet banked by Cox Media Group, successfully rolled into town this week with an elegant cocktail party at the Newseum. Guests pass through a gauntlet of drinks, as pictured above. Turnout was high — about 250. The mood was low-key but buzzing with a specialty bourbon drink with honey and lemon and miniature tureens of Butternut Squash soup.
Rare‘s Publisher Leon Levitt was in full mingle mode. “We think there’s an opportunity for a strong conservative voice that’s not mean spirited,” said Levitt, senior veep at Cox. Really, never mean? “I think you can have an edge without being mean,” he replied.
Though Levitt’s clearly on the business side of the operation, he studied journalism at the University of Las Vegas in 1979. Asked what he learned there, he said, “The most important thing is honesty and integrity.” Then he leaped into the state of journalism today. “We have made journalism much more time-starved,” he remarked. “If you can find the 25th hour in someone’s day, you win.”
Soon enough we got down to the business of asking the members of Rare‘s staff to name the rarest thing about themselves. It’s not an easy question — you don’t want to seem like a pompous prick and yet you’d like to think there’s something worth mentioning. As we reported earlier in the week, American Spectator Editor Bob Tyrrell struggled with the question and finally declared he wasn’t a narcissist like ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner and had no response. He told us to bug his wife, Jean, about it. But she slipped away before we could grill her.
The first person we approached, Rare‘s Managing Editor Tabitha Hale, had an easy time with her answer. “I’m a bit of a hippie,” the long wavy hair blonde in the vintage-style low-cut dress said. “I was raised by Dead Heads.” She spent six years in Nashville working in publishing followed by stints at Freedom works and The Franklin Center. With the tattoo “Love” cascading down her left arm, it was clear she wasn’t a typical political Washington type. She told us she has two other tattoos — one, Ephesians 6, 12 and 13 on the top of her foot; the other she wouldn’t initially discuss (our imaginations went to bad places) but ultimately she said it was something tribal on her back.
Anneke Green, a Rare contributor, also didn’t have to think too hard. “I have a motorcycle, an ’86 Rebel 450,” she said. “They only made them for two years.”
Read about more rarities, see who showed up…
Finally, what’s the rarest thing about Decker? He looked at me cross-eyed at the party when I posed the question, as in you’re seriously asking me this now? We agreed to let him send in his response later.
“I’ve lived significant parts of my life across the Atlantic in Europe and across the Pacific in Asia, so naturally view the center of the world as being Detroit,” he wrote. “My favorite magazines are Vanity Fair and Forbes — which give some indication how broad our subject reach will be at Rare.”
Spotted in the crowd…