Human Events‘ and Jason Mattera: ‘We’re Still Family’

There are as many definitions of “family” as there are, well, families. So cue up Sister Sledge and let’s start dancing! We are family … Get up everybody and sing!

Joe Guerriero, publisher of Human Events, claims that Jason Mattera didn’t get “the axe” from the publication. At least, not exactly. In addition to his radio program on WABC in New York, he will continue to have one foot in the door as he works as a “contributor.” But he’s moving on.

Part of what is pushing Mattera out the door is a clear desire for more of a celebrity status. Guerriero says Mattera expressed more interest in pursuing the “celebrity and author” side of working in media, rather than running a newsroom as an editor.

On Thursday FBDC broke the news that Mattera had been terminated from his role as Editor-at-Large of Human Events. Mattera, who has a new book out, apparently had an agreement with Guerriero to remain employed with the conservative weekly until the publicity tour for the book ended.

When asked if Mattera’s departure could be described as a termination, firing or dismissal… Guerriero said the two had “an ongoing conversation about [Mattera’s] future and our future,” and suggested it was based on mutual feelings. He said the two agreed to keep Mattera on board until a replacement could be found.

Guerriero also insisted that had it not been for Mattera pursuing a higher profile as a conservative author, things probably would have worked out. “Absolutely,” he said. “We knew when we hired Jason that he did not have experience as an editor.  We firmly believed that Jason had all the tools to develop into a fine editor. Our greatest concern was that Jason might have more interest in the entertainment/celebrity side of political media as opposed to the management/leadership side of the business. I would not say we knew immediately that it wouldn’t work. It did become apparent over time that Jason had more interest in writing books and doing radio and TV.”

An FBDC source familiar with the situation put it differently — and that’s putting it mildly. “Hiring Jason was a roll of the dice and it was felt almost immediately that he was the wrong choice. Human Events wanted a journalist and an editor, someone who could break stories of substance and manage a team that produced real journalism. They wanted a conservative but not an activist, which is what Jason was. Although Jason could create a stir with one of his ambush videos, Human Events wanted something more than stunts. He was counseled on a number of occasions but ultimately it was felt that Jason was too immature and too intent on building his own brand rather than that of Human Events.”

Mattera joined Human Events as editor in 2010 before transitioning into a lesser role as editor at large this year. The publication began interviewing others for his job even before he was asked to step aside. Nonetheless, he echoed Guerriero’s sentiment. “It was time to move on,” Mattera said. “It was time for me to move in my direction and them to move in theirs. We’re still family.”

And family is forever.