News Notes: Nutting Fired but CQ-Roll Call Burned

Perhaps the biggest misstep (and PR nightmare) of the Economist‘s acquisition of CQ has been the firing of veteran newsman and CQ editor Brian Nutting after he questioned the layoffs of 44 staffers via email to the CQ-Roll Call newsroom.

Tips, endorsements and notes of raw emotion and respect for the beloved editor poured into FishbowlDC and made their way around the Washington media circuit throughout the day. One thing is for sure – employed or not, Nutting knows how to make a headline:

Nutting told Politico’s Michael Calderone, “I didn’t feel like I could turn my back on the people I worked with.”

When WaPo‘s Paul Farhi caught up with Nutting, he said that Mike Mills claimed the email [posted by FishbowlDC] had “embarrassed the company” and that “he was insubordinate.”

In addition, The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg posted “A Journalist with Guts” and DCRTV posted “CQ Cans Hero-Editor.”

Nutting’s name also hit Twitter and tweets about his firing exploded into a #cqfail “protwest” of sorts, suggesting that everyone unfollow @cqpolitics. The protwest even took on catchy slogans like “Every time CQ is unfollowed Brian Nutting gets his wings.”

While participating in #CQfail protwest@anamariecox said:

ALL HAIL BRIAN NUTTING, hero of #CQfail! “We now know the real reason was money.”

Not a good day for Economist PR at all…

I can’t help wondering what Mike Mills and Laurie Battaglia thought they were accomplishing by dismissing the one guy that seemed to be “out for” the already-shaken CQ staff. Are their executive egos that easily bruised? Were they making an example? A point? If so, what was it? That the Economist rule is dictatorial?