Salem Media, owner of the influential conservative outlet RedState, froze the site on Friday and dismissed many of its writers.
Bloggers were locked out of their accounts — some just temporarily, while the cuts were made, and others permanently.
Erick Erickson, the site’s longtime editor who left in 2015, tweeted about what he called the “mass firing” on Friday morning.
“Very sad to see, but not really surprising given Salem’s direction,” he wrote. “And, finally, after all these years, they’ve turned off my account.”
Multiple sources told CNNMoney that they believed conservative critics of President Trump were the writers targeted for removal.
“Insufficiently partisan” was the phrase one writer used in a RedState group chat.
“They fired everybody who was insufficiently supportive of Trump,” one of the sources who spoke with CNNMoney said, adding, “how do you define being ‘sufficiently supportive’ of Trump?”
But if it was about politics, it was also about money.
RedState writers work on contract and are paid based on the amount of traffic to their posts.
“Those who had been under a contract with a higher per-click rate were mostly all tossed, only keeping those who were pro-Trump even if their traffic was comparable,” another one of the sources said on condition of anonymity.
“Of those who make less under their contracts, they mostly tossed those who had been openly critical of the president,” the source said. “It seems to have been a cost saving measure, but the deciding factor between any two people seems to have been who liked the president and who didn’t.”
Salem had no immediate comment. But an internal memo obtained by CNNMoney confirmed the housecleaning.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: CNN, Brian Stelter