I screwed up today. In my National Review article (read here) on working for John McLaughlin (JM), I was self-absorbed and to some degree self-aggrandizing. Here are the two issues.
First, as I infer in the article, I emailed John McLaughlin via comments@Mclaughlin.com in April 2014. The 4th of April 2014, to be precise. But I did not hear anything from JM until John Roberts, John McLaughlin's longtime senior producer, reached out to me and kindly advised me to apply for the Tony Blankley fellowship at the Steamboat Institute. JM did indeed invite me to participate in the first show in late July 2014 as I note in the article, but as I think more carefully and with previously absent humility, it was very likely under John Roberts's (JR) advice that he did so. Failing to note that JM invited me - without accounting for JR's advice - was a serious omission. And one that I sincerely regret.
Second, in my National Review article, and in regards to my producer work for JM, I write ''The producing involved writing introductions to each issue for every show.'' While I had some role in every issue - at least on the day of production (Friday) - and wrote the significant majority of issues for each show, two of JM's senior producers, John Roberts and Alice Dunscomb (in 2014) also wrote issues. Not explicitly clarifying that team effort was the consequence of my effort to give a personal take on John McLaughlin. But it was also arrogant and representative of un-serious self-scrutiny. I should have written ''The producing involve writing introductions to most issues for every show. I consulted with JM's senior producers John Roberts and Alice Dunscomb (in 2014) in these efforts, and benefited from their tutelage.''
Regardless, the key issue here is a serious one. The McLaughlin Group has always been a team enterprise with a unique sense of companionship. That's why I referenced our Director, Shelly Schwartz, and his crew in the NR article. But I failed to give enough credit to John Roberts and to Alice. It was an omission born of oversight and arrogance, but not malice. Still, it was a serious oversight and I regret it very much. And I regret my mistake not simply for professional reasons. That leads to the personal side of this concern.
When I applied for the Tony Blankley fellowship in 2014, I did so with the support of JR. Let me be clear, without JR, I would be a nobody. That fellowship - and the connections, support (including monetary), camaraderie that it brought, were instrumental in my ability to continue working as a journalist. Without that fellowship, I would likely be working as a waiter. Nothing wrong with that. But waitering is not my dream, writing in assertion of conservatism is. But JR and his wife, Elizabeth, have been more than mentors to me. They have been friends. Friends who took me and my mother to a Mexican restaurant at the end of the 2014 Steamboat Institute summit. And friends who have guided (and argued... trade!) with me in order to help me develop. I let them down today. And I regret it deeply. I also - in equal measure - regret my arrogance in failing to look in the mirror before I wrote my article on JM.
If there is one positive in all this, it is this. Today's failure, like my positive formative experience in joining the McLaughlin Group, has been exceptionally formative. Going forwards, I will judge myself more harshly in what I write. When I retire/die, I want my legacy to be one of integrity and honesty. That's what Tony Blankley would want. That's what John McLaughlin would want. And that's what I want.