When I first started writing newspaper editorials and columns for the Los Angeles Daily News in November 1992, I learned that “-30-” (pronounced “dash thirty dash”) was the journalist’s code for letting an editor know where your copy ended. Most media historians believe the typesetting mark originated when news was filed by telegraph. Western Union’s famous mid-19th-century 92 Code of numerical shorthand signals lists the meaning of “-30-” as:
“No more — the end.”
I prefer the definition in Webster’s Dictionary:
“A sign of completion.”
From 1992-1999, I wrote an estimated 300 bylined newspaper columns and nearly 1,000 unsigned editorials combined for the Los Angeles Daily News and Seattle Times. Since Creators Syndicate started carrying my column nationally in 1999, I’ve penned nearly 2,000 weekly or bi-weekly columns over 1,177 weeks, for hundreds of print and website clients, totaling more than 1.1 million words. It has been a blessing to work in a career that I have loved, getting paid by the line to opine, as a proud “ink-stained wretch” whose first high-school job was as a press inserter for my hometown newspaper, the Atlantic City Press, back in the late 1980s.
The sentimental English major in me finds it altogether fitting to bring my column-writing to a close after “dash thirty dash” years.
Why now? The professional and personal reasons are myriad. In this modern age of oversharing, I’m not going to get into every last one. Suffice it to say, the American media landscape has changed dramatically since I entered this industry as a 22-year-old idealist who truly believed the “pen is mightier than the sword.” (Side note: Eagle-eyed readers who followed my blog writing in the early 2000s might recall that my original website logo was a pen/knife with the phrase “the pen became a clarion” from a Longfellow poem.)
It’s not just “fake news” that plagues us. It’s sold-out, skewed “news” that serves corporate and global special interests, not the truth. It’s lazy, soulless, dumbed-down opinion writing from hacks who care nothing about the craft. It’s shady influence operations masquerading as “journalism.” It’s information-suppression disguised as “misinformation” monitoring.
The homogenization of American journalism on both sides of the ideological spectrum has led to its collective deterioration. My colleagues at the Daily News were an eclectic bunch — including a Korean War Navy vet in his 60s, a former college math professor in her 50s who had taught English in Shanghai, and a hotshot New England politico in his 30s who had worked in D.C. as a press secretary.
Now the liberal media is dominated by endless supplies of smug, usually very pale-faced millennial J-school grads spouting about “diversity” while parroting the same worn set of views on whites as evil, America as oppressor, nuclear families as abnormal, and liberal democracy as sacrosanct.
“Conservative” media is not much better. It’s dominated by snot-nosed D.C. libertarian elites from overpriced universities who slavishly promote “free-market capitalism” and cast “big government” as our greatest enemy, while private Silicon Valley corporations and their nonprofit allies crush nationalist dissent, handcuff free speech and deplatform free thinkers through censorship (hard and soft) and lawfare (systematic abuse of the courts to harm political critics).
Because of my peacefully expressed reporting, opinions and speeches, my family has been punished and stigmatized, my reputation tarnished and my voice squelched. It’s not “big government” that waged this war on my career. It’s a constellation of vindictive wrongthink police in the private sector, from the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League, to foreign newspapers and moneyed interests that have no business influencing American politics, to “conservative” swamp creatures and profiteers such as Bill Kristol, Jonah Goldberg, Mona Charen and Ben Shapiro, and even to former colleagues at the Fox News Channel, which blacklisted me several years ago and told a friend of mine who was a guest on Tucker Carlson’s show not to say my name after antifa rioters had attacked me and others on stage at a Back the Blue rally in Denver a few years ago. (My friend ignored the warning. God bless him.)
I have no regrets. As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” I remain thankful to every single reader over the last three decades, and I will be eternally inspired by all the patriots I’ve profiled over the years — especially the ordinary parents, whistleblowers, citizen journalists and activists who have sacrificed far more than I for their truth-seeking and truth-telling.
I am indebted to my early writing mentors, the late Father Edward Lyons and Debbie Collins at Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, New Jersey; my late Oberlin College English professor Dewey Ganzel; my husband and co-conspirator in all things, Jesse; my first newspaper boss, Tom Gray; Creators Syndicate founder Rick Newcombe and his staff; and stalwart supporters JewishWorldReview.com founder Binyamin Jolkovsky, VDARE founder Peter Brimelow, Wendy McCaw of the Santa Barbara News-Press, WRKO radio host extraordinaire Jeff Kuhner, and the late KFAQ host Pat Campbell.
Most of all, I wish to thank my teacher Mom (who taught me to express myself with passion and flair) and my doctor Dad (who gave me a bedrock foundation in science, logic and facts). From both of them, I inherited the zeal to speak up for what is right and true without fear — but always with humility — which I will continue to do in new ways for myself, my family and my country.
This is an ending, but not the end. The next chapter awaits to be written.
CDN is sorry to see Michelle go, but everything has a beginning and an end. We will miss her pointed critiques and glowing spotlights in the articles that she provided for us. We will all just have to see what comes next.
Agree/Disagree with the author(s)? Let them know in the comments below and be heard by 10’s of thousands of CDN readers each day!