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Why Did Pando Fire Two of Its Best Reporters?

Peter Z. Scheer
Managing Editor
Peter Scheer grew up in the newspaper business, spending family vacations with his mother at newspaper editors' conferences, enjoying daycare in editorial departments and begrudgingly reviewing his father's…
Peter Z. Scheer

David Sirota was breaking big stories at Silicon Valley site Pando Daily, so it’s a bit odd that he and fellow contributor Ted Rall were abruptly let go without any public explanation.

Here’s Sirota, who has been a radio host, successful author and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ spokesman, responding via email to his newsletter subscribers:

This news was unexpected (and I should add, another Pando staffer, Ted Rall, was also let go). That said, the last year has been a career high for me – from the blockbuster series about PBS to the publishing of SEC whistleblower documents to the reports on the New Jersey pension system, it has been an incredible experience, and with real impact.

For instance, as the New York Times reported, PBS was forced to return a $3.5 million donation because of our reporting, and the network’s ombudsman issued a report praising our reporting. Similarly, the New York Times recently credited our work with “show(ing) that secrecy can hide high fees, low returns, excess risk and the identity of politically connected dealmakers.” And after our reporting appeared on the front page of the Boston Globe and then coursed through the national media, the New Jersey state government is now conducting a formal investigation into the pension scandal we uncovered.

Gawker

filed a report in which an anonymous source alleges that the layoffs were politically motivated:

An anonymous source alerted Valleywag to the firings. Neither Rall nor Sirota would comment on why they were fired. But there was a consensus among sources that the decision was not related to budgetary concerns. “It was completely from Sarah Lacy. Paul was the executioner. Apparently it came from complaints from investors in Pando,” according to one Valleywag source. “Sarah basically said there was not enough tech and too much politics.”

In a response to the blog, Pando editor Paul Carr categorically denies “the entirety of your story,” writing, “to be clear: any suggestion that investors have any impact — ever — on which writers we hire or fire, or what we write, is 100% false. There’s plenty of both politics and tech on Pando, and there will continue to be.”

Truthdig readers will continue to find David Sirota’s syndicated column on our site every Friday right here.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

Here is a video related to one of Sirota’s big breaks:

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