Hurt to be­come opinion page ed­i­tor at The Wash­ing­ton Times

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

Charles Hurt, who went from cov­er­ing fires, city hall and the mob in Detroit to be­com­ing one of the na­tion’s feisti­est con­ser­va­tive voices in print, on­line and on air, will be­come the next opinion ed­i­tor of The Wash­ing­ton Times, news­pa­per Pres­i­dent and CEO Larry Beasley an­nounced.

A Wash­ing­ton Times colum­nist and Fox News con­trib­u­tor of­ten seen on the ca­ble net­work’s sig­na­ture evening news roundtable, Mr. Hurt in his 20-year ca­reer has worked his way up from a beat re­porter for the Detroit News and Wash­ing­ton cor­re­spon­dent for the Char­lotte Ob­server be­fore join­ing The Wash­ing­ton Times in 2003. He later served as D.C. bureau chief and White House cor­re­spon­dent for the New York Post and ed­i­tor at the hugely in­flu­en­tial Drudge Re­port.

Mr. Hurt will re­join The Times as a full-time staff mem­ber in Jan­uary and in March will of­fi­cially take over for Opinion Page Ed­i­tor David Keene, over­see­ing the pa­per’s award-win­ning ed­i­to­rial page, com­men­tary sec­tion and con­tin­u­ing ex­pan­sion of the com­pany’s on­line opinion pres­ence.

Mr. Keene, a trusted ad­viser to pres­i­dents and high of­fi­cials, a stal­wart de­fender of Sec­ond Amend­ment rights and one of the con­ser­va­tive move­ment’s most ven­er­ated voices, will re­main with the pa­per as an ed­i­tor at large, con­tribut­ing reg­u­lar col­umns and rep­re­sent­ing The Times.

Ed­i­to­rial Page Ed­i­tor Wes­ley Pru­den, long­time ed­i­tor-in-chief who joined The Wash­ing­ton Times just months af­ter its found­ing 34 years ago, will re­main in a full-time ca­pac­ity over­see­ing the pa­per’s ed­i­to­ri­als. He will also con­tinue to write his pop­u­lar bi­weekly col­umns, which have been car­ried by the pa­per for more than three decades.

“Char­lie is the perfect fit for The Times. He has strong con­ser­va­tive val­ues and will en­sure our opinion pages are a lively fo­rum for vig­or­ous pol­icy de­bates,” said Mr. Beasley. “Char­lie un­der­stands that Wash­ing­ton should be work­ing for peo­ple across the coun­try, not just for the in­side-the-Belt­way crowd.”

Mr. Hurt was one of the few na­tional com­men­ta­tors to grasp early on the power and scope of Pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump’s ap­peal.

On the day Mr. Trump an­nounced his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign last year, Mr. Hurt lauded: “Fi­nally, a se­ri­ous and truly ex­pe­ri­enced con­tender. Don­ald Trump and his $9 bil­lions just made the big­gest splash of the 2016 pres­i­den­tial race.”

It was sev­eral months be­fore oth­ers in the main­stream be­gan tak­ing Mr. Trump se­ri­ously.

“The Wash­ing­ton Times is viewed by con­ser­va­tives around the coun­try as in­dis­pens­able; mil­lions of whom look to it for thought lead­er­ship and a will­ing­ness to stand up for prin­ci­ple over all else,” said Mr. Keene. “Char­lie will do that, giv­ing voice to con­ser­va­tive cul­tural val­ues, lim­ited con­sti­tu­tional gov­ern­ment and a free econ­omy.”

Mr. Hurt said he is ea­ger to build on the strong foun­da­tion and pow­er­ful name recog­ni­tion of The Wash­ing­ton Times as a con­ser­va­tive voice in the na­tional po­lit­i­cal de­bate, ex­pand­ing on the work of Mr. Keene and Mr. Pru­den.

“It re­ally is an honor to fol­low such pow­er­ful and prin­ci­pled voices that have so un­flinch­ingly de­fended lib­erty at ev­ery turn for more than three decades,” Mr. Hurt said. “Be it taxes, il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, ju­di­cial nom­i­na­tions or guns, The Wash­ing­ton Times has never shied away from stand­ing up for in­di­vid­ual Amer­i­cans.”

Mr. Hurt in­her­its an ed­i­to­rial de­part­ment that in­cludes some of the city’s must-read con­ser­va­tive colum­nists on pol­i­tics, eco­nom­ics, pol­icy and cul­ture, in­clud­ing Stephen Moore, Kelly Rid­dell, Mercedes Sch­lapp, Mr. Keene and Mr. Pru­den. In ad­di­tion, The Times’ com­men­tary sec­tion is a fa­vored soap­box for law­mak­ers, for­eign of­fi­cials and schol­ars to con­trib­ute op-ed pieces, es­says and provoca­tive daily book re­views.

“Too many peo­ple who come to Wash­ing­ton get in­fected by this city and the al­lure of power, be they politi­cians or re­porters. Char­lie’s never fallen vic­tim to that,” said Ex­ec­u­tive Ed­i­tor Christo­pher Dolan. “Democrats and Repub­li­cans alike have both felt the sting of his pen, and there is no­body bet­ter suited to keep­ing The Wash­ing­ton Times the pre-eminent watch­dog for the na­tion’s cap­i­tal.”

A grad­u­ate of Alexan­dria’s Epis­co­pal High School and Ham­p­den-Sydney Col­lege, Mr. Hurt paid his dues as news re­porter be­fore switch­ing over to po­lit­i­cal com­men­tary.

Even be­fore fin­ish­ing col­lege, he had seen the in­side of a news­room at the Danville (Vir­ginia) Regis­ter and Bee and the Rich­mond Times-Dispatch be­fore tak­ing his first full-time re­port­ing job with The Detroit News. His re­port­ing there won mul­ti­ple hon­ors, in­clud­ing a Scripps Howard Pub­lic Ser­vice award for a se­ries ex­pos­ing fa­tal de­fi­cien­cies in the Detroit Fire De­part­ment and recog­ni­tion from the Michi­gan Associated Press for his in­ves­ti­ga­tion into prob­lems with a $1.5 bil­lion bond of­fer­ing in­tended to help re­build the city’s pub­lic schools.

He has cov­ered mul­ti­ple po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns for The Char­lotte Ob­server, the New York Post and The Wash­ing­ton Times, and was one of the first re­porters to ex­pose the eth­i­cal prob­lems of Sen. John Ed­wards of North Carolina in the run-up to his failed 2004 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

Mr. Hurt was kicked off of can­di­date Barack Obama’s press plane dur­ing the 2008 cam­paign af­ter cam­paign of­fi­cials took ex­cep­tion to a slash­ingly crit­i­cal col­umn he wrote for the New York Post. Mr. Hurt also knows his way around Capi­tol Hill. On Capi­tol Hill for The Times, Mr. Hurt cov­ered the hotly con­tested ju­di­cial nom­i­na­tion fights dur­ing the Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion, in­clud­ing the con­fir­ma­tions of Chief Jus­tice John G. Roberts Jr. and Jus­tice Samuel An­thony Al­ito.

In the March 20, 2005, edi­tion of The New York Times, con­ser­va­tive colum­nist Wil­liam Safire cred­ited Mr. Hurt for be­ing the first re­porter to write about a mys­te­ri­ous new par­lia­men­tary tac­tic dubbed the “nu­clear op­tion” for by­pass­ing the Se­nate fil­i­buster to con­firm ju­di­cial nom­i­nees.

“That was back when The New York Times wasn’t afraid to have a bril­liant con­ser­va­tive voice in their ed­i­to­rial pages,” Mr. Hurt said.

Mr. Hurt lives in Chatham, Vir­ginia, with his wife and three chil­dren.

Charles Hurt

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