It was only in February last year that Mark Sweney at the Guardian told readers “Former Tory MP Louise Mensch is to launch a centre-right website for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp … Mensch tweeted that under her leadership the libertarian website, Heat Street, will be a place where ‘disagreement will be encouraged’”. Heat Street duly launched in April 2016. The encouragement of disagreement was hindered by the lack of comments.
This set the tone for Heat Street: there was always something getting in the way. At the start it was the absence of a comments facility, then later on it was Ms Mensch herself. While the Murdoch empire threw its weight behind Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, she was discovered shilling for Hillary Clinton - then backing every Republican except Trump. She has since been peddling Russia conspiracy nonsense.
Meanwhile, Heat Street’s growth stalled at the end of last year, as many in the online community deserted it over accusations that Ms Mensch was indulging in “controlled opposition”. In November, Zelo Street noted that she had vanished from the Heat Street site, and then in January this year came the confession from both her and the Murdoch mafiosi that she had effectively been sacked - from her own website.
But the departure of Ms Mensch was not enough to save Heat Street, which, it has been revealed first by BuzzFeed, is to close in August, after less than a year and a half in the marketplace. The Murdochs have no doubt become less than enamoured of the idea that they should keep throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars annually into what is little more than an open pit - for no discernible return.
And the reason for Heat Street’s demise is at least partly down to Ms Mensch: as BuzzFeed tells, “Fox News had explored acquiring Heat Street, The Wall Street Journal reported in May … Rupert Murdoch, who controls both News Corp and 21st Century Fox, pushed for the deal, but that Fox didn't want to take on the property, in part because of Mensch's recent Twitter crusade”. Think about that.
Louise Mensch’s Twitter and blog activity - where she regularly denounces anyone of opposing view as an asset of Russian intelligence, dispenses increasingly desperate conspiracy rantings about who Vladimir Vladimirovitch Putin may or may not have had bumped off, and often resorts to doxing her opponents - has made anything associated with her too toxic even for Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).
Heat Street, far from being the “punky libertarian” website, was not even able to mix it with the likes of Daily Caller, The Blaze and Breitbart. The official line is that Heat Street will be “folded in” to the MarketWatch brand, but as Business Insider has put it, “It is not clear how many of Heat Street's 15 staff will move over to MarketWatch”. And what happens to Miles Goslett, whose reputation will have suffered badly by association, is not told.
Still, not a bad result for Ms Mensch for nothing more than being nice to Rupert and James Murdoch at a Commons Media Select Committee hearing. Pity about screwing it up so badly that the site doesn’t even get 18 months in the spotlight, mind.
The age of Louise Mensch the entrepreneur was for a brief time. And now it is over.