ABC’s newly hired senior medical editor is also an Obama donor, having contributed $400 to the Democratic presidential candidate in 2008. TV Newser reported on Thursday that Dr. Richard Besser, the director of the Centers for Disease Control, would assume the position in September. A search on the website Open Secrets finds two donations by Dr. Besser on August 22, 2008.
As senior health correspondent, Dr. Besser can be expected to play a major role in ABC's coverage of the health care debate this fall.
Dr. Tim Johnson, who currently holds the position for ABC, has long been an advocate for government-run solutions to the health care problem in America. Going back to the last big push in the early '90s, he told then-First Lady Hillary Clinton on July 19, 1994: "So at least from the physicians represented here, you get a 100 percent vote, including mine, for universal coverage." Johnson will become the "chief medical editor" for ABC News.
With the revelation that Newsweek Washington bureau reporter Daren Briscoe will start a new job on Monday as Deputy Associate Director of Public Affairs for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (earlier NB item), my list of journalists who have jumped to the Obama administration -- plus one who traveled through the revolving door from helping the Obama campaign into a news media slot -- is up to a dozen:
Three each revolved through CNN and the Washington Post; two through ABC News; and one each via the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek and Time magazine.
Complete list below.
The political news Web site Talking Points Memo this weekend completed a round of investment, of $500,000 to $1 million. The move is intended to increase the number of employees, to roughly 20, from the current 11, in the next 10 months.
The financing is the first part of a three-year plan to increase the site's staff to 60 employees, Joshua Micah Marshall, the site's founder, said in an interview at his offices on West 20th Street in New York.
Marshall, who in TPM's early days (the blog was launched during the Florida recount fight of Election 2000) was less reflexively anti-Republican than today, has beefed up the once-humble blog to include TPM café, a discussion site, and TPM Muckraker, an investigative site almost exclusively devoted to conservative scandal-mongering.
Although the established media often rails against bloggers, Marshall is an exception. As Cohen reported back in February 2008, Marshall won the media's George Polk Award for legal reporting for his work on the Bush administration firing eight U.S. attorneys under what TPM and other liberals claimed were politically motivated circumstances -- a perfectly legal effort that was nonetheless considered scandalous by mainstream media.
Catalist, which dubs itself “The Future of Progressive Organizing,” lists a who's who of left-wing groups and causes on its client list, from ACORN and the AFL-CIO to Wellstone Action, with MoveOn.org, the National Resources Defense Council and Obama for America (the official Obama campaign) alphabetically in between.
In an interview last November with the “Sepia Mutiny” blog about South Asians, Ravindran recounted his political/career odyssey, including how “I feel somewhat embarrassed that I didn't appreciate the Clinton years.”
Senior CNN politics producer Sasha Johnson -- by the way, that makes her the third CNN staffer to join the President's team. Chicago Tribune reporter Jill Zuckman and veteran ABC News reporter Beverley Lumpkin. Now that brings the total number of so-called mainstream media journalists who have rushed to join the Obama administration to ten.
Plus, in the past month or so, two other DC journalists accepted administration positions. ABC's long-time Justice Department correspondent, Beverley Lumpkin, who mostly handled radio news, in April joined the very department she covered for so many years, prompting a Washington Post blogger to quip on Tuesday that she's “turning sources into colleagues.” Speaking of the Washington Post, its former science reporter, Rick Weiss, is now advancing Obama policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology.
So far, by my count, at least ten mainstream media journalists have revolved into positions toiling for the Obama campaign, transition or administration. And that doesn't count CNN's Sanjay Gupta, whom the administration courted for Surgeon General; nor long-time NBC News anchor and reporter Jane Pauley who campaigned for Obama last fall in her native Indiana.
It seems that the Washington Post will soon be welcoming ultra-liberal hack blogger Ezra Klein to their online operations. Klein has often been the subject of stories by NewsBusters. This is what the Politico reported on the Post's acquisition of Klein (h/t OTB):
The American Prospect's Ezra Klein, one of the top bloggers on politics and policy, is heading to the Washington Post.
Rumors about Klein's upcoming move spread on Wednesday night during a reception thrown by The Nation magazine in honor of D.C. bureau chief Chris Hayes.
A Post spokesperson confirmed to POLITICO this morning that Klein was hired as a blogger at washingtonpost.com and is expected to start in about a month.
The move continues a regrettable trend started with their hiring of Greg Sargent, who formerly worked for the far left Talking Points Memo, to run a blog at one of the Post's websites. The addition of Sargent, an accomplished hack in his own right, was covered by Tim Graham here at NewsBusters. Tim quickly identified it as yet another example of the revolving door between liberal organizations and the mainstream media:
The Obama White House is serving as a convenient new employer for members of the media as news outlets downsize, but would they have felt so comfortable coming aboard a GOP President's staff? The latest hires: Three news photographers -- from Time magazine, Cox Newspapers and U.S. News & World Report magazine -- are joining the team of photographers snapping pictures at events and meetings in and around the White House complex.
The chief White House photographer, Pete Souza, “announced the hires to PDN,” DCRTV.com reported Thursday in picking up the item from the week before on the Photo District News site. Souza had already tapped photographers from the McClatchy-Tribune News Service and the Associated Press.
The March 24 PDNonline post, “Time Magazine's Top Photo Editor Exits for White House,” relayed the names of those leaving DC press corps slots for the Obama administration:
The latest example comes today in a news release from the exploratory committee of Texas Democrat Tom Schieffer, younger brother to CBS "Face the Nation" host Bob "Boners" Schieffer. In an April 2 press release, the gubernatorial hopeful heartily welcomed longtime print journalist Clay Robison -- praising him as "a reporter's reporter" -- aboard his staff as Director of Communications (h/t NewsBusters contributor Seton Motley).:
In case you were worried, former Time magazine staffer Jay Carney has "had very little trouble adapting" to his job as Vice President Biden's director of communications. From a recent interview with Washington Post's Mary Ann Akers published in the March 12 paper:
[Akers]: You left journalism after 20 years with Time. How is life on the other side?
Carney: It's great. I have had very little trouble adapting to this new role, which is completely different from what I was doing before.
Carney also insisted that while he was just sort of swept into the Obama administration during the post-election transition period, he never was a leg-thrilling puddle of drool like others in the media:
Joe Strupp at Editor & Publisher reports the revolving door between the media and government spun wildly out of the New Jersey Star-Ledger: "at least 16 reporters and newsroom staffers at The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., most of whom left the paper in the past year's massive buyout, are now working for public officials or state agencies the paper covers...With 151 newsroom staffers taking buyouts last October, out of 330 total, that figure represents about 10% of the departed reporters, although some left prior to that round of buyouts."
Topping that list is Deborah Howlett, a former statehouse reporter who is now Gov. Jon Corzine’s communications director. However, this is not Howlett’s first job in politics. We at MRC reported in 1990 that before joining USA Today, Howlett, spent four months in 1983 as Press Secretary to Oregon State Senator Margie Hendricksen, a Democrat who later opposed moderate-to-liberal GOP Sen. Mark Hatfield. The Almanac of American Politics blamed Hendricksen's loss on her "consistently liberal views" which, as The New Republic once noted, include favoring unilateral nuclear disarmament.
As the 1980s wound to a close, Howlett sneered at the Reagan '80s in a November 27, 1989 USA Today "news" story: "The '80s were the years of excess. We swaggered through the portals and grabbed as much as we could. We were greedy and gluttonous. As long as we wore starched shirts, we could belch at the dinner table. And Ronald Reagan led us."