ABC News's Deputy Political Director Jumps to Left-Wing Union, the 15th Obama Activist Through the Media's Revolving Door (Updated)
Published: 6/7/2010 7:30 AM ET
Full list of 17 below, updated 8/10/2010. NEW UPDATE 9/14/2010 with new revolvers who don't have direct Obama ties (list at bottom of page).
The number of major media journalists who have joined the Obama administration (or now an aligned union) - plus one who traveled through the revolving door from helping the Obama campaign into a news media slot - is up to 15 with the news late last week that Teddy Davis, Deputy Political Director for ABC News, will be joining the left-wing Service Employees International Union (SEIU) which endorsed Barack Obama and has since worked to advance the administration's agenda:
Four each have now revolved through ABC News and the Washington Post, three via CNN, and one each via the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek and Time magazine. (Complete list below)
The Politico's Ben Smith on Thursday night relayed how Teddy Davis "emails that he's leaving the network to join SEIU's already-muscular communications and politics operation" where "he'll be Assistant Director of Communications at the giant union, he said, 'working with the SEIU team on their political campaigns and policy agenda.'"
Davis, who wrote stories for ABCNews.com, contributed to ABCNews.com's "The Note" and occasionally conducted interviews for the online "Top Line" show, has now come full circle. His incomplete ABCNews.com bio states (jpg image): "Prior to starting law school, he served as Communications Aide and Special Assistant to the Governor of California." ABC and Teddy Davis's own Web site may hide the name of that Governor, but it was Democrat Gray Davis.
The ABC bio offered this description of his job: "He is responsible for helping to plan the network's political coverage on World News with Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America, Nightline, This Week and ABCNEWS.com."
My list of 15 [UPDATED TO 16] who have spun through the revolving door between journalism and the Obama campaign, Obama administration or, in the case of Teddy Davis, into an Obama political ally:
Roberta Baskin: former senior investigative producer for the ABC News magazine 20/20 and chief investigative correspondent for CBS's 48 Hours > senior communications adviser in Department of Health and Human Service's office of inspector general.
Warren Bass: Washington Post deputy editor (of the Outlook section) > adviser to United Nations Ambassador Dr. Susan Rice.
Daren Briscoe: Newsweek Washington correspondent > Deputy Associate Director of Public Affairs for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.New, UPDATED September 14, 2010:
Jay Carney: Time magazine Washington bureau chief > Assistant to the Vice President and Director of Communications for Vice President Joe Biden.
[Ed Chen. UPDATE, June 15, 2010, Bloomberg's Ed Chen, formerly White House correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, jumped to the Natural Resources Defense Council as Federal Communications Director. For details: "White House Correspondents Chief Jumps to Left-Wing Group - One Outside of Journalism, That Is"]
Teddy Davis: Deputy Political Director for ABC News > Assistant Director of Communications at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) which endorsed Barack Obama and worked since to advance the administration's agenda.
Linda Douglass: ABC News Washington correspondent (previously with CBS News) > senior strategist and senior campaign spokesperson on the road for the Obama campaign, later Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services and leading spokesman for Obama's health reform. Left administration in April of 2010.
[UPDATE, June 10, 2010, Douglass accepted a position as a Vice President at The Atlantic/National Journal. For details: "After Two Years with Obama, Linda Douglass Returns to News Media"]
Kate Albright-Hanna: CNN producer > director of "new media" (online video) for the Obama campaign, "content lead" for the Obama transition Web site.
Peter Gosselin: Los Angeles Times Washington correspondent > speechwriter for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
Sasha Johnson: CNN senior political producer > Press Secretary at the Department of Transportation.
Beverley Lumpkin: Justice Department correspondent for ABC News > Press Secretary at the Justice Department.
Aneesh Raman: CNN Middle East correspondent > worked in communications for the Obama campaign.
Vijay Ravindran: Chief Technology Officer for Catalist, a voter database provider which worked for the Obama campaign > Chief Digital Officer and Senior Vice President of the Washington Post Company.
[Desiree Rogers, UPDATED August 10, 2010: Obama administration's White House social secretary Desiree Rogers, who resigned in February, accepted the position as Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Company, owner of Ebony and Jet magazines. Details: "Embarrassed Obama White House Social Secretary Lands Position Running Media Firm."]
Desson Thomson: former Washington Post film critic > speechwriter for Louis Susman, U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James (Great Britain).
Rick Weiss: Washington Post science reporter > communications director and senior policy strategist at the White House Office of Science and Technology.
Jill Zuckman: Chicago Tribune Washington correspondent > Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Transportation.
Recent revolvers with no direct ties to the Obama administration or campaign, but who have jumped from the news media to left-wing organizations working to advance a liberal Democratic/Obama agenda:
Andrew Breslau, who for eight years ending in 2006 toiled at CNN "as a senior manager and producer," is now President of New York City-based The Nation Institute, affiliated with the far-left The Nation magazine. Details in an August 20, 2010 BiasAlert.
Emily Lenzner, Executive Director of Communications at ABC News for its DC-based shows, who spent eight months in 2007-2008 as editorial producer for This Week with George Stephanopoulos (for whom she also toiled inside the Clinton White House), left ABC News for Anita Dunn's "strategic communications firm." SKDKnickerbocker announced September 13, 2010 she'll be a Managing Director with the firm led by Dunn, the Obama administration's Communications Director in 2009. SKDKnickerbocker's "About" page boasts: "We helped Barack Obama by being the only firm in America to do direct mail and television advertising for his 2008 presidential victory." Details in a September 14, 2010 BiasAlert.
Jennifer Loven, an 18-year AP veteran and the wire service's chief White House correspondent, decided to put her communications talents to work for The Glover Park Group, a DC-based "strategic communications firm" founded in 2001 by a bunch of Clinton and Gore staffers, most prominently Joe Lockhart, who found themselves unemployed after the 2000 election. She'll be "Managing Director in its Public Affairs practice." Details in an August 12, 2010 BiasAlert.
- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.