Two New MSNBC Hosts Bring News Media-Obama Revolving Door to 30
With two political activists, who toiled for Barack Obama, starting hosting duties today with new shows on MSNBC (Ronan Farrow’s 1 PM EST Ronan Farrow Daily and Joy-Ann Reid’s 2 PM EST The Reid Report), the Media Research Center’s list of those revolving between working on behalf of Obama and positions in the news media has reached 30. [UPDATED March 24, 2015]
(Ours is a strict “revolving door” list, sticking to those with jobs as reporters, editors, correspondents, anchors, producers or media executives, not those who just have or had roles as “contributors” to news outlets. And we’re sticking to those with a direct tie to one of Obama’s campaigns or a position within his administration, so none of the many others in the news media who currently or have in the past put in stints for Democratic officials or even liberal groups which advance Obama’s agenda. For instance, that leaves out Teddy Davis, who in 2010 jumped from ABC News, where he was Deputy Political Director, to the left-wing Service Employees International Union.
Also, not here: Relatives, such as ABC’s Claire Shipman, who is married to Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary from January 2011 to June 2014.)
[Related, March 17, 2014: “NBC Today Show Co-Host Guthrie Marries a Clinton-Gore Operative”]
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1) David Axelrod: political reporter for the Chicago Tribune, late 1970s-1984 >>> chief strategist for the Obama presidential campaign, 2007-2008; Senior Adviser to the President, 2009-2011; Senior Strategist, Obama-Biden Re-Election Committee, 2011-12 >>> Senior Political Analyst for MSNBC, 2013-
2) Roberta Baskin: former senior investigative producer for the ABC News magazine 20/20, chief investigative correspondent for CBS’s 48 Hours and senior Washington correspondent for PBS's Now with Bill Moyers >>> Director of Media Communications for the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services, 2009- (2009 Washington Post item)
3) Stephen Barr: Washington Post reporter, 1979-2008, including as “Federal Diary” author 2000-2008 >>> Senior Managing Director of the Office of Public Affairs at the Department of Labor, February 2012- (Washington Post item on his new position at Labor)
4) Warren Bass: Washington Post “Book World” Senior Editor and then Deputy Editor of the “Outlook” section >>> Director of Speechwriting and Senior Policy Adviser to U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice, 2009-2011.
5) Laura Blumenfeld, Washington Post reporter, 1990s-2012 >>> State Dept., head of strategic communications for the Middle East peace process, 2013- (Daily Beast post)
6) Daren Briscoe: Los Angeles Times reporter, 2002-2004; Newsweek Washington correspondent, 2004-2009 >>> Deputy Associate Director of Public Affairs for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, 2009-2011; Deputy Press Secretary and then Press Secretary at the Department of Education, 2011-2013. (Education Week post on his departure from government)
7) Jay Carney, updated: Time magazine Washington correspondent, 1993-2005; Time Washington bureau chief, 2005-2008 >>> Assistant to the Vice President and Director of Communications for Vice President Joe Biden, December 2009-December 2010; White House Press Secretary, January 2011-June 2014.
[UPDATE: In September of 2014, Carney joined CNN as senior political commentator.]
8) Eric Dash: New York Times business reporter, 2004-2012 >>> Senior Advisor for Policy and Communications at the Treasury Department for Secretary Jacob Lew, 2012- (New York Observer article on Dash's career change)
9) Linda Douglass: CBS News Washington correspondent, 1993-98; ABC News Washington correspondent, 1998-2006 (image of her on ABC's World News Tonight) >>> senior strategist and senior campaign spokesperson on the road for the Obama campaign, 2008; Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services and Communications Director for the White House’s Health Reform Office, 2009-2010 >>> Vice President at The Atlantic/National Journal, 2010-2013.
10) Ronan Farrow: Special Adviser for Humanitarian and NGO Affairs in the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2009-2011; Special Adviser to the Secretary of State, Office of Global Youth Issues, July 2011 to June 2012 >>> Host of MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow Daily, February 2014-February 2015 (State Dept. bio)
[UPDATE: After his show was canceled, Farrow was named a special correspondent for MSNBC and the NBC News Investigative Unit.]
11) Douglas Frantz, New York Times correspondent and investigations editor, 1994-2003; Managing Editor of the Los Angeles Times, 2005 to 2007; national security editor for the Washington Post, 2012-13 >>> Assistant Secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Public Affairs, September 2013-(State Dept. bio, Washington Post item on "former Postie")
[Earlier, as of 2009, Deputy Staff Director and chief investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chaired by Senator John Kerry, a future member of the Obama cabinet.]
12) Kate Albright-Hanna: (her bio) CNN political producer, 1999-2007 >>> Director of Video for New Media for the Obama presidential campaign, 2007-2008; Content Lead for the Presidential Transition Team’s web site, Change.gov, and New Media consultant to the White House Office of Health Reform and the Department of Health and Human Services, 2008-2009 >>> Senior Producer for MSNBC’s Last Call with Lawrence O’Donnell, 2011-2012; Senior Producer for MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes, 2012-13.
(Before CNN, she was an intern in the Clinton White House and, in a January 23, 1998 Dateline NBC story days after the Monica Lewinsky story broke, she was featured by reporter Dawn Fratangelo as one of a group of former interns who “simply don't find it plausible the President of the United States could have an affair with an intern.” In a soundbite, Albright-Hanna asserted: “I can’t imagine how that would happen.’”)
13) Peter Gosselin: Los Angeles Times Washington and economics correspondent, 1999-2008 >>> chief speechwriter for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, 2009-2011 >>> Senior Healthcare Analyst with Bloomberg Government, 2011- (Bloomberg Government bio)
14) Glen Johnson: online politics editor for the Boston Globe and 20-year veteran in various journalism positions in Massachusetts, including with the AP >>> Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Public Affairs and Senior Adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry, February 2013- (State Dept. bio, Boston Globe item)
15) Sasha Johnson: senior political producer in CNN’s Washington bureau, 1998-2009 >>> Press Secretary at the Department of Transportation, 2011-2013; Chief of Staff, Federal Aviation Administration, May 2013- (FAA bio)
17) Shailagh Murray: Wall Street Journal correspondent, 1992-2005; Washington Post political reporter, 2005-2011 >>> Communications Director for Vice President Joe Biden, March 2011-March 2015 (National Journal bio; Washington Post blog post)
[UPDATE: In March of 2015, Murray was named Senior Adviser to President Obama.]
18) Jane Pauley: Co-host of NBC’s Today, 1976-1989; co-host of Dateline NBC, 1992-2003 >>> campaigned in Indiana for Barack Obama, 2008 (see video: “I want to see the cool, steady hand of Barack Obama on that Bible on Inauguration Day”) >>> contributor to the Today show, Your Life Calling with Jane Pauley, 2010-
[UPDATE: Pauley has joined CBS News as a contributor to CBS News Sunday Morning. Details in the April 10, 2014 BiasAlert: “Obama Campaign Donor/Volunteer Jane Pauley Jumps to CBS News”]
19) Samantha Power: foreign correspondent for U.S.News and World Report, Boston Globe and The New Republic, 1993-96 >>> Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights on the National Security Staff, 2009-2012; U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, 2013-
20) Aneesh Raman: CNN Middle East correspondent, 2004-2008 >>> worked in communications for the 2008 Obama campaign; speechwriter for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, 2009-2011; speechwriter for President Barack Obama, 2011-
21) Vijay Ravindran: (his bio) Chief Technology Officer for Catalist, a voter database provider which worked for the Obama for America campaign in 2008 >>> Chief Digital Officer and Senior Vice President of the Washington Post Company, 2009-2013 (stayed with Graham Holdings when newspaper sold to Jeff Bezos.)
22) Joy-Ann Reid: Florida deputy communications director, in 2004, for America Coming Together; press aide in Florida for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign >>> Managing Editor of NBC News-owned TheGrio.com and an MSNBC contributor, 2011-14; Host of MSNBC’s The Reid Report, February 2014-February 2015 [UPDATE: In March of 2015, after her show was canceled, Reid became a national correspondent for MSNBC.]
(Miami Herald page of her columns with bio citing her Obama background [jpg image]; July 2013 MRC CyberAlert: “NBC Uses Unlabeled Ex-Obama Operative to Regurgitate Charge Tea Party Motivated by Anti-Obama Racism”)
23) Anthony Reyes: Associate Producer of MSNBC's Last Call with Lawrence O'Donnell >>> New Media Specialist at the Department of the Treasury, 2013- (Treasury contact list)
24) Desiree Rogers: White House social secretary, 2009-2010 >>> Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Company, owner of Ebony and Jet magazines, 2010-
25) Jim Sciutto: (his bio) Senior Foreign Correspondent for ABC News, 2002-2011; foreign corespondent 1999-2002 (see video: The night after Obama’s 2009 inauguration Sciutto featured soundbites from kids around the world saying Obama “renewed their hope” and inspires them to say “yes, we can!”) >>> Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser to the US Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, the former Democratic Governor of Washington, 2011-2013
(image of Sciutto on ABC's World News with Charles Gibson)
26) Tara Sonenshine: ABC News Washington Bureau producer, 1982-89; editorial producer for ABC’s Nightline, 1991-94 >>> Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, April 2012 to June 2013. (State Dept. bio, GWU bio)
27) Richard Stengel: Managing Editor of Time.com, 2000-2004; Managing Editor of Time magazine, 2006-2013 >>> Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, October 2013- (State Dept. bio)
[Earlier, per Time bio: “In 1999 he served as a senior adviser and chief speechwriter for presidential candidate Bill Bradley.”]
28) Desson Thomson: Washington Post film critic, 1987-2008 >>> speechwriter for Louis Susman, U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James (Great Britain), 2009-2010; speechwriter for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 2010-2011; speechwriter and Senior Advisor for Content Development for the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, 2012-
29) Rick Weiss: Washington Post science reporter, 1993-2008 >>> Assistant Director for Strategic Communications and Senior Science and Technology Policy Analyst in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, 2009- (White House bio)
30) Jill Zuckman: Long-time Chicago Tribune Washington correspondent >>> Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Transportation, 2009-2011. (SKDKnickerbocker bio)
— Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Follow Brent Baker on Twitter.