MediaWatch: June 1989

Vol. Three No. 6

Revolving Door: Jackson's Flack Bites Back

Jackson's Flack Bites Back. Jesse Jackson delivered "constant unwarranted abuse" to his campaign workers, including purposefully stepping on their feet to stop them from talking, ABC News producer turned Jackson Press Secretary Elizabeth Colton claims in her new book. In the just released The Jackson Phenomenon: The Man, the Power, the Message, Colton explains, "I had been forewarned by many" about Jackson's disrespect for his staff, but took the job because "I had believed in his message and the historic importance of his campaign."

Colton brought plenty of media experience to the position she began in January 1988: She was an ABC News producer in the early 1980's and again before jumping to the campaign staff. In between she worked for Newsweek as a Middle East correspondent and as a National Public Radio reporter. Colton relinquished her press relations duties in April 1988 when Jackson "didn't think he needed any help" since "the media were eating out of his hand."

Chafee Again. Michael Healy left the office of Rhode Island Senator John Chafee in 1986 to become a political researcher for the CBS News Election Survey Unit. Now, he's back with the liberal Republican as a Legislative Assistant.

Writing Right. Bill McGurn, Deputy Editorial Page Editor for the Asian edition of The Wall Street Journal for the past three years, is the new Washington Editor for the conservative National Review magazine. McGurn, who previously wrote for the Journal's European edition and The American Spectator, replaced John McLaughlin.

McNamara Resigns from Post. Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson resigned from the board of The Washington Post Company during its May 11 annual meeting. McNamara had reached the Post Company's mandatory retirement age of 70.

On Kohl's Dole. Newly elected Senator Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat, has hired former Associated Press reporter Bill Ritz as his Communications Director. Ritz covered the 1972 Olympics in Munich for the wire service according to the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call. He joined the Denver Post in 1978 where he remained an investigative reporter until 1984.

Taking the Prosecutor's Side. Washington Times reporter Mary Belcher has been covering independent counsel Lawrence Walsh's prosecution of Oliver North. Now, she's taken a side. Belcher has decided to work for Walsh. On June 19 Belcher becomes the Public Information Officer for the Office of the Independent Counsel.

She succeeds James Weighart, Editor of the New York Daily News before he put in a brief 1986 stint as Chief of Staff to Senator Ted Kennedy. This Fall Weighart takes over the Journalism Department at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.