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The Ex-Journalists Now Working for Obama

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 3:05 p.m. ET

CNN Senior Producer Sasha Johnson announced Monday she's leaving journalism to serve as press secretary at the Department of Transportation, meaning yet another member of the Fourth Estate has left to join the Obama administration.

Sarah Palin
Former ABC, CBS and National Journal reporter Linda Douglass now serves as a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Reporters have done this before: NBC White House Correspondent Ron Nessen left his North Lawn perch in the 1970s to serve as Gerald R. Ford's press secretary and columnist, editor and Fox News anchor Tony Snow did the same for George W. Bush in 2006. Here's at least a partial list, in alphabetical order, of the reporters who've traded notebooks and recorders for policy and podiums:

Warren Bass: Former deputy editor of The Post's Sunday Outlook now serves as an adviser and speechwriter for U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.

Rosa Brooks: The former Los Angeles Times op-ed columnist now advises Michelle Fluornoy at the Defense Department.

Jay Carney: The former TIME Magazine Moscow bureau chief and campaign chronicler (and husband of ABC's Claire Shipman) now serves as communications director for Vice President Biden.

Linda Douglass: Former Congressional correspondent for CBS and ABC and writer/editor at National Journal left journalism last year to serve as traveling press secretary for the Obama campaign. She'll help guide the administration's communications efforts during this summer's battle over health care reform, working out of the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House.

Peter Gosselin: The former Los Angeles Times reporter now writes speeches for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

David Hoff: The Education Week reporter and blogger started yesterday on the communications staff at the Education Department.

Beverley Lumpkin: A former Justice Department reporter/producer for ABC and CBS, she left journalism, worked for the Project on Government Oversight and joined DOJ last month as press secretary, turning sources into colleagues.

Geoff Morrell: A holdover from the Bush administration, the former ABC newsman became spokesman for Defense Secretary Robert Gates in 2007.

Rick Weiss: Former Washington Post science reporter left for the Center for American Progress and now serves as communications director and senior policy strategist for the White House Office of Science and Technology.

Jill Zuckman: The former Washington correspondent for the Chicago Tribune works with Ray LaHood as communications director at the Department of Transportation.

Briefly considered:

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: The CNN/CBS reporter and Atlanta-based neurosurgeon threw his hat into the ring for the surgeon general job, but eventually withdrew because of the "timing."

Honorable Mention:

David Axelrod: President Obama's senior adviser once worked as a Chicago Tribune reporter.

Know of any others? Leave names in the comments section below or e-mail

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 5, 2009; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Revolving Door  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Eye Opener: May 5, 2009
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Journalists - a good pool for talent, don't you think?

Posted by: marydeame | May 6, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

That Tony Snow went to work for the Bush White House wasn't surprising, as everyone knows and accepts that FOX News is conservatively slanted. I'm sure even the FOX News people would agree.

That so many journalists from organizations that claim to be objective are going to work for the Obama administration does raise questions, though. Presuming that they wouldn't be doing this if they disagreed with Obama's positions, doesn't this lend a great deal of credence to conservatives' complaints about media bias? Certainly the positive coverage Obama has received ever since he announced has few parallels in modern political reporting.

Posted by: orange2299 | May 6, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

The Treasury Secretary has a speechwriter?

Posted by: the27yanks | May 6, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Cox’s Scott Shepard joined Sen. John Kerry’s office as a speechwriter.

Investigative reporter Doug Frantz is now chief investigator under the Kerry-helmed Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Daniel W. Reilly left Politico to become communications director for Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)

Hardly matters, though. When the "journalists" working for "news" organizations stand and applaud whenever Obama enters the room, it's pretty clear that they're working for him, regardless of the name on their paychecks.

Posted by: paulmanner98 | May 6, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Isn't this a worse problem than revolving-door lobbyists, especially for younger and more naive voters? Lobbyists are known to be paid partisans.

Posted by: Steve8588 | May 6, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

It's called cronyism and believe me Obama folks love these types of stories because it's great advertising for the next round of lap dogs in the media.

You do for us, we do for you.

Posted by: jack39 | May 6, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

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