Employees of NY Times, HuffPo, other news outlets dish out money to re-elect Obama

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Employees of news outlets including the New York Times and the Huffington Post have donated money to President Obama’s re-election campaign, according to records reviewed by The Daily Caller.

Christina Norman, the executive editor for HuffPost BlackVoices, donated $2,500 to the “Obama Victory Fund 2012” in March. Norman didn’t return a request for comment, but a Huffington Post spokeswoman told TheDC that “these donations were made before she knew of our policies, having come from an executive background at OWN and MTV.”

Two employees of the New York Times Company also donated money to Obama’s re-election campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Sally Singer, the editor of “T: The New York Times Style Magazine,” donated $500 to Obama in January. And John Stickney, a senior editor for the New York Times Syndicate, donated $300 in December.

Blogger Michael Petrelis first uncovered Singer’s and Stickney’s donations in May. At the time, New York Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy confirmed that the company’s corporate policy “requires that any employee involved in the planning, creation or oversight of news and editorial content not give money to any political candidate or election cause.”

“In this case he made this donation without direct knowledge of that policy,” Murphy said of Stickney. “He is now aware of the policy and sincerely regrets having made the donation.”

Murphy said Singer, the magazine editor, inadvertently donated to Obama’s campaign by attending a fashion event that she didn’t realize was a fundraiser.

“Sally Singer’s donation was to a fashion industry event,” Murphy said. “When she realized that the event was a fund raiser for the Obama re-election campaign, she asked for and had her money returned.”

Jennifer Granholm, the former Democratic Michigan governor who now hosts a news show on the liberal Current TV, has donated twice to Obama’s campaign. She gave $1,000 to his re-election effort on March 8 and then $500 on March 29.

A press contact at Current — the liberal channel founded by former Vice President Al Gore–said the contributions don’t pose any problems because they “have no policies at all dictating political contributions.”

“We are not in the news gathering business, but rather in the news analysis business,” Current spokeswoman Laura Nelson told TheDC. “If you watch the Governor’s show, I think it would come as no surprise to anyone that she is an Obama supporter.”

A NBC News employee named Thomas Baer gave $250 to Obama in May, according to donor records. LinkedIn says a “Tom Baer” is a NBC News satellite operator, and news reports show that he has also worked as a camera man and given on-air reports.

Reached for comment, a NBC spokesman said: “It is against NBC News policy for full-time employees to make contributions to political campaigns.”

Less visible reporters in Washington have given to Obama’s campaign as well. Elizabeth Wiener of the Washington D.C.-based community Current newspapers donated $500 to Obama in May and then again in June, according to the records.

In an email, Wiener said she covers local news in Washington and hasn’t “donated to or participated in a local campaign since I got this job.”

“I (and my paper) don’t cover national politics, and would be curious why you think it might be inappropriate to donate to a national candidate,” Wiener asked TheDC.

In its review, TheDC looked for donations to Obama and Republican Mitt Romney by searching the names of more than two dozen news organizations on the FEC website.

Revelations that news employees gave money to political candidates have led to repercussions in the past for some high-profile television hosts. In 2010, Keith Olbermann — then of MSNBC — was suspended after giving money to Democratic congressional candidates.

Also that year, the left-leaning cable network suspended host Joe Scarborough for making eight previously undisclosed donations to Republican candidates.

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