Politico To Tap Don Lemon, Chuck Todd And Others As ‘Playbook’ Guest Writers

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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Politico has chosen some of media’s most left-wing darlings as guest writers for its “Playbook” newsletter.

CNN host Don Lemon, PBS NewsHour White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, NBC News political director and host Chuck Todd and Recode co-founder and New York Times opinion writer Kara Swisher are among those who will guest write “Playbook” in January, according to a piece published Wednesday in The Hollywood Reporter.

Playbook’s current writers, Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer, announced in October that they both will leave the company at the end of the year.

Chuck Todd

Todd was forced to apologize in May after he played a deceptively edited clip of Attorney General Bill Barr on “Meet the Press.”

His apology, however, appeared hollow, as Todd shifted the blame to CBS News.

“In the full version of the interview and transcript, he [Barr] went on to say, ‘But I think a fair history would say that it was a good decision because it upheld the rule of law,’” Todd said at the time. “Now, we did not edit that out. That was not our edit. We didn’t include it because we only saw the shorter of two clips that CBS did air.”

In another apparent example of bias, Mark Hemingway called out Todd in a 2019 op-ed after a contentious segment where he went after Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson’s FBI investigation, calling it “Fox News conspiracy propaganda stuff.”

“But far from being a laudable moment of press accountability, the ‘Meet the Press’ interview was a disappointing turn for Todd and the show, once one of the media’s flagship brands,” Hemingway wrote. “Indeed, the full interview illustrated how the media are increasingly obsessed with performative demonstrations of their political views, and less concerned with simply being informative.”

Yamiche Alcindor

Alcindor has followed the footsteps of some other reporters throughout President Donald Trump’s presidency and become well-known for confrontations with the president. She once accused Surgeon General Jerome Adams of using racially charged language and has posed fluff questions to President-elect Joe Biden – compared to some more pointed ones directed at Trump.


Alcindor has also spread misinformation throughout her career, falsely claiming in September that Kenosha, Wisconsin, shooting victims were “unarmed.” In August, she was called out for spreading an out-of-context quote from Trump about protecting the suburbs.

Don Lemon

Lemon, host of “Don Lemon Tonight,” has previously claimed he’s not a “liberal” Democrat and “not a partisan.” His actions on camera, however, may indicate something entirely different.

Lemon, along with other guests, mocked Trump supporters during a segment in January 2020.

The CNN host repeatedly devolved into fits of laughter as the trio of commentators repeated various stereotypes to make fun of Trump and those who back him. Lemon has consistently decried Republicans and the Trump administration over the past few years. (RELATED: It Took This CNN Panel Just 80 Seconds To Show What They Really Think Of Trump Voters)

Lemon also spent time downplaying the riots. Finally, when polls indicated that it was hurting Democrats leading up to the 2020 election, Lemon said on-air that it was time to address the situation.

“It’s showing up in the polling. It’s showing up in focus groups,” Lemon said about the rioting, as he recommended Biden remind Americans that the rioting was happening under Trump. “It is the only thing, right now, that is sticking.” (RELATED: Don Lemon Says It’s Time For Biden To Call Out The Riots And Blame Trump)

The CNN host has spread misinformation in the past, too. He falsely claimed on-air that Fox News failed to report on Hope Hicks’ resignation in 2018, later tweeting out a semi-correction.

Kara Swisher

Another one of Politico’s guest writers has a history of liberal activism, too. In 2016, Swisher announced that she’d like to run for mayor, declaring herself the “liberal lesbian Donald Trump of San Francisco” before quickly taking it back.

A 2014 profile of Swisher in New York Mag dubbed her “a very liberal young woman” and the opinion writer attacked former NYT op-ed writer Bari Weiss’ resignation letter earlier in 2020, calling it “decidedly inaccurate” and a “sad” “pile of words,” according to the NY Post.

She went after Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett for some of her conservative religious beliefs, suggesting she will come to be “an ally of Justices Thomas and Alito in aiming to limit or overturn the federal guarantee that same-sex couples can marry.”

In an earlier 2020 op-ed, Swisher targeted Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton’s controversial NYT opinion piece about the ongoing riots, declaring the piece to be “shameless and also shameful.”

“As it turned out, anarchy was not loosed upon the world,” Swisher claimed, ignoring the many violent riots across the country. “It’s mostly been just peaceful people protesting police brutality aimed at African-Americans, making Mr. Cotton’s suggestion of siccing U.S. troops on them look itchy-trigger-fingery in hindsight.”

Despite the guest writers’ bias, liberal media figures have consistently heaped praise on them. Most recently, the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) gave Alcindor an award for her coverage of the White House in 2020, praising her as a “serious, inquisitive” and “tough as nails” reporter.

Meanwhile, Swisher was declared “arguably the most feared and respected tech journalist in the business” by The Cut in 2019.

As Politico turns to left-wing journalists to guest write “the #1 political newsletter by political professionals,” as Playbook says, it remains to be seen what the future will hold for one of D.C.’s best-known sources of news.

The move is a far cry from Politico’s 2019 push to have its chief political correspondent Tim Alberta moderate the sixth Democratic primary debate. This move sparked backlash among officials at the Democratic National Committee because of Alberta’s background working at the National Review, a conservative magazine, according to a report from NBC News.

To offset the multiple left-wing choices, Politico is including the Washington Free Beacon’s editor-in-chief Eliana Johnson as another guest writer, according to the Hollywood Reporter. In addition, other not-yet-named individuals as well as Politico reporters will help with the newsletter for the time being.