Politico is facing new criticism in the wake of a report about its owner and an email he sent involving the 2020 election.
According to The Washington Post, Mathias Döpfner, whose company Axel Springer owns Politico, wants to “be the leading digital publisher in democracies around the world.”
“He’s concerned that the American press has become too polarized — legacy brands like the New York Times and The Washington Post drifting to the left, in his view, while conservative media falls under the sway of Trumpian ‘alternative facts.’ So in Politico, the fast-growing Beltway political journal, he sees a grand opportunity,” the Post explained.
Döpfner told the Post, “We want to prove that being nonpartisan is actually the more successful positioning.”
While the paper points out that the media mogul’s politics “have remained something of a mystery,” a 2020 email appeared to show support for some of the policies of former President Donald Trump.
The Post obtained an email sent by Döpfner to his closest executives weeks before the 2020 election that asked, “Do we all want to get together for an hour in the morning on November 3 and pray that Donald Trump will again become President of the United States of America?”
“Döpfner went on to argue that Trump had made the right moves on five of what he deemed the six most important issues of the last half century — ‘defending the free democracies’ against Russia and China, pushing NATO allies to up their contributions, ‘tax reforms,’ and Middle East peace efforts, as well as challenging tech monopolies — if falling short, he implied, on climate change,” the paper added.
When asked by the Post about the email, Döpfner claimed it was “intrinsically false,” and that it “doesn’t exist. It has never been sent and has never been even imagined.”
However, the paper added, “When shown a printout of the text, Döpfner allowed a glimmer of recognition. It’s possible, he said, that he may have sent the email ‘as an ironic, provocative statement in the circle of people that hate Donald Trump,’ because that’s exactly the kind of ironic, provocative thing that Döpfner, a garrulous and enthusiastic texter, likes to do.”
Regardless of whether the email was meant to be “ironic,” it still set off a firestorm on Twitter.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) wrote, “Dear Politico CEO: If you are going to be a Trump supporter, at least have the courage to admit it. Lying is never a good look for a media organization’s CEO. You didn’t just remain silent or say you didn’t remember. You went above and beyond and embellished your lie. Pathetic.”
Dear Politico CEO: If you are going to be a Trump supporter, at least have the courage to admit it.
Lying is never a good look for a media organization’s CEO. You didn’t just remain silent or say you didn’t remember. You went above and beyond and embellished your lie. Pathetic. https://t.co/aZVw4dR4TM
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) September 6, 2022
Check out some of the other reactions below:
Politico has always been right-leaning, so it'll be interesting to see just how much more to the right that guy pushes them (all while calling it "neutrality")
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) September 6, 2022
This is more than just an embarrassment for Politico CEO.
It casts a shadow of bias on their political coverage. https://t.co/E6q35HJHg3
— Aisha Sultan (@AishaS) September 6, 2022
Congrats @politico. You not only worked for a "neutral" owner who prays for Trump but when confronted with the email confirming it says "That doesn’t exist. It has never been sent and has never been even imagined" then says…oh yeah maybe that's me 🤦🏼♂️https://t.co/V36l24xDWY
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) September 6, 2022
The report on Politico’s owner comes as another major news outlet is facing criticism after its new owners started making some changes.
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