Newsweek Decided To Not Disclose Reporter's Former Job : Former Bush Aide is Covering Obama Administration

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Newsweek is defending its decision to not include a disclosure in contributor Yuval Levin's byline. Levin is a former George W. Bush White House aide, now covering the Obama administration for the magazine.

Newsweek is defending its decision to not inform readers that one of its reporters, Yuval Levin, was a bioethics adviser with the George W. Bush Administration. Since President Barrack Obama took office, Levin has been writing for the magazine.

Blogger Daniel Tencer of The Raw reports on the issue in a November 17 post. He says that in a recent article, “Levin argued that the Democrats missed an opportunity to divide the Republican Party by not including tax cuts in the Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus package.” Yet, as Tencer and other bloggers are quick to point out, “Levin’s analysis overlooked the fact that the stimulus package included $280 billion in tax cuts, and still received no votes from Republican congresspeople.”

The oversight has brought criticism on the magazine, with readers wondering why they were not informed of Levin’s Bush White House ties. Tencer links to Ari Melber of The Nation, who says, “Newsweek‘s byline states that the writer, Yuval Levin, is “editor of National Affairs and a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.” It all sounds quite journalistic and non-partisan. But Levin is also a former aide to President George W. Bush. (He served on the White House domestic policy staff as recently as 2006). If anything, this government experience makes Levin’s political analysis more interesting. Why keep it from readers?” Melber says the magazine included a disclosure in an earlier article, and questioned the decision to leave it off the most recent article.

Newsweek  spokesperson Katherine Barna responded, “We believe our readers are aware of Mr. Levin’s background, and are able to discern a reported news article from argument, which Levin’s recent piece was.”

Should readers be happy to hear Newsweek thinks they are well informed, or annoyed that the magazine did not add a disclosure?

Melber links to other sites that have since weighed-in:

“The Washington Post Company does not understand disclosure” : Media Matters

“Melber questions Newsweek disclosure for Bush aide” : Politico

“The Horror and The Outrage” : RCP Blog

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Newsweek Didn’t Disclose Reporter Yuval Levin’s Former Job with George W. Bush

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3 Responses

  1. Peterk says:

    What does it matter, considering how many journalists openly support Obama and the Democrats? Does Newsweek reveal the political proclivities of its other writers?

  2. Rhonda Roland Shearer says:

    I read between the lines that you perhaps detect bias on our part for having reported on this case of non-disclosure. However, the truth is: We would have pointed out reports on this matter of non-disclosure no matter which party was involved–left or right.

    I feel your pain. It is a frustrating sight –all the polarization and non-disclosures in the media. My answer is, yes. We would report any coverage of Newsweek reporters –or others–that have not properly disclosed their backgrounds when it is relevant to their reportage.

    Look at this page on our site 

    It lists 40 cases where the topic of the need for proper media "disclosures" are discussed. See for example: "Washington Post Columnist Anne Applebaum Defends Roman Polanski Without Full Disclosure" or "NYTPicker reveals New York Times columnist David Pogue’s secret: ‘I am not a reporter.’ "

    If you find a case where Newsweek leaves out important information from their other reporters’ bios, please let us know. We are interested. Thanks for writing.

  3. Peterk says:

    don’t read too much between the lines on my comment. My comment is directed towards others. I follow your blog regularly and am well aware of what y’all do

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