The Influence of Politico’s Sponsors
Who Sponsors Politico?
When German publisher Axel Springer SE purchased Politico in October 2021 for $1 billion, the media world gasped at the audaciousness of the deal. What wasn’t as much of a surprise was the new owner’s decades-long record of bending journalistic ethics to advance right-wing causes.
One example: when Playbook broke the story that the Supreme Court was poised to strike down Roe v. Wade, the paper’s readers reacted with anger.
The Allbritton Company
The Allbritton Company was a privately owned media and television conglomerate founded in 1975. The company owned several ABC affiliates and launched Politico in 2007.
Allbritton sold the company’s TV stations to Sinclair Broadcast Group in 2020. The company also owns Morning Brew and Business Insider, both of which were acquired by Axel Springer in 2015.
In 2021, Allbritton sold Politico to Axel Springer SE. The new owner plans to expand the website and add more staff. The acquisition will allow Politico to offer its content behind a paywall.
The founder of the Allbritton Company, Joe Allbritton, has many ties to right-wing politics and business. His family’s interests have included a number of international financial transactions with the Saudis and other right-wing regimes, as well as long-standing connections to the Reagan circle. As a result, it seems clear that Allbritton’s political biases will have an impact on the news organization he created. And that’s a problem.
The Goli Sheikholeslami Group
Goli Sheikholeslami is the chief executive of Politico Media Group, overseeing the news organization’s operations in North America and Europe. She takes the helm from Patrick Steel, who left his position as CEO in 2021. Sheikholeslami previously served as CEO of New York Public Radio, including its flagship station WNYC and Gothamist. She has also held senior positions at Chicago Public Media and Everyday Health, and worked for The Washington Post and Conde Nast early in her career.
Sheikholeslami joins a company that has won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartoons and three George Polk awards, as well as a host of other top honors. She will be charged with guiding the Rosslyn-based business into an expansion phase, as its parent company Axel Springer has signaled a desire to accelerate its pace of acquisitions.
Sheikholeslami says the opportunity to work at POLITICO, known for its fearless and fact-based journalism on politics and policy, was what tipped the scales in her decision to accept the job.
Axel Springer SE
Axel Springer SE is a media and technology company that operates worldwide. Its offerings include classifieds media, news media, and marketing models. The company is based in Germany and generates revenues from subscriptions and advertising. Its portfolio includes newspapers, tabloids, and lifestyle magazines.
The Rosslyn-based news outlet Politico is reportedly in talks with German publisher Axel Springer SE for a sale. The two have been partners since 2014, when they launched Politico Europe in Brussels. Axel Springer’s purchase would mark the latest wave of consolidation in the media industry.
Founded in 2007, Politico has grown to be the largest political and policy news organization in North America. It is known for its coverage of insider-y political details and boldface birthday-party sightings around town. The company also has a successful European edition. Its sale to Axel Springer will likely mean more staff cuts at the site. Axel Springer CEO Mathias Dopfner has said that Politico employees will need to adhere to the company’s principles, including support for a united Europe and Israel’s right to exist.
The National Association of Black Journalists
The National Association of Black Journalists is a group that supports minority journalists. The organization has a mission to prepare and encourage students who want to pursue careers in journalism. It also helps to create networking opportunities and provides mentoring programs for students.
Its sponsors include The Allbritton Company, which owns the Washington-area ABC affiliate WJLA. The Allbritton Company is owned by Joe Allbritton, a Republican donor and former Reagan official. The company has been accused of slanting its coverage to please its donors.
Politico’s sponsorship of the group could lead to serious conflicts of interest. As a result, it is critical to note who is paying for the publication’s content. This will help readers determine whether the information is biased or not. In addition, politico needs to be more transparent about its relationships with advertisers. This will increase its credibility in the eyes of readers. It should note when it is sponsored by IFA, for example, which has a vested interest in the story being reported.