Politico staffers are actively attempting to unionize in response to the outlet’s decision to publish a guest column by The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro.
According to Axios, Politico staffers are attempting to unionize with the NewsGuild in a move that could be a “major win” for newsroom labor groups. Politico is one of the largest newsrooms in the nation to resist unionization efforts in the past.
Internal sources said that Politico staffers sought union support after an internal uproar over Shapiro guest hosting the organization’s premier email newsletter, Politico Playbook.
In January, Politico asked Shapiro to guest edit an edition of Playbook. Shortly after the morning email hit inboxes, many leftists — including some Politico staffers — had online meltdowns over the mere idea of Shapiro gaining access to the outlet’s audience.
Politico reporters took to internal Slack channels to express their disbelief that the outlet had published Shapiro’s words.
“[Publishing Shapiro’s column] has clearly generated a wave of negative attention, and I fear it’s already overshadowing a lot of great work being done by journalists across this newsroom,” one staffer wrote.
“This is especially confusing given the newsroom’s welcome efforts over the last year to cover issues related to race in a more intentional, elevated, thoughtful way,” another opined.
According to CNN’s Brian Stelter, Politico convened a newsroom conference call to discuss the matter.
Despite the internal uproar, Politico’s top editor Matt Kaminski released a statement defending the outlet’s decision to publish Shapiro.
“We published a piece by a very prominent writer, provocateur, and podcaster. We stand by every word in there, it was very closely edited,” Kaminski said. “Mischief making has always been a part of Politico’s secret sauce. We were an upstart. Some of that sensibility is always going to be a part of this publication.”
“We have taken great care to assemble a roster of guest authors who are prominent thinkers and writers and represented a range of perspectives,” Kaminski continued. “What sets Politico apart in this intense political and media moment is that we rise above partisanship and ideological warfare even as many seek to drag us into it. It’s a core value of the publication that is unchangeable and that above all protects our ability to do independent journalism. It is a part of our mission.”
The infighting between top editors and left-wing staffers has allegedly sparked the desire for unionization.
Politico spokesperson Brad Dayspring told Axios that publisher Robert Allbritton “understands that the decision to form a union is the choice of the newsroom employees who would be impacted by it, and POLITICO would respect the process and the majority decision of those employees.”
Union organizers have been hosting information sessions with editorial staff and plan to present the union announcements to Politico management in the coming weeks.
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