WaPo media opinion writer Erik Wemple took The Daily Caller‘s Alex Pappas to task today for a story that outs journalists who have donated to President Obama‘s reelection effort. Pappas included Elizabeth Wiener, who writes for Current Newspapers. She donated $500 in May and again in June. He also includes reporters from HuffPost, NYT, Current TV and NBC News.
The fight in a nutshell: Wemple maintains Pappas’ story reaches preposterous proportions since Weiner doesn’t cover national politics, nor do the publications for which she works, which include the Dupont Current, a local rag that covers things like missing dogs and colorful happenings in Dupont Circle. Pappas argues that news of which reporters have donated and how much is news and why shouldn’t previously unreported facts go uncovered?
“It just popped out of the story,” Wempled remarked to FishbowlDC. “If the point of looking up these contributions is to police media outlets that may be predisposed to favoring President Obama, then I’d think you’d restrict the reporting to media outlets that cover President Obama. Pappas wrote to me on Twitter wondering why I’d take issue with a story that has information that hadn’t been reported before. Strikes me that there’s a reason why Elizabeth Wiener‘s donations hadn’t been reported before.”
Pappas holds fast to his reporting and also has an accusation for Wemple. We asked if he had a comment on Wemple’s reaction to his story and whether or not he believes journalists ought to be contributing to anyone’s presidential campaign.
“I was confused why a media critic like Erik would criticize a reporter for revealing new facts,” he told FBDC. “Isn’t that what we’re paid to do? I don’t have an opinion about whether a reporter should or should not donate to a campaign. I do think it’s completely fair for us to shed light on those who do, which is why I wrote the piece. Erik admitted in his comments section that he’s followed the local reporter’s work for a while, so maybe he’s just protecting a friend.”