Philly.com Boss Endorses Democrat on Twitter, Will Lefty Media Critics Ignore?

Of late, many left-wing media critics have been ostensibly interested in protecting the independence of journalism from hypothetical conservative media ownership. Unfortunately, as Howard Kurtz pointed out over the weekend, these people are remarkably cavalier when the left-leaning billionaires like Warren Buffett start buying up media outlets.

Another example of how such critics are not very sincere is one George Norcross, a man known within the Philadelphia area as a long-time Democratic donor, activist, and fundraiser. He also happens to be the co-owner of the region’s two largest newspapers, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Philadelphia Daily News.

Today’s supposed defenders of journalistic independence didn’t raise a peep when Norcross and two other Democratic donors purchased the papers and their website, Philly.com in 2012.

Since that time, Norcross has not withdrawn from Pennsylvania and New Jersey politics. Just today, he announced that he was endorsing Newark mayor Cory Booker to run for New Jersey’s open U.S. Senate seat.

Nothing wrong with that necessarily. It is unclear to me how much involvement Norcross has in the news content of the media properties which he owns.

Unfortunately for the credibility of those properties, his daughter, Lexie Norcross, who actually works in news as the head of Philly.com also endorsed Booker on Twitter:

Go @corybooker go! “Norcross backs Booker for Senate” philly.com/philly/blogs/c… @mattkatz00 @phillydotcom

As noted by Philadelphia Magazine, this presents all sorts of problems:

It’s one thing for George Norcross–who part-owns the Inquirer, the Daily News, and Philly.com–to be endorsing political candidates. Whatever his role at Interstate General Media, politics is still his stock-and-trade. Lexie Norcross, by contrast, is Director of Digital Operations at her dad’s company; she’s in charge of Philly.com. In other words: The supposedly neutral chief of the region’s most influential journalistic outlet is cheerleading for a political candidate…backed by her dad…who owns said journalistic outlet. Hmm.

Indeed.

As of this writing, leftish media blogger Jim Romenesko is the only other publication to note the embarrassing endorsement. I'll update this entry in a few hours to see if it gets any more coverage.

Hat tip: Rob Daniel.

Update 21:18. There has been no additional coverage of the endorsement in lefty media critic-land.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013