The Cutline

Washington Post reporter named Biden communications director

The Cutline

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Washington Post reporter Shailagh Murray is leaving the paper to become communications director for Vice President Joe Biden.

The Post's Chris Cillizza broke the news Friday and Kevin Merida, the paper's national editor, announced the move in a staff memo obtained by The Cutline.

Murray will be the second journalist to hold the position. Jay Carney, former Washington bureau chief for Time magazine, became communications director shortly after the 2008 election. Last month, he moved over to become White House press secretary.

"Shailagh's experience as a reporter will certainly be an asset in her new role," Carney told The Cutline. "But even more valuable is that she understands how Washington works, and how what Washington does affects people's lives. I have no doubt she'll provide wise counsel to the vice president, and I really look forward to working with her."

Several nonpartisan journalists—rather than opinion writers or television pundits—joined the Obama administration early on, including ex-Chicago Tribune reporter Jill Zuckman. Conservatives, then and now, have been quick to seize on such moves as evidence of a revolving door between Democratic politics and the media.

"Now that another reporter from the media has gone to work for the VP, can we just stop pretending there's no liberal bias?" asked former Bush press secretary Dana Perino on Twitter.  (Perino's predecessor, the late Tony Snow, was a journalist before joining the White House but was clearly aligned on the right).

Murray covered Congress and political campaigns for more than a decade at the Washington Post, and previously, The Wall Street Journal. She was still covering legislative battles and Biden's role up until a few weeks ago, prompting the Atlantic Wire to ask when she stopped covering her new boss at the paper.

Murray did not respond to requests for comment on the move.

Merida's memo is below:

We regret to announce that congressional correspondent Shailagh Murray is leaving The Post to become communications director for Vice President Joseph Biden.

There are few reporters more skillful than Shailagh when it comes to connecting politics and policy in Washington. She is a master at explaining complex legislation and the unpredicatable twists and turns of Congress. Her sophisticated understanding of issues and an ability to bring big ideas to our pages have served readers well.

Shailagh came to The Post in 2005 from The Wall Street Journal, and has been tirelessly at work ever since. She helped cover the Obama presidential campaign in 2008, chronicled the yearlong debate over health care reform and was central to our coverage of the 2010 midterm elections.

She is a thinker with spirit, and we will miss her greatly but wish her well.


(This post was updated with Carney's response to Biden hiring Murray)

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