In the revolving door between politics and the media, the objectivity of those making the transition is often called into question. Occasionally, there are examples that substantiate the charge by critics of an incestuous relationship existing between the two entities.
Particularly so when the individual is called a “recovering Obamaholic.”
Former Obama campaigner Franco Ripple used his Facebook page to announce last week that he is joining CBS Radio as “the new head of public affairs for CBS Tampa Bay” and will be hosting his own weekly talk show on six CBS stations across Central Florida.
As it turns out, Ripple is a former field organizer for the 2008 Obama campaign apparatus, “Obama for America,” who used the backdrop of the Obama White House to pop the question to his fiancée, an “Obama for America” team leader coordinating volunteers at the time.
In addition to working for the Obama campaign, Ripple was a White House advance staffer for Vice President Joe Biden and the new media director for Fair Districts Florida. The organization billed itself as bipartisan, but was widely seen as a far-left effort funded in part by national unions.
Ripple also worked for multiple Democratic candidates and elected officials in the Sunshine State, including Dan Gelber, the 2010 Democratic nominee for attorney general.
In a Politico profile of the engagement of what it called the “recovering Obamaholics,” Ripple was quoted as saying, “We’re still very thrilled to be only the second all-Florida Obama couple to get engaged,” while conceding that it was “disappointing” not being able to do it in the White House.
Ripple’s political loyalties are clear. And with the 2014 gubernatorial election coming up, a race that has national implications for 2016 and one Democrats feel good about, it will no doubt prove an advantage to have a political insider espousing his opinions across the all-important I-4 corridor.
While it remains to be seen how forthcoming Ripple will be in his public persona, he will no doubt have to convince his listening audience that his viewpoint is less than tainted if he expects to be a credible voice in Florida politics.
Update: Franco Ripple contacted BizPac Review, pointing out that his start in politics was as a White House intern in the Bush Administration, and that he interned for several prominent Republican members of Congress, including Rep. E. Clay Shaw, the late Rep. Henry Hyde and the Republican office of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“I have been hired to produce high-quality public affairs programming focused on the Tampa Bay community, and not to espouse my opinions about political matters,” Ripple noted. “I intend to have as guests lawmakers and political leaders of both parties, and to treat both sides with the same scrutiny they should expect from any professional journalist. I am strongly committed to that non-partisanship.”
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