Jay Carney Leaves Time for Joe Biden

Jay Carney, Washington bureau chief for Time magazine since 2005, is leaving the magazine to become Joe Biden’s communications director.  Mark Halperin broke the news with a one-liner but The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room has the closest thing to a detailed report:

Time magazine Washington Bureau Chief Jay Carney has left that position, reportedly to become Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s communications director. Carney will become an assistant to Biden in the White House, and will serve as the vice president’s communications director, Time’s own Mark Halperin reported Monday.

Spokeswomen for Biden did not immediately return an email seeking confirmation of the report.

Carney had been the magazine’s D.C. bureau head since 2005, and had been on board Air Force One with President Bush on 9/11. He is married to ABC News senior national correspondent Claire Shipman.

Rich Stengel, Time’s managing editor, has high praise:

After twenty extraordinary years at TIME, Jay Carney is moving on to a new challenge. Jay has been pretty much everywhere for us. He started as Miami bureau chief and then became a correspondent in Moscow before landing in Washington and eventually becoming bureau chief. He was in Havana when Mikhail Gorbachev first visited in 1989; he was on the first plane of journalists into Panama for the U.S. invasion that same year; in 1991, he was at the television tower in Vilnius, Lithuania, when Soviet tanks rolled in, and in Red Square when they rolled again during the failed coup that led to the Soviet Union’s demise. On 9/11, he was aboard Air Force One with President Bush. He had two stints covering the White House and excelled in his coverage of the McCain 2000 campaign and of the Clinton impeachment. As a reporter and as bureau chief, he always fought for fairness and balance in our coverage whether it was of the left or the right. He is a superb journalist, an exemplary bureau chief and he also happens to be one of the pleasantest and most decent guys in our business. We wish him well in his new endeavors, which we will hear about shortly.

One certainly understands the desire to move on to new challenges and becoming a senior aide to the vice president — even one who vows to curtail the office’s responsibility — is a big deal.  Still, Carney is a reporter, not an editorial writer (although he has done some punditry on the various talking heads shows over the years).   Doesn’t he throw away any pretense of objectivity by becoming a flack for Biden?

Further, his wife is a major political reporter for ABC News who frequently substitutes as anchor.  Are her duties going to be curtailed or are they going to pretend that she doesn’t have a conflict of interest?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Tano says:

    “Doesn’t he throw away any pretense of objectivity by becoming a flack for Biden?”

    Huh? What a sentence.
    First off, is it really “objectivity” that he ever claimed, as opposed to fairness and honesty?

    Secondly, whatever it is he claimed in terms of
    professionalism – was it all a pretense? Is that your charge?

    And third – he is “throwing it away”? What does that mean? Obviously, he is now going to work for Biden. No one expects him, in that position, to comment on the news of the day from the perspective of a reporter. Seems like he is transparently setting aside the perspective of a journalist while on this new job. Whats the problem?

  2. Christopher says:

    lol! You think he is leaving because of “new challenges”? He is leaving because no one reads TIME mag anymore, or watches ABC news where his wife works. Like most liberals, he is fulfilling his dream of living off the dole, and he and his wife are terrified of being laid off from their current jobs and becoming destitute!

    “new challenges”?!? The VP’s Comm Dir? lol Give me a friggin’ break! Wow, THAT job will be a challenge! lol NOT

  3. James Joyner says:

    Tano: My point is that he’s built up a reputation as a reporter. Becoming a politico ends that, permanently. If being on Biden’s team is his dream job, that’s fine. But it is what it is.

  4. charles johnson says:

    *cough*TonySnow*cough*

  5. markm says:

    *cough*TonySnow*cough*

    But Tony worked for the big cahouna. Jay will be working for a guy that will be kept in the basement.

  6. carpeicthus says:

    Clearly no one here is keeping track of what’s happening in magazines. This guy getting out while the getting is good. But you can’t necessarily spurn his wife. Wasn’t a CNN reporter dating Rush Limbaugh? God knows my wife doesn’t listen to me. 😉

  7. anjin-san says:

    My point is that he’s built up a reputation as a reporter. Becoming a politico ends that, permanently. If being on Biden’s team is his dream job, that’s fine. But it is what it is.

    Pretty sure its his life and his business…

  8. James Joyner says:

    *cough*TonySnow*cough*

    Ah, but Tony Snow was a partisan commentator. He could leave a high paying radio gig to serve with the president and return to punditry with little downside, save a loss of objectivity when talking about the Bush administration. Carney was a straight news reporter.

  9. Bithead says:

    Doesn’t he throw away any pretense of objectivity by becoming a flack for Biden?

    Becoming?

  10. pylon says:

    Further, his wife is a major political reporter for ABC News who frequently substitutes as anchor. Are her duties going to be curtailed or are they going to pretend that she doesn’t have a conflict of interest?

    Just like Campbell Brown’s duties were curtailed because she was married to a Bush admin official?

  11. James Joyner says:

    Just like Campbell Brown’s duties were curtailed because she was married to a Bush admin official?

    According to Wikipedia, her husband, Dan Senor, is a Republican consultant, although he worked in various mid level posts at one point. I wasn’t aware of the connection, though, and ABSOLUTELY these relationships should be disclosed if she’s doing reporting on overlapping issues.