Roll Call has hired Daily Caller reporter Jonathan Strong to cover the House. Strong previously worked as a congressional aide to House Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), and more recently drew criticism for his reporting on Michele Bachmann's migraines.
According to House data compiled by LegiStorm, Strong served as a staff assistant and legislative correspondent for Lungren from August 2006 and August 2008. During his time at the Daily Caller, Strong reported on and provided friendly coverage of the congressman.
When asked by Media Matters if Strong would cover Lungren or legislative activity he's involved with, a Roll Call spokesperson said the details of his House assignment have yet to be finalized but they're "excited to bring" him aboard.
"As with many of our talented journalists, they have a distinguished work history that accompanies them to our newspaper," said Rebecca Gale, Roll Call's Director of Promotions, in an email. "We have not finalized details of Jonathan's reporting, but we expect he will continue to report on Capitol Hill with the highest integrity and ethics that Roll Call is known for."
In a staffing note, Roll Call suggested that Strong was hired, in part, because of his ability to break news. In the memo, posted on FishbowlDC, Roll Call editors noted some of Strong's stories, including "the recent excitement over Michele Bachmann's migraines? Jonathan broke that story." While some reporters defended him, Strong's story drew criticisms for sexism from conservatives and liberals (including Media Matters.)
Strong was also the reporter who spearheaded the Daily Caller's series on the JournoList archives, which purported to show liberal journalists conspiring together. The reporting however, resulted in a seemingly endless series of misleading write-ups about JournoList. The Columbia Journalism Review's Joel Meares wrote that "the controversial reports left many prominent Washington press types, Left and Right, cold."
Strong has devoted friendly coverage to Lungren in The Daily Caller (Strong's site biography notes that he worked for Lungren). On April 26, 2010, for instance, Strong published an article with the headline, "Lungren introduces bill to repeal hidden Obamacare tax authority." From the article:
Adding to their already impressive list of groundbreaking scoops, the Daily Caller has an exclusive report today on the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria sponsoring a gay film festival. In keeping with the Daily Caller house style, the article stretches to several hundred words without coming near anything resembling a point. They instead list all the movies to be screened and note that the U.S. Embassy will show the Oscar-winning film Milk, starring Sean Penn. Shocking stuff.
The final line of the piece perhaps hints at a point: "The U.S. Embassy did not immediately reply to an email asking how much public money is being spent to sponsor the festival." Left unexplained is why this information would be noteworthy or scandalous. U.S. embassies sponsor film festivals all over the world without much notice or controversy.
Strange that the Daily Caller would single out this particular film festival for scrutiny...
The Daily Caller offers this morning a staggeringly lame gotcha attempt aimed at Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway. Reporter Jonathan Strong intimates that Conway is a hypocrite for highlighting Republican opponent Rand Paul's bizarre "Aqua Buddha" college stunt because Conway's Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at Duke "had its own share of notable moments while Conway was studying public policy in the late 1980s and early 1990s." But Stong's article is all about the comparatively tame antics of other members of Conway's fraternity, including some scandals that happened long after Conway graduated.
Strong begins the article by strongly suggesting that Conway has some college-era skeletons in his own closet:
When Democratic Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway started attacking his opponent for the Kentucky Senate seat, Republican Rand Paul, for college-aged hijinks that involved smoking pot and "praying" to a god named Aqua Buddha, Conway's old classmates took notice.
"Can you believe he opened that door?" classmates wondered in e-mail chains, regarding why Conway would have invited scrutiny on his college days.
The reason? Conway, in his undergrad years at work hard, play hard Duke University, was a member of the school's then-most exclusive fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), which had its own share of notable moments while Conway was studying public policy in the late 1980s and early 1990s, albeit of a very different sort than the NoZe Brotherhood, Paul's group.
But the "notable moments" Strong highlights either have nothing to do with Conway, or aren't even that "notable." He writes of a 37-year-old Texan who pledged Conway's frat by pretending to be a college-aged French aristocrat, the "garden variety" pledge "hazing" the frat engaged in, and the fact that SAE had a series of scandals between 1994 and 2002 (Conway graduated in 1991).