Politico reassures staff spooked by hate mail, anti-Semitism

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The staff at Politico magazine was reassured that their “personal safety is of the utmost importance” after receiving threatening letters, some of them anti-Semitic.

The magazine’s publisher and editor, John Harris and Carrie Budoff Brown, respectively, sent a note Tuesday to the staff.

“Over the last week, it’s been reported that some journalists and media executives have received threatening correspondence, both at their place of work and to their home,” they wrote. “Your personal safety is of the utmost importance to us, and we thought you should be aware that POLITICO has procedures in place designed to protect our employees.”

The note was first reported in the Erik Wemple blog of The Washington Post.


Brad Dayspring, Politico’s vice president of communications, told Wemple that several of his staff members have received threatening and anti-Semitic mail in the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign and election.

“I’m sure you’ve seen the recent reports and social media posts about journalists and media types receiving threatening correspondence. Several of our reporters and editors received similar letters,” Dayspring said.

He said the letters were in line with a letter recently received by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who came home to find an orange envelope holding “three pages of anti-Semitism,” according to CNN.

The letter to Politico staff also said: “We regularly monitor our building security, we partner with a security firm that screens our physical mail, and the HR and IT departments have processes in place to review inappropriate electronic communications that our employees receiveIn addition to our own internal safety protocols, we have a security consultant with extensive contacts within local and federal government who advises us and assists on specific incidents.”

An Anti-Defamation League report issued in October identified 2.6 million anti-Semitic tweets between August 2015 and July 2016 with an estimated reach of 10 billion impressions, which the task force believes “contributed to reinforcing and normalizing anti-Semitic language – particularly racial slurs and anti-Israel statements — on a massive scale.”

Of those tweets, ADL focused its analysis on the ones directed at 50,000 journalists in the United States, finding 19,253 anti-Semitic tweets directed at them. Of those, a disproportionate number were directed at a small number of journalists. The top 10 most targeted journalists, who received 83 percent of the overtly anti-Semitic tweets, were Jewish.