Media News

NY Times hires Schleifer to cover politics and money

May 22, 2024

Posted by Chris Roush

Teddy Schleifer
Teddy Schleifer

New York Times political editor David Halbfinger sent out the following on Wednesday:


I’m delighted to announce one more exciting homecoming: Teddy Schleifer, who was a David Rosenbaum reporting fellow in the Washington bureau a decade ago, and then made a name for himself reporting on the intersection of tech and politics, will be returning to The Times as a correspondent on the Politics desk.

Teddy rejoins us from Puck, where he carved out a niche writing about billionaires and their influence in the overlapping worlds of politics, philanthropy and technology. Based in Washington, he will take up permanent residence on the Politics desk and will lead our campaign-finance coverage down the stretch to November. But we also expect him to work closely with the Business and Tech teams, before and long past the election, and to collaborate with colleagues across the newsroom, including from DealBook, the Washington bureau, National, Style and more — in short, wherever his reporting may lead.

He describes the beat as a way, among other things, of covering one side of inequality — as “an avenue to write about capitalism, culture and politics by focusing on the one-ten-thousandth of one percent who increasingly shape so much of American life.”

His arrival also allows us to formalize what has been informally the case for some time: While she will continue to play an important role in covering campaign finance, Rebecca Davis O’Brien will be freed up to focus her considerable reporting firepower primarily on Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his presidential campaign.

Teddy returns to The Times after interning in Washington in the summer of 2014 under Carolyn Ryan and Elisabeth Bumiller, where he took to heart Elisabeth’s advice not to try to stay at The Times, but instead to go out into the country, learn the craft and then make his way back. He did just that, moving first to Houston and The Chronicle, where he broke the news of Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential bid, then jumping to CNN to cover his campaign and the big-money donors who surrounded him.

After leading money-in-politics coverage for CNN Digital, Teddy moved to Recode, in San Francisco, where he witnessed the explosion of wealth created by the tech boom and pioneered a beat focused on billionaires like Reid Hoffman, Peter Thiel, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and Eric Schmidt: their political ambitions as they resisted (or, as of late, supported) Donald Trump, their lofty and often self-interested philanthropic work and their transformation into cultural tastemakers, self-styled thought leaders and celebrities.

When Puck started up in 2021, Teddy joined as a founding partner and wrote with verve about Silicon Valley wealth, and particularly its deployment in the midterm and 2024 elections. Somewhat accidentally, he said, he became the world’s foremost expert on the political and philanthropic dimensions of Sam Bankman-Fried, which became quite relevant when he was indicted on campaign-finance fraud and other federal crimes. That set off a year or so in which Teddy sought to divulge new details on Mr. Bankman-Fried’s influence operation every week.

Other memorable scoops from his years at Puck include breaking the news that Mr. Bezos wouldn’t buy the Washington Commanders; that Mr. Dorsey clashed with his board at Block over his support for Mr. Kennedy; and over the last few weeks, that tech leaders like David Sacks and Elon Musk have been devising ways to support Mr. Trump as part of a broader rightward shift by Silicon Valley titans.

He starts on June 3. Please welcome him home.

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