Politico’s New Owner on the Opportunity for “Nonpartisan” Media


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For Washington insiders and people in the media, Politico publishes some of the wonkiest reporting inside the Beltway. It’s not what you’d call a mass-market publication, but it’s highly influential—it was Politico that obtained and published Samuel Alito’s draft opinion of the Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade. The German news publisher Axel Springer, led by the C.E.O. Mathias Döpfner, acquired Politico, last year, for more than a billion dollars. “I believe that journalism has a very bright future if we get some things right,” Döpfner tells David Remnick. The C.E.O. relishes taking provocative stances, but he has been a vocal critic of media outlets that he says increasingly cater to partisan audiences; he cites as an example the resignation of a New York Times editor over the publication of a right-wing opinion piece. “It is not about objectivity or neutrality,” he tells Remnick. “It is about plurality.” Politico, Döpfner says, is taking “a kind of contrarian bet: if everybody polarizes, the few who do differently may have the better future.”

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