Dodging an ethical bullet, the Daily Mail’s Donald Trump-friendly U.S. political editor, David Martosko—who had been interviewing for a White House communications position while steering the British news outlet’s coverage of the Trump transition—won’t be getting a job in the new administration.
Martosko, a former Washington spin doctor for industry groups and ex-executive editor of the conservative Daily Caller, learned this week that the position of White House press secretary—one of the jobs he reportedly discussed with the Trump transition team—will likely go to Republican National Committee strategist Sean Spicer, according to a source familiar with Martosko’s plans.
What seemed, at best, an ethically challenged situation—in which Martosko continued to write and edit stories concerning Trump for the Daily Mail and its web site while vying for a plum White House job—raised eyebrows among other journalists.
Business Insider noted that at the same time job interviews were taking place, Martosko authored two Trump-related stories, and another concerning Hillary Clinton. “It’s an interesting turn,” Business Insider reported, “for someone who accused other members of the press of being too close to the Clinton campaign.”
Washington Post political reporter Jenna Johnson, the article continued, once branded Martosko as Trump’s “de facto comms director”—a role he was apparently hoping to formalize in the job talks.
Politico reported on December 13 that Martosko was spotted in Trump Tower, heading upstairs in one of the golden elevators in order to discuss his job prospects with transition officials.
Given his and the Daily Mail’s sympathetic Trump coverage—in stark contrast to much of the mainstream media—Martosko’s name had been in the rumor mill at least since November, when campaign press spokeswoman Hope Hicks attempted to throw cold water on the idea.
“David Martosko, while a talented journalist, is not under consideration,” Hicks said then—and this time she was prescient.
Spicer, who had been under consideration for the press secretary’s job along with radio host Laura Ingraham and even (as rumor had it) Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle, didn’t comment.