A terrific article recently posted on Capital, a New York-based media-news site, talks at length about how DNAinfo.com, “with its frequent scoops and more nimble approach to breaking news,” is making waves and has its “competitors…in a sweat” in the country’s biggest and most important media market. You can read it here. Among other things, the writer notes that I often talk about how proud I am of what the team at DNAinfo.com has accomplished. He sure has that right.
Back on May 17, The New York Times kicked off a feeding frenzy by the mainstream media with a front-page article that purported to describe my political activities. Now that the initial brouhaha has died down a bit, I thought this might be a good time to set the record straight.
Anybody who knows me will tell you that I’ve never made a secret of my deep conviction that this country desperately needs to change its fiscal course if we’re to preserve opportunity for future generations. This starts with making sure we’ve got a President in the White House who is truly committed to sound fiscal policy.
As an entrepreneur, I have always believed in the importance of “putting your money where your mouth is.” And in this spirit, I have always been open about my intention to exercise my right to free speech by putting my own money behind a campaign to elect political leaders this November – including a President – who are committed to getting our fiscal ship back on course.
The first step I took in this regard was to interview a number of political consultants who might help the group I founded, the Ending Spending Action Fund, mount such a campaign. One of these consultants was an advertising man named Fred Davis. I first met Mr. Davis in January at his office in Los Angeles, where he showed me some samples of his work from previous campaigns. I had a second meeting with him in New York several weeks later, at which time I asked him to put together a proposal for a campaign. Mr. Davis presented his proposal at a third meeting in Chicago on Thursday, May 10. I was not at this meeting and only received a copy of the proposal the following Saturday afternoon. I read it that Sunday afternoon and returned it to my son Peter, telling him that my response was negative.
The following Thursday, May 17, The New York Times published its article about Mr. Davis’s proposal. It’s entirely possible that The Times’s reporters actually saw the proposal before I did.
After reading The Times story, TV commentator Joe Scarborough called it “phony journalism” and said the paper was “shamelessly cheerleading for Democrats.” Certainly, the article left a very misleading impression that resulted in a lot of misinformation circulating in the press and on the Internet. But as the old saying goes, the dogs bark and the caravan moves on. My plans have not been affected by any of this. I still intend to do what I can this year to help elect political leaders who share my commitment to economic responsibility.
To me, this is not a matter of Republicans versus Democrats. It’s a matter of common sense and good policy. Indeed, if President Obama were to introduce a balanced budget and a credible plan to reduce the national debt, I would seriously consider supporting his re-election. I love America and its promise of opportunity. I want the same opportunities I enjoyed to be available to future generations of Americans. This is not going to happen unless we all take action to make it happen. And that’s just what I plan to do.
I wanted to share the photos of these wonderful children in Nepal working with learning materials from Opportunity Education Foundation. They are part of a group of 12 kids at their school who face more challenges than most: not only must they contend with poverty, they also happen to be deaf. What I find particularly inspiring is that their teachers learned sign language so they could educate the kids. Partnering with people who are so committed to helping children is something I find truly rewarding.
Brian Baker, president of the Ending Spending Action Fund, has released the following statement on behalf of Joe Ricketts
Joe Ricketts is a registered independent, a fiscal conservative, and an outspoken critic of the Obama Administration, but he is neither the author nor the funder of the so-called “Ricketts Plan” to defeat Mr. Obama that The New York Times wrote about this morning. Not only was this plan merely a proposal – one of several submitted to the Ending Spending Action Fund by third-party vendors – but it reflects an approach to politics that Mr. Ricketts rejects and it was never a plan to be accepted but only a suggestion for a direction to take. Mr. Ricketts intends to work hard to help elect a President this fall who shares his commitment to economic responsibility, but his efforts are and will continue to be focused entirely on questions of fiscal policy, not attacks that seek to divide us socially or culturally.
Rather than breaking news, our first-rate editorial team at DNAinfo.com made news this week, notching six wins at this year’s New York Press Club Awards – more than any other news outlet, except for the Associated Press, which also won in six categories. Among the work honored was DNAinfo.com’s innovative Crime & Safety Report, the groundbreaking reporting on the NYPD ticket-fixing scandal by our veteran investigative journalist Murray Weiss, Amy Zimmer’s continuing coverage of mismanagement at the National Arts Club, and our team reporting on Hurricane Irene. Given that the Press Club Awards drew entries from 58 news organizations, including some of the nation’s biggest and most established media brands, DNAinfo.com’s big win is a great accomplishment. I couldn’t be prouder of the team.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This one (http://on.fb.me/IkNEIB), taken last week at The Lodge at Jackson Fork Ranch, is worth that and then some. Simply breathtaking.
Every so often, I come across a picture that catches my attention and I’d like to share one such occasion. The photo comes from Opportunity Education Foundation and it speaks to the very core of what OEF represents — http://on.fb.me/HZro4u. It’s a photo of a mother and daughter team from a local school in Omaha, Nebraska. They collected thousands of books and prepped them for shipment to their sister school in Tanzania. It’s a beautiful thing to see and I’m proud to share.
I’m so proud of the team at DNAinfo.com for their great work breaking important stories in the news capital of the world. Case in point — they beat out the entire New York news media, including all the major dailies and every TV and radio station, to break the story on Madam Gristina. Hyper-local reporting is the future of journalism and this shows why it works.
I get asked about the Cubs a lot and every now and again someone identifies me as the owner. But that’s not quite right. Here’s the deal – Marlene and I established a trust on behalf of our family and that trust owns a 95-percent controlling interest in the team. To get the whole picture, click here: http://www.joericketts.com/
I want to set straight a misimpression conveyed by a headline that appeared on a story published by a Chicago news website earlier this week. The story concerned a contribution I recently made to an advocacy organization called the Campaign for Primary Accountability, which the headline described as a “Ricketts Family’s Super PAC…” Now, I am proud to be a supporter of the Campaign for Primary Accountability, but it is not a “Ricketts’ Family” anything. Neither I nor my family started this organization, we certainly don’t control it, and I am only one of its supporters. I have no idea why the headline writer chose to describe the Campaign for Primary Accountability this way, but whatever the reason, it is simply wrong.