DNC faces backlash for reportedly resisting Politico's debate moderator pick with conservative media ties

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is facing heavy criticism from journalists after it was reported that the party was resisting Politico's pick as debate moderator ahead of the December debate due to his former ties to conservative media.

NBC News reported Monday that the DNC and Politico were "locked in an argument" because Politico publisher Robert Allbritton had pushed for Tim Alberta, the outlet's chief political correspondent, to be one of the moderators for the Dec. 19 debate, which PBS is set to co-host.

The selection of Alberta has "rankled officials" within the DNC because he previously wrote for the conservative magazine National Review and much of his reporting since then has been focused on Republican politics, NBC News reported.

"Democratic Party officials say such a journalist is ill-suited to co-moderate a debate meant to better inform Democratic voters about their potential nominees," sources familiar with the matter told the outlet.

The push for Alberta reportedly also "rankled" some journalists at PBS and even his own colleagues at Politico.

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The DNC reportedly pushed back at Politico for planning to include Tim Alberta, right, as a debate moderator. (William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images, Montage)

The DNC reportedly pushed back at Politico for planning to include Tim Alberta, right, as a debate moderator. (William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images, Montage)

Many journalists blasted the DNC over the reported pushback.

"It is outrageous that anyone from within Politico, PBS, or DNC should object to the questioning of @TimAlberta," The Hill's chief Washington correspondent Saagar Enjeti reacted. "Ask any Republican who has felt the lash of his pen whether he can be critical of the other side. He would be a welcome addition to the stage."

Others defended Alberta, including Washington Post reporter Seung Min Kim who wrote that Alberta "is a fantastic journalist and I will vouch for his fairness, integrity and smarts any day," and Jewish Insider senior political reporter Ben Jacobs, calling Alberta "one of the best journalists covering politics in America today."

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"This is insane. Rachel Maddow is ok as a moderator but Tim Alberta is unacceptable?" author Daniel Darling tweeted.

The DNC and Alberta did not immediately respond to Fox News for comment. Politico declined to comment.