A prominent CNN commentator, the top two political reporters for The Huffington Post, a Reuters reporter, the editor of The Nation magazine, a producer for Al Jazeera America television, a U.S. News & World Report columnist, and approximately two dozen Huffington Post contributors are among the more than 1,000 members of Gamechanger Salon.
Founded by leftwing activist Billy Wimsatt, the group is a secretive digital gathering of writers, opinion leaders, activists and political hands who share information, ideas and strategy via a closed Google group.
The group’s existence was discovered by Media Trackers through an open records request filed with a University of Wisconsin professor who happened to be a member of the network.
Sally Kohn, formerly a Fox News contributor, now works for CNN reliably echoing pro-Obama Administration talking points and championing leftwing ideas as a network commentator. Kohn is also a member of Gamechanger Salon, and e-mails show that she occasionally approached the group’s membership and asked them to promote her television appearances.
“I’m guest co-hosting CNN’s Crossfire tonight at 6:30pm EST, with fellow co-host Newt Gingrich. I would be grateful for folks (a) helping spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, etc to encourage people to tune in; and (b) tuning in and live tweeting during the show,” Kohn wrote to the group on January 14 of this year.
In another e-mail, Kohn pitched her TED talk about working as a liberal at Fox News. “I would be grateful for any shares and reactions. Here is a straightforward, sample tweet[:] Watch @sallykohn’s amazing TED talk on emotional correctness: on.ted.com/Kohn” she wrote. “Thanks for everything all of you do every day to make the world a better place!” she signed off.
Amanda Terkel, the “Senior Political Reporter and Politics Managing Editor at The Huffington Post,” is a member of Gamechanger Salon along with The Huffington Post’s Washington bureau chief, Ryan Grim.
In mid-July, Terkel and Grim jointly wrote a piece about a leftwing effort to push Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) to run for president. The pair of reporters heavily quoted Erica Sagrans, a fellow member of Gamechanger Salon and leading organizer of the “Ready For Warren” effort, and cited Billy Wimsatt’s support for the project. Wimsatt’s work as founder of Gamechanger Salon and the reporters’ own membership in the group, along with Sagrans’ membership, went unreported.