Watchdog’s Joe Jordan to work for Ashford

Joe Jordan 01Leavenworth St. has learned that Joe Jordan, Managing Editor and Investigative Reporter for Nebraska Watchdog, will soon take a position as 2nd District office communications director for Democrat Congressman Brad Ashford.

(Confirmed 3 hours later by the OWH.)

While the move of a previously “independent” reporter onto a Democrat office holder’s staff has now become cliché, the full reason for Jordan’s move from Watchdog is still unknown.

It was thought that Jordan had recently signed a long-term contract with Watchdog. However, there was a story going around (from whom, it’s not clear) that Watchdog was shaking things up nationally, and that Jordan would not be part of the long-term plan.

We have heard a much different story however.


Joe Jordan noted in a post on Watchdog back on August 20, 2013 that Nebraska Watchdog would NOT be covering the Nebraska Governor’s race. Why?

“…because of (Pete) Ricketts’ financial relationship with the Franklin Center, Nebraska Watchdog has decided not to report on the governor’s campaign while Ricketts is a likely or actual candidate.”

Jordan also noted that…

“…no donor to the Franklin Center, and there are many, have (sic) any editorial control over Nebraska Watchdog’s content.”

Some bloggers out there asked why, if no one was controlling their content, Nebraska Watchdog couldn’t have just put a disclaimer at the end of any story on the Governor’s race. Many media outlets and newspapers — think Warren Buffet and the OWH — have owners whom they report on.

But by failing to cover the race at all, Nebraska Watchdog opened itself up to the notion that there WAS editorial control exerted by donors. Or that any donor’s influence was so well known that they couldn’t be reasonable.

Or maybe that any donors just didn’t want to give Joe Jordan the green-light to hammer them, like Jordan loves to do.


Circle back then a few months after Pete Ricketts enters office.

One of the first controversies of the new administration was whether Ricketts’ top staffer could work for him while at the same time keeping and working for her private clients who have state business.

Watchdog, via reporter Deena Winter, reported on how Ricketts’ staff was using private email accounts for public business (a’ la Hillary) but that the issue had pretty much been cleared up.

But what of the other controversy about the staffer who was working two jobs?

Watchdog simply linked to an OWH story.
And Joe Jordan’s stink-eye and in-your-face account was no where to be seen on the issue.


So did Jordan WANT to cover THAT issue?
Did he WANT to be more of the hard-nosed reporter on Ricketts?

Well, here is the LAST on-camera interview Jordan did with Ricketts where Ricketts said he wouldn’t  “tighten seat belt laws“:

Pretty softball stuff, all in all. But, after Ricketts says he wants people to wear seat belts, Jordan does get in one snarky line with, “you SAY that, when statistics show that when there are SERIOUS car wrecks, people not wearing seat belts are more likely to die..

And Governor Pete Ricketts gives him this face:

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 7.34.47 AM

With rumors swirling that Jordan wanted to push Ricketts on the issue of his staffer’s double jobs, he ends up out of a job with Watchdog.

We can all wait to see what the official story is.
Why Joe Jordan left Watchdog. What their “mission” was.
Why he went to work as a press-flak for a Democrat Congressman.

But it was interesting that when the Columbia Journalism Review did an extensive story about Watchdog’s coverage of the Ernie Chambers blow-up, they failed to note that Nebraska Watchdog’s main funder was the guy who is now the sitting Governor.

And just exactly how much influence he is exerting on the coverage of his administration by the media.


  1. Macdaddy says:

    If he’s leaving because of undue influence by donors, he’s sure going out with a whimper. And he just handed Ricketts a big bat should Jordan ever want to make waves.

  2. Hesdeadjim says:

    Of course Ashford hands Joe Jordan a job, after all Joe Jordan did spend the better part of the last four years looking for a “Gotcha” with Lee Terry. Hatchet jobs, one after the other!

  3. fig says:

    This discussion seems to argue that Gov Ricketts has influence over a watchdog blog and that may have caused Joe Jordan to be squeezed out of local journalism like an orange pip because his honor is not subject to such prurient ambitions as that of others.

    Publisher Ben Franklin wasn’t an impoverished saint. Pres. Geo. Washington was the richest man in America. William Jennings Bryan was working for the Omaha World Herald when he decided to run for President. Rich people owing media is as old as cave paintings and political ambition even older. We don’t need to overthink this one.

    People with money own the media because people without money don’t.

    Nebraska has the richest billionaire Democrat in America owning Omaha’s monopoly newspaper. On the other side is GOP Gov. Pete Ricketts who has 1/50th the millions his dad Joe Ricketts has, and Joe Ricketts has 1/50th the billions that Buffett has. Buffett’s own father was in Congress and Buffett himself could have run for NE governor, and Buffett’s grandson probably will. Money is power and power is money and those few own the cave walls on which the paintings are made.

    As for Joe, anyone who takes a job in a Congressional office has a fire in the belly for more than just reporting news. Joe isn’t running for NDP chairman. He has his toe in DC water. He may find it too chilly or hot or tepid. He may opt for the sidelines in DC or return here. But it is ambition driving his move. Joe is going there for Joe.

  4. Dave Fall says:

    Appreciate both. Love Ashford. Both very talented. Both definitely independent. What will happen to my dear friend Deena?

  5. Political Junky says:

    Interestingly enough, the last story written by Jordan on the Nebraska Watchdog website was from March 24th. I wonder how long this has been in the works/he’s been gone.

  6. Mr. Snarky says:

    “Going to work” for Brad Ashford? He’s been working for Ashford for over a year because he wanted to destroy Lee Terry. He did his best to make sure Frye won the Republicrat primary ensuring an Ashford win. Joe will be happier now as an un-closeted liberal operative.

  7. Gotcha? says:

    For those who think Jordan “got” Terry, I think one has to merely look at the video tape and ask themselves who really got who. Terry wasn’t exactly popular within the GOP. Moreover, his responses to questions asked were poor at best and cost him dearly.

    Do I think Jordan leans left? Sure. Does that make the questions he asked less worthy? No. It is all about the answers and reactions to those questions that make the measure of a politico.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Terry was a lousy candidate and has been a lousy candidate when he started to take for granted the people he served. Don’t blame the messenger for merely reporting the obvious for years.

  9. Joe's new job is safe says:

    At present, you have Chip Maxwell, and Don Baker running for Congress. Joe’s new job is in no danger.

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