On Wednesday, the higher-ups at Politico will meet with the Washington Post over its critical coverage of Mike Allen's influential, but allegedly corrupt, Playbook newsletter. Today, the Post fired another hard left-hook at Allen's face.
Early Tuesday afternoon The Huffington Post's Michael Calderone reported Politico's top bosses, editor-in-chief John Harris and chief executive Jim VandeHei, booked a meeting with Washington Post editorial page editor editorial page editor Fred Hiatt and media critic Erik Wemple, who really is the reason for the meeting. The plan is to discuss Wemple's relentless coverage of the guy who covers Wall Street like the useless, clinging dew: Mike Allen.
In the past, Wemple has accused Allen of taking payola from special interest groups who advertise in his weekly newsletter, Playbook, so they may later receive adoring mentions in that newsletter. This is a serious allegation. Paying for favorable coverage is against every basic ethical rule in journalism. Allen sends Playbook out every Sunday to a long list of powerful D.C. types, journalists and also dedicated Politico readers.
But a fresh batch of evidence showing a too-cozy relationship with Roger Ailes should provide plenty of fuel for conversation. Today, Wemple outlined a pattern of back-patting coverage given to the Fox News head honcho and his band of misfit toys within Playbook's pixels, everything from extended birthday wishes to trumped up Presidential aspirations. Wemple's report shows a long history of favorable coverage given to Ailes and Fox News during times when the rest of the world focused on usually more interesting, negative details about Ailes' life.
For instance, this weekend's Playbook had some of the softest coverage seen yet from Gabriel Sherman's The Loudest Voice in the Room, the forthcoming book about Ailes' rise within Fox News. Last week a portion of the book excerpted in New York disclosed Ailes' fear that liberal attack teams will siege his house. Politico's report did not mention any liberal attack teams.
We feel confident guessing this meeting won't go well. But to be a fly on the wall while it goes down, well, we'd pay just about anything for that privilege.