In today’s Note, former Postie Mike Allen’s TIME mag debut is treated to a well-lubricated hummer. Allen’s piece is a typically newsmag breathless account of “inside the Bush plan” to rally post-Katrina; it depicts the White House and its allies as aware of their initial stumbles and worried about the President’s management. The Note dubs the clip “the most important reporting of the cycle,” and “indescribably delicious.” Actually, it’s stuffed to the gills with blind quotes. The sources of the griping are:
• one of [Bush's] most trusted confidants
• a key adviser
• a friend who chatted with [Bush] one evening in July
• a former aide
• A youngish aide who is a Bush favorite
• a lobbyist who is tight with the Administration
• someone familiar with the presentation
• an official who helped develop the strategy
• a friend [who] asked in frustration a dozen days after Katrina hit
Man, is “a source close to the President who was recently treated for kidney stones” ever going to be pissed. There is a single fresh, sourced quote in the entire piece, and it goes to Bush counselor Dan Bartlett. You will be shocked to hear that has faith in the President. Look, we don’t have a problem with blind quotes in general, but you shoe-horn that many in one story and it starts to sound like Page Six. As for the Note’s enthusiastic blow job, well, Mike is awfully cute, but maybe the slobbering is to cover up how those sniping quotes, blind or not, torpedo their repeated (if hedging) predictions that the WH would escape its Katrina fumbles unscathed.
RELATED: DECODING THE NOTE, an occasional series: The title of today’s Note references yesterday’s WH pool report’s music trivia tidbit: Poolers slept in luxury buses and “The men’s bus is fresh off The Anger Management Tour, which had featured Fifty Cent and Eminem. Es Verdad.” Don’t you feel like an insider now?