not actually winning the morning

EXPLOSIVE ARTICLE ABOUT POLITICAL WEBSITE/PAPER TO ROCK INTERNET’S FOUNDATIONS

Win the Morning, in tights!
We’re going to admit something here, before the New York Times Magazine news article about Washington webzine sweatshop “The Politico” changes the very nature of Time/Space: We do not read Mike Allen’s daily email, and we don’t look at the Politico unless we absolutely have to — like, say, when a hundred readers keep sending the same link every two minutes, which is an Important Bat Signal for certain editors who lack the masochistic streak necessary for actually looking at political blogs.

So when we glanced at this hysterical single-paragraph excerpt from the NYT last night, we wondered, “Is this the same dumb collection of wire story ledes and birthday announcements and inconsequential chatter we saw, those few times we opened the Mike Allen email?”

Before he goes to sleep, between 11 and midnight, Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, typically checks in by e-mail with the same reporter: Mike Allen of Politico, who is also the first reporter Pfeiffer corresponds with after he wakes up at 4:20. A hyperactive former Eagle Scout, Allen will have been up for hours, if he ever went to bed. Whether or not he did is one of the many little mysteries that surround him. The abiding certainty about Allen is that sometime between 5:30 and 8:30 a.m., seven days a week, he hits ‘send’ on a mass e-mail newsletter that some of America’s most influential people will read before they say a word to their spouses.

So we dug up yesterday’s Politico email from the gmail trash, deleted unread like so many mass-mailed things that clog the Wonkette tips box, and we opened it.

The items, in order from top to bottom:

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  • A cut-and-paste paragraph from a Reuters bulletin about Goldman Sachs’ earnings, which the bank announced in a press release.
  • A cut-and-paste paragraph from a Chicago Tribune story summarizing Rahm Emanuel’s appearance on a nationally broadcast interview program from the night before.
  • An idiotic, unfunny joke about the SEC made by Joe Scarborough, the television host, on his cable news program, also available to anyone with basic cable.
  • Cut-and-pasted text from and a link to Politico’s article from the previous day, already widely reported at this point, about former Obama Administration counsel Gregory Craig advising Goldman Sachs.
  • A one-line addendum noting that the Politico reporter who wrote the article saw Gregory Craig at the Capitol, presumably working for clients.
  • Mention/link of a Bloomberg article about states continuing to issue muni bonds through Goldman Sachs.
  • Mention/link to New York tabloids, both of which have dull stories about Obama and his relations with Wall Street and Mayor Bloomberg.
  • A cut-and-paste paragraph from a Politico op-ed by someone who works for Al Gore’s climate-change group.
  • A text ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, opposing climate-change legislation.
  • Six more pasted Rahm Emanuel quotes, from the Charlie Rose Show transcript.
  • A link to a chart in the Los Angeles Times.
  • Quote from a USA Today article.
  • Names and ages of three people in Washington with a birthday, along with thanks to emailers for sending these birthday announcements to the Politico.
  • A quote from an article about insurance oversight.
  • Cut-and-pasted bits about President Obama’s fund-raising trip to California, from Bloomberg, AP, Reuters, the LA Times and the pool report.
  • A link without explanation to an image of the USA Today newspaper.
  • Quotes from a Bloomberg article about Goldman Sachs, an AP story about some Republicans voted out of Congress in 2006, and something from the Politico about Eric Cantor.
  • Another text ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, opposing climate-change legislation.

There is nothing in this banal pile of links and quoted text that wasn’t all over the Internet before Mike Allen so bravely “hit send.” The Gregory Craig story counts (in Washington) as a “scoop,” in which an expected thing happens, involving the expected people — but that was floating around both the Politico’s website and the political blogs for twelve hours before it made it to Mike Allen’s famous email forward.

Even lazy-ass Jim Newell, who writes comedy for Wonkette, posted his version of the Gregory Craig/Goldman story a whole 10 hours before the magic Playbook email went out to a loathsome group of Beltway people who so hate their spouses that they need to scan Mike Allen’s Best of the Web links before saying “Good morning” or “Let’s get a divorce.”

There is much to dislike about the Politico and its newsroom culture of pointless trivia and breathtaking lack of perspective, but pretending Mike Allen’s dumb email is anything more than links to the same shit everybody’s already reading is just bizarre. Why is the White House communications director talking to Mike Allen in the night? Is his wifi broken? Is he just lonely?

A Little Preview on NYT’s Piece on Politico’s Allen: ‘The Insider’s Insider’ [Fishbowl DC]
Actual News Article About Politico [New York Times]

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About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

View all articles by Ken Layne

Hola wonkerados.

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59 comments

  1. Litlebritdifrnt

    Anyone who follows Politico on twitter can attest that they are a good three or four hours behind everyone else when it comes to “breaking” news so this should come as no surprise. For my money Aunty Beeb always scoops EVERYONE. (i.e., they had the Michelle Obama visits Haiti story up for a good hour before anyone else). And Mike Allen looks like a weasle. Also. Too.

  2. Texan Bulldoggette

    “Even lazy-ass Jim Newell … posted his version of the Gregory Craig/Goldman story a whole 10 hours before the magic Playbook email went out…”. So does that mean Wonkette won the day?

    I hate Politico & Mike Allen & Jon Martin. The only halfway decent dude over there is Ben Smith & I only despise him. He has an annoying tendency to post all of Snowbilly’s FB rants like they are the fucking gospel. Same with Mike Allen & Cheney’s crap. No wonder people take Jon Stewart more seriously than the Politico.

  3. I Heart Accuracy

    I dumped their RSS feed during the primary. Didn’t realize the possibility of Pfeiffer-on-Allen gayness.

  4. Parole Officer Burke

    Shorter: Instead of alienating their spouses by reading a one-page USAToday summary every morning, powerful people should just read Wonkette every day, for profits.

    Also, Ken is deeply jealous of Pfeiffer’s intimate calls in the nighttime.

  5. Sussemilch

    Just because someone gets something in their inbox doesn’t mean they read it. If we did, Viagra would be part of the food pyramid by now.

  6. freakishlystrong

    Mike Allen also scoops himself on the repugnant Doucheborough,
    rightwing, hackapalooza, Mornin’ Mika!

  7. rikitikitavi

    Dan Pfeiffer gets up at 4:20 every morning? Nice time for a little wake ‘n’ bake!

  8. bureaucrap

    Perhaps insiders check it because the first letter of each story, when read vertically, comprises a dirty word.

  9. Terry

    You know, these guys bragging about getting 4.5 hrs of sleep or less a night really doesn’t impress me. Tired people make mistakes. I’d prefer that White House staff, heck anyone with a stressful or critical job, give up sending a few mass emails and get a proper night’s sleep. Be in good shape and do a good job, rather than acting like a sloppy frickin iron man

  10. doxastic

    BREAKING! Incoherent jumble of stale, undifferentiated, decontextualized snippets only distinguished from plagiarism by inclusion of source sent notably early the day after they were relevant! MUST CREDIT MIKE ALLEN

  11. charlesdegoal

    They don’t sleep. They’re hyperactive, but end up doing pointless stuff. The obvious reason: cocaine. Whether they’re snorting, fixing or huffing and puffing, they should stop right now or STFU.

  12. thesheriffisnear

    [re=560987]Litlebritdifrnt[/re]: And Mike Allen looks like a weasle. Also. Too.

    “A hyperactive former Eagle Scout…”

    Actually, Mike looks very much like one of those stereotypical “Boy Scout Leaders” if you can infer from my insinuation?!?!?

  13. loquaciousmusic

    There are certain things that “win” my morning on a regular basis — morning coffee, “Mornin’” by Al Jarreau, morning glories, “Morning Edition,” morning wood — but Politico doesn’t even crack the top 100. Ever.

  14. Litlebritdifrnt

    [re=561001]thesheriffisnear[/re]:

    Yeah that too. Maybe he flunked out of the seminary.

  15. Gorillionaire

    Whenever I have to hear someone from The Politico on the radio on Diane Rhem’s show, I press my forehead onto the car horn and hold it down until the dumbass just shuts up.

  16. Buzz Feedback

    All of these fart-knockers deserve each other. I’m joining the Tea Party. For diversity’s sake.

  17. germansteel

    The first place I go to in the morning is Wonkette. Even their lazy, druggie/boozer editors – who never go anywhere – have more interesting and relevant links to “something I read somewhere” news than those lame brains at Politico.

  18. PsycGirl

    [re=560998]Terry[/re]: Amen brother.
    But then sleep deprivation interferes with reading comprehension, so you’re more likely to mumble “yeah, ok whatever” and hit send. Wouldn’t want to get in the way of that.

  19. Katydid

    In the next graf, Mark Leibovich waxes eloquent about how he can see himself in Allen’s silky smooth bald pate, jizz-buffed to a mirror-like shine each morning by the milk of Pfeiffer’s pre-dawn manly offerings.

  20. Redhead

    Aren’t many of the people who read Politico older, just barely competent with the computer, completely unaware that you can put quotes around search items in google or do other neat tricks like that… basically the people who (still) use aol, even though they now have dial up, and just love to log on, hear “you have mail!” and then get a list of everything they should have read 2 days ago, with handy links so they don’t have to go search it out on their own?

    Not to mention, this just screams “whoops, bad copy editor, you forgot to put ADVERTORIAL at the top of this!”

  21. V572625694

    Politico has the same problem as its predecessor blog, the “Washington Post” web site: it’s just too fucking beautiful. The graphics are so pleasing in color, layout and typography that they distract from the rich, well-reported content.

  22. JMP

    Since almost all of their actual reporters have jumped ship, linking to old stories is about all the Politico is good for these days. Not that it was ever good for much in the first place.

  23. Manos: Hands of Fate

    The biggest problem with Politico is that they are like going on date with someone who gets very nervous by periods of silence. To fill in the conversation gaps, they end up saying inane or inappropriate shit that only makes everybody uncomfortable. So much of Politico stuff is garbage because they view successful journalism as the equivalent of verbal diarrhea — continually sending out stupid links or writing articles about a potential draft Rick Perry for President movement or is “Obama lying about liking Basketball”.

  24. thesheriffisnear

    [re=561012]Katydid[/re]: Should you opt for a mid-life occupation change consider the financially-rewarding homo-erotica, pulp-publishing field. If Bill-o can score with “Those who Trespass” you’re a sure-fire bestseller.

  25. Cape Clod

    Let’s face it. Politico’s highwater mark was hosting the first Republican debate in front of Reagan’s old airplane. Fittingly, they seem to be slowly succumbing to the steady decline of journalistic dementia.

  26. Rosalindavenue

    I could live with the not-so-good content on Politico if the commenters were any good– but they are awful. By far the worst on the interwebs. The worst ones (most of them) usually list their “party” as “Independent” before launching a tirade of Joe the Plumber and Palin talking points. The Politico commenters make the “megadittoes” Rush callers sound like Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.

  27. norbizness

    We should time-transport a Founding Father to the 21st century to read this story; we’ll see how the First Amendment (at least as regards the press) fares in the alternate timeline.

  28. coolcatdaddy

    “The abiding certainty about Allen is that sometime between 5:30 and 8:30 a.m., seven days a week, he hits ‘send’ on a mass e-mail newsletter that some of America’s most influential people will read before they say a word to their spouses.”

    That’s like saying these people read emails selling Viagra and Cialis first thing in the morning before talking to their wives. Come to think of it, they probably do…

  29. Katydid

    [re=561024]thesheriffisnear[/re]: What makes you think I don’t already do that? ;)

    [re=561022]I Heart Accuracy[/re]: I’m sorry. :(

  30. weejee

    [re=561007]weejee[/re]: Oh, and Michelle is Michelle Jones a buffalo wing sous chef at Clyde’s.

  31. Katydid

    [re=561037]Katydid[/re]: Hey! I didn’t want real emoticons! Lame, Wonkette.

    Plus, sheriff, I think I need to become more subtle.

  32. ella

    That stuff would have been news only to people who don’t understand tabs or feeds or twitter or even how to click around for information. They’re probably still using IE 6. Also.

  33. Way Cool Larry

    Is Mile Allen a hyperactive jr high school politics geek? Seriously, what adult could possibly get so excited about Wash DC minutiae?

  34. thesheriffisnear

    [re=561053]Katydid[/re]: That I thought John Leguizamo was sexy in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar, is irrelevant. I’m not liking the inference of your insinuation.

  35. bitchincamaro

    [re=560998]Terry[/re]: For real. Spend some quality time on the can instead of randomly spewing throughout the rest of your day.

  36. Jennasaurus Rex

    [re=561028]Rosalindavenue[/re]: I have relatives who freak the fuck out when I insinuate that they’re Republican, assert “I’m independent!!!” and then proceed to tell me all about the socialized Nobama care and teh ghey marriage and the family values and the baby Jesus being super bummed out by the (lack of) moral fiber in our depraved faggy country. Good times.

  37. norbizness

    [re=561094]Jennasaurus Rex[/re]: I myself am conducting a Facebook experiment today, having posted a link to the Nevada “Chickens for Complex Surgery” GOP candidate with the tag “I’m sorry I ever said Republicans have no health care ideas.” I will let everyone know how many “friends” I “lost” by the end of the day.

  38. Jim89048

    Since I’m unemployed and live in the Pacific timezone, all the cool shit happens while I’m asleep anyway so it doesn’t matter which blarg I read. This one suits my twisted sensibilities.
    [re=561108]norbizness[/re]: Tell me more!

  39. JMP

    [re=561108]norbizness[/re]: I love that everyone gave her the benefit of the doubt and thought she meant “bargain” and misspoke, since that would be dumb but plausible; but no, it turns out she really is insane enough that she meant people should barter, and went on to repeat the jokes of everyone mocking her, but seriously.

  40. sanantonerose

    The abiding certainty about Allen is that sometime between 5:30 and 8:30 a.m., seven days a week, he hits ‘send’ on a mass e-mail newsletter that some of America’s most influential people will read before they say a word to their spouses.

    I know with abiding certainty that if my spouse were getting up before me reading Allen’s dribble I would divorce him and make him keep the cats.

  41. JimSmith

    Mike Allen is not some pure boy scout – he is a weasel. Weasel behavior and breaking his word is why Mike Allen got banned from Bill Bradley’s Press Bus back in ’99-2000. But somehow tidbits like that did not make it into the NYT article.

    And Allen totally favors the right over the left – his gleeful sucking up to the Bush-Cheney administration during their term made a mockery of “objective journalism”. He was one of their primary water-carriers.

  42. P Drizzle

    “…the first reporter Pfeiffer corresponds with after he wakes up at 4:20.”

    Does this mean Mike Allen also wakes (and bakes) at 4:20 every day, cause that would, like, explain why he’s so late with all his shit, dude. I mean, totally.

  43. Berkeley Bear

    [re=561292]JimSmith[/re]: You seem to think achievement in scouting is the same thing as being pure. As an Eagle, let me be clear – being a weasel makes navigating the political aspects of the process a lot easier. Being a complete spastic rules nerd (like me) doesn’t hurt in achieving Eagle rank, either – and if you are a nerd/weasel hybrid like Senor Allen you are in like Flynn.

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