The “gotcha” part of the NYT “takedown” of Politico/Mike Allen is so pathetic, we feel bad for Mike Allen. Turns out his dad, who died a quarter-century ago, was a wingnut who wrote John Birch crap and was suspicious of government! Sort of like EVERY OTHER DAD IN ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA. Conversely, Mike Allen enjoys writing about Washington power structures, and knowing the people involved. Outrage? Anyway, that’s the “takedown” that explains this earlier bit (page three? page seven?) about Mike Allen being creepy/private.
Yet even Allen’s supposed confidants say that there is a part of Mikey they will never know or even ask about. He is obsessively private. He has given different dates to different friends for the date of his birthday. I asked three of Allen’s close friends if they knew what his father did. One said “teacher,” another said “football coach” and the third said “newspaper columnist.” A 2000 profile of Allen in The Columbia Journalism Review described his late father as an “investor.”
It is almost impossible to find anyone who has seen his home (a rented apartment, short walk to the office). “Never seen the apartment,” volunteered Robert L. Allbritton, Politico’s publisher, mid-interview. “No man’s land.” When sharing a cab, Allen is said to insist that the other party be dropped off first. One friend describes driving Allen home and having him get out at a corner; in the rearview mirror, the friend saw him hail a cab and set off in another direction. I’ve heard more than one instance of people who sent holiday cards to Allen’s presumed address only to have them returned unopened.
BREAKING: Obsessive reporter is kind of weird, but also nice to people, and is proud to work for douche-y D.C. publication. Meh. Congrats, NYT Magazine and friend-of-Mike-Allen reporter, for writing some 11-page dingbat personality profile instead of an actual news article about the corrosive garbage farted out by the Politico. Good use of that “long form journalistic feature writing” seminar, mysterious anecdote at the 1/3 mark, shocking revelation/sad denouement to close the article. [New York Times]