sure go after the guy's dead father

NYT Magazine: Is Mike Allen Weird Because His Dad Was a Bircher?

Weird news-cycle man is weird.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]

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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.

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41 comments

  1. Moonbatting_Average

    “He was a nice man, a little odd, kept to himself, paid rent on time… I just can’t believe he would do those things!”

  2. Katydid

    Sorry, the NYT is not a Google blog. In this case “obsessively private” about his father = liar, and the bit about no one seeing his home = something to hide.

    God, am I a bitch.

  3. ManchuCandidate

    Perhaps more about the RW funders? Or it’s concern trolling articles?

    Nothing? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

    Looks like the Old Grey Lady’s gone retarded.

  4. Texan Bulldoggette

    Hmmmm…add pathological liar to the list of his charming attributes. Who the fuck lies about their birthday? And the fact that he doesn’t let anyone into his apt. means he is a serial killer, a hoarder or has Asian/Russian sex slaves tied up in there.

  5. JMP

    So Allen’s sitting in his nowhere land, making all his nowhere plans for nobody.
    Mike Allen, please listen, you don’t know what you’re missin’.

  6. doxastic

    So, basically the NYT profile is what POLITICO would be like if they wrote stories that are too long rather than too short.

  7. SayItWithWookies

    Hmmm…dad was a Bircher, so I’m guessing he was crazy and into corporal punishment. Mike Allen is an intensely private workaholic — so I’m guessing self-flagellation is probably his big kink. The privacy thing is weird, but not unheard-of among functioning adults, especially those with crazy child-beating parents.

  8. Buzz Feedback

    I think his father is Jesse Helms. With the right glasses, he’s the dead-spit of the old hater.

  9. norbizness

    Well, at least they’re a shoo-in for the 2010 Anticlimax Pulitzer. In any event, maybe this can be a learning experience for the Wonkette editors, like when Otto the Bus Driver gulped a smart drink at a dance club…

    Otto: Hey, Mrs. Simpson! You should try one of these “Smart Drinks.” [laughs and drinks it] Ooh, wow… I’ve wasted my life!

  10. Decker

    NYTM – Get back to us when you crack the location of the Wincave and find the fridge full of chopped up Boy Scouts.

  11. Smoke Filled Roommate

    [re=561186]penalcolony[/re]: Haha– Say “No!” to the New World Order. Good lord.

  12. gurukalehuru

    Hey, Karl Rove’s daddy had a pierced testicle, but we don’t go on and on about that.

  13. 4tehlulz

    In sum, Mike Allen is lying tumor that is killing American democracy.

    But I already knew that.

  14. TexasSecessionist

    I met Mike Allen a few months ago, at the Politico offices. You should see his cubicle, an overwhelming, tumbling, cascading mess of 1000s pages of documents, reports, journalistic tomes. It would take 10 teenagers to achieve what he has accomplished. Clearly underneath it all is his origin point, the small lead box that contains the Truth of him. He buries it, piles a life’s work on top it, crowding himself into a tiny corner and a single course of action. But… when the custodian cleans it all up what will happen?

  15. Ducksworthy

    Father died of a liver ailment at age 50, in 1987. So either alcohol or AIDS. Neither of which suggest a wholesome childhood for your young mikey.

  16. McDuff

    won’t talk about himself or his father, but constantily declares “my mother was a saint.”

  17. Extemporanus

    “It was always easy for me. I was born a rich Birch child. I remember the days, sittin’ on the balcony with my family’s hired help, singin’ and dancin’ down in Monarch Beach.”

  18. Mr Blifil

    [re=561186]penalcolony[/re]: He also wrote speeches for former Gov. George Wallace of Alabama during Mr. Wallace’s Presidential campaigns

    He was, one might say, a wingnut’s wingnut. Had to respect Wallace a little though, he never flounced around with signs pretending it wasn’t about color.

  19. problemwithcaring

    [re=561315]Ducksworthy[/re]: Seriously fucked up childhood. Why did he lie and say he never read anything his father wrote?

  20. Katydid

    [re=561329]Mr Blifil[/re]: From Wikipedia: Mr. Allen’s most popular book, ”None Dare Call It Conspiracy” published in 1971, expounded the conservative theory that international banking and politics control domestic decisions, taking them out of elected officials’ hands.

    “International banking” – code for Joos, although I guess the Birchers were/are anti-Semites, hell, what aren’t they anti?

  21. Smoke Filled Roommate

    Nobody knows the exact address of Mr. Mikey’s Politicave except specially appointed Eagle Scouts and Boylovers.

  22. WonderWomyn

    I heard from a “source” that he used to work for the NYtimes –shouldn’t they have mentioned that? Maybe they wrote a nice article since he knows some people there… possibly?

  23. zhubajie

    [re=561329]Mr Blifil[/re]: And eventually Wallace realized that “n*ggers are just people too.”

Comments are closed.