NYT‘s Mike Allen Profile Elicits Inside-the-Beltway Sniping


If  Politico’s Mike Allen is the “most popular boy” after a glowing profile by Mark Leibovich in the New York Times Magazine hit the virtual street today, then the reaction to the piece by inside-the-beltway journalists represents the reaction of the AV club and, well, the yearbook staff: we hate him.

Kevin Drum of  Mother Jones typified the reaction, saying Allen’s Playbook represents the “groupthink” that already permeates Washington’s cool-kids set, adding “[f]or years I’ve avoided reading Playbook (and The Note and First Read) solely because everyone else does read them.”

Allen, who has successfully avoided ideological labels, was  largely hit by left-leaning journalists and pundits who view his success as evidence of too much ambition and desire for celebrity.  Sarah Posner, who is a contributor at the American Prospect and an editor for Religion Dispatches, tweeted:  “If Times felt need to profile how journalist works, I would’ve been interested in different people — ones who wouldn’t’ve wanted a profile.”

But the criticism wasn’t just on the left.  Mark Hemingway at the conservative Washington Examiner noted Leibovich’s lengthy disclosure that Leibovich and Allen go way back, titling his critique “Great moments in media sycophancy.”

While some questioned how many would actually read the whole thing, Jason Linkins at the Huffington Post did the heavy lifting, surmising “the fecund womb of the New York Times magazine has birthed into the world Mark Leibovich’s seventy-kabillion word essay on Politico’s Mike Allen, which I think is titled “I Was Told There’d Be Cheap Media Narratives” or something.”

And where would Politico be if it wasn’t providing some meta-commentary on the story about Politico. Patrick Gavin gushes that the profile is “interesting,” “well-written” and “honest.” He later noted a classic reaction from an unnamed Washington Post rival, “WaPo loses the morning? Big buzz on a profile (in an old Post rival) by a former Post star about another former Post star, who now stars for a new Post rival, started by former Posties.” His colleague Ben Smith calls Allen’s Playbook “an unusual phenomenon” because “it’s so collegial, warm, and small-towny in a city whose inhabitants are, in reality, trying to destroy one another.”

One of the best reactions came from Christopher Weaver, of the Kaiser Health Reports, who tweeted: “How many scoops weren’t revealed today b/c reporters were busy reading the new Mike Allen profile?”

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