DC's Most Influential Reporter Cannot Name a Single Hobby On the Record

There are two ways to tackle the Mark Leibovich profile of his old friend Mike "Morning-Winner" Allen, and the Politico celebrity tabloid that Allen composes a newsletter for: how Politico hurts America and how weird Mike Allen is.

Allen is a universally beloved mensch who is so sloppy, like an old-timey reporter. So charming! Everyone loves him! He has gifts for all and he is so kind to everyone!

He also doesn't ever let anyone see his home, and he refuses to talk about his father, who, it turns out, was a crazy far-right John Birch pamphleteer. He speaks like a politician, in meaningless talking points and self-aggrandizing (but humble!) platitudes. His bosses, friends, colleagues—they are all slightly condescending in their praise of Allen and the fatherly approach they take to making sure he fills out his expenses and cleans up his desk.

Like, this isn't normal, or healthy:

In a recent phone call, I asked Allen what his hobbies were. He paused, went off the record and then came back with an unrevealing sound bite. "I'm a well-rounded person," he said, "who is interested in the community, interested in family, interested in sports, interested in the arts, interested in restaurants."

What kind of man goes off the record to describe his hobbies, then comes back with the most meaningless canned response ever? Jesus.

Still! What's more important than the fact that a prominent Washington reporter is sort of a weirdo? Literally everything. But specifically the bits about how Politico has infected the Washington press corps like a virus. The Politico model—act intentionally as a conduit for the public messaging maneuvers of the worst political actors, throw shit against the wall and see what sticks—is making the country more and more ungovernable and broken every minute of every day.

(Ken Layne has already plucked out the paragraph that shows precisely how this works.)

Mark Salter—the guy who invented and sold the John McCain myth and then watched the man fail to live up to it—says "they have taken every worst trend in reporting, every single one of them, and put them on rocket fuel." David Axelrod says he wishes he was back in Chicago, because "I prefer living in a place where people don't discuss the Politico over dinner...."

"Playbook is D.C.'s Facebook," says Politico executive editor Jim VandeHei.

Ugh!

Anyway: Politico hurts America, Mike Allen is weird. The end. Here is a cat:

DC's Most Influential Reporter Cannot Name a Single Hobby On the Record