The rodent called @PoliticoMouse died last week of unnatural causes after Editor-in-Chief John Harris insisted that all fake Twitter accounts within Politico cease. Authorities suspect foul play. Tragically, both his gmail and Twitter accounts have been expunged as if he never existed. He was one month old.
People may think @PoliticoMouse was a joke or just a stupid rodent that travailed the carpets and crevices of Politico‘s Arlington, Va. newsroom searching for crumbs underneath Mike Allen‘s desk. Or the animal that waited patiently at the waffle station in Executive Editor Jim VandeHei‘s office. Read the only interview the mouse ever gave here.
But he was so much more.
The mouse cut a brash figure and held his own against NYT‘s own rodent representative, @nyt_mouse, who still has the freedom to live and comments up a storm. @PoliticoMouse, presumed to be male (because he said he was “more Mickey than Minnie”) represented a wake-up call for management, an uprising within the ranks when the real mice problem struck last month and management reacted lazily until reporters set out on Twitter to complain. Make no mistake: the mouse was a clear insistence by employees that the real rodent problem be addressed by Allbritton management. They called in professionals and the problem was resolved. But the mouse prevailed as a symbolic figure that Politico employees want to have rights about what happens in their newsroom.
One Politico reporter remarked, “PoliticoMouse was cute, harmless fun while it lasted. I think the Politico brass was more concerned about FakeJimVandeHei — which, while funny, has gotten a little over the top. Though it doesn’t look like it’s someone on our staff at this point.” Another added, “John Harris promised that the cavalry was on its way. And it came — into the night with ACME-style mouse traps. I’ve heard of no sightings since.”
On a personal note, FishbowlDC will miss sporadic chats about the most fruitful parts of the newsroom at meal times. For the record, the mouse was as loyal as can be and met deadlines like a pro — a Politico Pro one might say. Word has it the author hailed from that part of the newsroom. When hinted what fun it would be if he were to become a “fly on the wall” figure, he replied flatly, “I am a mouse, not a mole.”
Eerily, @PoliticoMouse joked often that he was going to be exterminated, but we don’t think he ever expected it to be so sudden. The mouse will be sorely missed.
A moment of silence will be observed at 2 p.m.