Before Tim Mak, before Jason Koebler -there was Ben Pershing. WaPo‘s Pershing was the one who kicked off the whole Roscoe Bartlett craze back in August of 2012 with his piece, “The survivalist: Roscoe Bartlett prepares for a threatened future.” For those keeping count, that’s three profiles in major DC pubs for the octogenarian from Western Maryland. Pershing didn’t actually score an interview with the Congressman for the story -Bartlett declined a one on one -but he was the first print journalist to highlight the now-famous cabin in the woods and the Congressman’s penchant for preparing for worst-case scenarios. But even Pershing wasn’t the first-first. Bartlett had already made appearances in two documentaries, Urban Danger and America’s Cities about the vulnerability of American cities to catastrophic events.
A lot happened between August 2012 and September 2013, when Mak’s piece came out. Bartlett lost re-election and moved to West Virginia full time. Thus one could argue that it was time for an update on how ole’ Roscoe was doing. Mak’s piece for the Washington Examiner filled that niche. Koebler’s profile for Politico Mag, however, still seems gratuitous.