Politico’s Editor-in-Chief John Harris and Executive Editor Jim VandeHei recently sat down with The New Republic’s senior editor Isaac Chotiner for a two-hour interview. They talked about Politico’s role as an insidery conversation driver, about market corrections in politics (as in the flame outs of Sarah Palin, Herman Cain) and who on Capitol Hill is savvy when it comes to the media (not many, says VandeHei).
It seemed like a pretty ho-hum if not overly positive interview, at least until Chotiner brought up the charge that some women find Politico a difficult place to work. Harris responds rather matter of factly and tosses in a little deflection. He tells TNR that in the beginning, Politico was a startup and it was a difficult place for everyone to work, not just women. If that sounds like a PR-crafted soundbite, it just might be because VandeHei says sort of the same thing, just not so tactfully and with an obvious air of being on the defense. “Wait a second,” he says to Chotiner. “I want to add to what John said. I find this critique both offensive and wrong.”
From there, things went downhill. What was that about who has media savvy and who doesn’t?