In the year’s most “Inside Baseball” story, Erik Wemple of The Washington Post claimed that the popular D.C. “Playbook” email newsletter published by Mike Allen of Politico basically amounts to a bunch of reprinted press releases.
Want your business to earn positive press in a thread read by thousands of political insiders? No problem—just fork up $35,000 to spend a week sponsoring the newsletter and Allen will make sure to mention you in a completely uncritical way. He might even bring your name up later in order to highlight your own publicity campaigns and link to your PSA-style videos because he’s such a nice guy.
This isn’t a completely new story, BTW: back in 2010 this blog reported on the ease with which one may be featured in the site’s fluffier “Click” section.
When Wemple’s report surfaced, Politico CEO John VandeHei called it “nonsense”—and Howard Kurtz gave editor-in-chief John Harris an opportunity to elaborate on that statement on his Fox News show this week.
Harris’ defense was a bit…garbled.