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Politico’s Tightly Controlled Allbritton Brunch Message

Dominating the world takes skill, thought, finesse, lots of meetings — and not letting hardly anyone in to cover your brunch except for your own reporters. And even then, you don’t let many of your own reporters attend.

Politico’s publisher Robert Allbritton held a brunch for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner this year for the the first time on Sunday at his gorgeous, multi-million dollar Georgetown home. PR strictness was at an all-time high: The only one to really officially cover it was Politico with their own Patrick Gavin and Amie Parnes. The piece read like an upper crust, high society report. Not surprisingly, it was descriptive, tasteful and void of any of the typical musings party coverage might have. The story headline: “Allbritton Brunch: The New Party in Town.”

Some Politico reporters expressed irritation that even they couldn’t get into the exclusive brunch. FishbowlDC was told that Allbritton’s wife, Elena, held complete control over the guest list, but that does not appear to be the case.

Noteworthy is the fact that NYT Magazine’s Mark Leibovich, who recently wrote an 11-page tome on one of Politico’s stars, Mike Allen, attended the brunch. WaPo’s Amy Argetsinger, who co-writes “The Reliable Source”, was invited to Allbritton’s brunch, but did not attend. “Once you get past the Big Event of Saturday, there’s an element of diminishing returns in all these follow-up events, reporting-wise,” Argetsinger told FishbowlDC. “I would have loved to have seen the house, but I had a TV spot in the a.m. (which got canceled by the car bomb), and then had to spend the day in the office writing the column. So I skipped all the Sunday parties.”

The Washington Examiner’s Tara Palmeri was not invited, but got into the event because she accompanied The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove. Rumors of NYP‘s Page Six attending had swirled, but nothing turned up in the column today. Even Grove has not published anything yet on the Allbritton brunch, and if it doesn’t happen in the next few days, it won’t likely happen. He did see to it to report on PR maven Tammy Haddad’s Saturday “Garden Party.”

Palmeri’s item on the Allbritton brunch was the only one that revealed any personality whatsoever going on at the brunch — it was on the bickering between ABC’s Jake Tapper and FNC’s Chris Wallace over a late guest they both had on their Sunday morning shows. Read it here.

This photograph below reveals a possible press strategy for next year’s Allbritton brunch. They could do what Haddad did at her “Garden Party” and cordon off the press in a pen for maximum party message control.

Then again, that might take away from the dignity of the party.

Full Disclosure: FishbowlDC requested to attend the party but was turned down.

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