From this coming Sunday's both flattering and on another level devastatingly, witheringly mean New York Times magazine profile of Politico "Playbook" reporter Mike Allen:
On a recent Friday night, a couple hundred influentials gathered for a Mardi Gras-themed birthday party for Betsy Fischer, the executive producer of "Meet the Press." Held at the Washington home of the lobbyist Jack Quinn, the party was a classic Suck-Up City affair in which everyone seemed to be congratulating one another on some recent story, book deal, show or haircut (and, by the way, your boss is doing a swell job, and maybe we could do an interview).
McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, arrived after the former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie left. Fox News's Greta Van Susteren had David Axelrod pinned into a corner near a tower of cupcakes. In the basement, a very white, bipartisan Soul Train was getting down to hip-hop. David Gregory, the "Meet the Press" host, and Newsweek's Jon Meacham gave speeches about Fischer. Over by the jambalaya, Alan Greenspan picked up some Mardi Gras beads and placed them around the neck of his wife, NBC's Andrea Mitchell, who bristled and quickly removed them. Allen was there too, of course...
The Times story doesn't mention Quinn Gillespie's clients: AARP, BlackRock, Cayman Finance, the National Association of Realtors -- a collection of special interests whose agenda may not coincide so well with that of the rest of the nation. Every time that Meet the Press deals with Social Security or Medicare reform, the home mortgage deduction, or TARP, is it going to disclose that the executive producer's birthday party was hosted by a lobbyist for the AARP, BlackRock, and the National Association of Realtors?
I get flack in the comments for writing about "elites," but the presence of top Republican and Democratic and press figures at this sort of event is the sort of thing that leads a lot of Americans to believe that the Washington establishment is part of the problem in this country.
Not that the press shouldn't mingle with sources or that Republicans and Democrats shouldn't be friends. If Meet the Press ever wants to invite me on (a possibility that, already slim, had been diminished to a near vanishing point by this item), I'd be happy to appear. Still -- and maybe this is what the Times magazine article wants -- a reader is left with the impression that this crowd is part of the problem in this country rather than part of the solution. Anyway, you'd think the ostentatiously spiritual David Gregory would rather be home on Friday night.
The Times article should be discounted a bit because it comes from a Politico competitor jealous of the site's success. But it's on to something in those paragraphs.