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Hullabaloo


Monday, April 29, 2013

 
Villagers on steroids

by digby

I wrote a throw away post the other day about this nauseating Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen piece on an upcoming book about the Village. But I wasn't paying close enough attention to see what the whole thing is about. This article by Jim Newell in TNR spells is all out and it is fascinating. The one thing I got right in my brief analysis is that Politico thinks it's all about them. Turns out it is:

Now we know that the damage-control strategy Politico has been putting together over the last couple of years begins today, three months before the book's release. Here are some of the rumored inclusions Allen's heard about, such as the ones about himself and the media outlet that defines him:

The targets are the worst-kept secrets in this town, an overused expression of D.C. insiders: Robert Barnett; Tammy Haddad; the people transacting or showboating at Tim Russert’s funeral; the warring factions in Obama’s campaign and White House; former Obama aides who try to cash in; and Kurt Bardella, the House aide who was fired when POLITICO reported that he had been forwarding reporters’ emails to Leibovich. Oh, and POLITICO broadly and Mike Allen specifically.

Do you, reader, know who Tammy Haddad is? The answer is most likely no. She's a "former TV producer" or something, whatever. Google says she is now a media consultant. Good for her. But she's not a household name for most people. But to Allen, VandeHei and a few dozen other D.C. social-sceners whose main goal each calendar year is to get invited to her White House Correspondents' Dinner weekend "garden party," she is apparently so well known that nowhere in this article, a good quarter of which is about her, do they bother explaining who Tammy Haddad is. In their minds, "Tammy Haddad," along with, perhaps, Jesus Christ or George Washington or Lindsey Lohan, is in that elite class of universal name recognition that allow a reporter to skip the basic journalistic step of explaining who the person you're writing about is.

The closest thing we get to an explanation of Haddad's importance is this modest afterthought: "For what it’s worth, Haddad is a friend who has thrown parties for us. Come to think of it, she has thrown parties for virtually every other person and cause we know." Likewise, Allen and VandeHei mention that "Washington's super-lawyer" Robert Barnett will be another big target of the book, then add, "Barnett once represented us for a brief period. Come to think of it, he represents almost everybody we know." In this way, throughout the piece, the authors try to inoculate themselves and their company from Leibovich's thesis. We don't deserve to be singled out, because everyone we know has these same relationships. So in attempting to soften whatever embarrassments Politico may suffer upon release, they end up explicitly confirming Leibovich's points about the incestuous, too-cozy relationships among Washington's elite.
It's very hard to read the original VandeAllen piece without rushing for a barf bag. But this piece in TNR makes it all worthwhile. This is the Village run amock for all the world to see.


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