It has been over two-months since Washington Post media reporter Erik Wemple dropped a bombshell on Politico with a meticulously researched report that alleges Politico’s influential Playbook editor, Mike Allen, rewards advertisers with glowing coverage. The response from Politico thus far has been to dismiss, downplay, and ignore Wemple’s reporting as “nonsense.”
No one else in media wrote it off as nonsense, though, including some of Politico’s allies on the left. Tuesday, the Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone reports that Politico’s game plan of ignore and deny doesn’t appear to be working. Politico honchos John Harris and Jim VandeHei are scheduled to visit The Washington Post tomorrow to discuss Wemple’s report:
So far, Allen has been silent on the matter. He didn’t answer Wemple’s queries prior to publication or at a public event after the story ran on Nov. 20.
While VandeHei and Harris haven’t engaged Wemple’s line of questioning about Playbook’s sponsors, each has criticized his coverage in recent interviews.
During an December appearance on WNYC, VandeHei said he thought Wemple’s “piece was nonsense, which is why we didn’t play ball with him on it.” On Fox News, Harris described Wemple’s report as “more of a suggestion, insinuation, innuendo in a really unfair way.” Playbook, Harris said, is “totally transparent.”
While Wemple’s reporting did not make a big splash as a four-alarm media scandal, everyone in media read it, knows it is out there, and knows that Politico has yet to seriously address a serious piece of reporting.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC