Who better to hold up a mirror to the Washington Press Corps than Jim Manley, a 21-year veteran of Capitol Hill flackery, who has had a lot of time to ponder the different kinds of reporters he has dealt with over the years.
He took one hour out of his precious time this week at Quinn Gillespie & Associates, where he’s senior director, to lay out what he sees are the 11 different kinds of reporters out there. Some examples: “The “Do you know who I am?” reporter and The Hildy Johnson — those reporters who want to take over the media world and are lumped in together “but too damn bad,” he writes, explaining this type needs constant care and feeding.
All of this, just in time for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, to which he wasn’t invited to this year. “As many an indication that my star has fallen a little bit, I will not be going this year,” he told The Mirror in an impromptu phone interview this afternoon. “It’s gotten too much for me. It’s gotten increasingly difficult to handle.”
He didn’t seem too broken up about it. “All things come to pass, so no worries,” he added.
Manley explained that his moment of brilliance came after Roll Call put together the 9 different types of flacks this week.
Asked about the changing media landscape in which the partisan press has grown significantly stronger than when even he was on Capitol Hill working for lawmakers such as the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. Maj. Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Manley stressed that he is certainly aware of the increasing presence of this growing breed of reporter. “As I tried to say in the piece, I have no problem if you’re coming at me from the left or the right,” he said. “Most of them are the straight shooters.”
Manley acknowledges that lawmakers’ offices know which partisan reporters will carry their messages. “That’s something that flacks have to be very cognizant of, [they need to be reminded] not to get bogged down with that. I’ll just say it’s a dangerous game and it’s getting more prevalent. but there are still straight shooters out there. I always went out of my way to have contact with Fox News knowing full well Ari Fleischer and Karl Rove were sitting there watching Fox News. I always felt it was good to work with them.”
He said the culture of flacks using certain reporters as PR arms is “too bad” and “problematic” but “it is what it is.”
Manley assured that he created his list with great affection. “I did this with a great deal of fondness and respect for the press corps,” he said.
See Manley’s 11 types of reporters here and have fun downing Bloody Mary’s at Tammy Haddad‘s garden brunch without him.