The Mirror

Politico Morning Newsletter Reeks Of Self-Importance

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Ever heard those car alarms that sound like this? BLEEP! BLEEP! BLEP! Siiiiirrrroonnnn. BLEEP! BLEEP! BLEP! Siiiiirrrroonnn. Siiiiirrronnn. BLEEP! BLEEP! BLEEP! Okay, we’ll stop. But add a sprinkling of This Town attitude and that’s a hint at what it feels like to wake up to “Morning Shift,” Politico‘s newest “must-read” labor and employment newsletter.

The newsletter is officially by Brian Mahoney, but co-stars Mike Elk, a rather unusual new hire for Politico, with Adam Levine‘s uncle Timothy Noah. Mahoney was previously a reporter for Law360, a news wire. Elk is the  former labor reporter for InTheseTimes who formerly made merciless fun of Politico and some of its employees. Noah worked as a senior editor for the lefty pub The New Republic.

This morning they got down to business reinventing the moniker VIP. It now means: Very Important Politico. Later on, they warn, “Ignore us at your peril! In one item, they announce a labor liaison job opening at the White House. Job apps go to Valerie Jarrett at the White House Office of Public Engagement.  They crack, “Tell her Morning Shift sent ya!”

They also brag about how rushed and well-sourced they are.

“DC TAXIS MAKE NOISE OVER UBER, LYFT: Morning Shift was speeding to lunch in a Virginia-based cab when it stumbled into the middle of an actual labor protest. Dozens of D.C. taxis clogged the streets in front of the John A. Wilson Building, the District’s city hall. The drivers, many of them Teamsters, were voicing opposition to letting Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar operate permanently in the nation’s capital, as D.C. is currently proposing.

We take no side in this dispute. But Morning Shift had a lunch to get to –  with, as it happens, a key source in the labor movement. So we hopped out of our cab and hoofed it.”

At the close of the newsletter is some advice. Will this be like Politico Playbook proprietor Mike Allen‘s “Facts of Life?”

THAT ENDS ANOTHER EDITION OF MORNING SHIFT. Now get off your duff and earn an honest day’s pay!

Most impressive is the kind of talk we might come to expect of Elk, all of which was said within the past year. A good thing media writer Dylan Byers is all the way out in LA, right?

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Well, now they’re not only going to pay him to read Politico, but write for it too. After he was hired he sang quite a different tune.

“I’m excited to join @TimothyNoah1 @politico in building the biggest labor news desk in US – I already feel an immigrants love for the place,” Elk wrote on Twitter upon getting hired.

He also writes drunk, which might help explain this morning’s newsletter that gives you a pounding headache while reading it, what, with the self-inflating comments, threats and such. 1. “2 stories & 2,600 words already written today, the last 1,000 drunk will be tougher.” (November, 2012) 2. He’s also quite a whiner at times: “I can barely breathe that is how sick I feel. (October, 2012.) And this: “I got a pretty bad case of the dumb fucks today – just struggling on another level.” (August, 2012) 3. A perennial favorite: “Fuck some asshole delegate brought a baby to RNC – someone call protective services.” (August, 2012.)

Let’s look at the bright side. If things get tough for Elk at Politico as he tries to contain himself and behave in the civilized, leashed way that most Politico employees do, he can always lean on his mother.

“My mother used to fart a lot when I was a kid and then blame it on me in public,” he said for a Mother’s Day feature on how journalists have let their mom’s down at some point in their lives. “Occasionally, I would be like no mom you farted, I dont know if that she was disappointed I wouldn’t take the fall for the fart, but she was certainly embarrassed.”