The Mirror

Politico Requests Examples Of ‘Egregious Bragging’ (Yeah, Seriously)

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Politico Playbook, Washington’s famed morning tip sheet written by Chief White House correspondent Mike Allen, has requested examples of “egregious bragging” for a new all-caps feature called “BRAG OF THE DAY.”

“IF YOU SEE AN EGREGIOUS BRAG, drop us a copy of the memo or email, or a link, and we’ll share it with the group:,” wrote Allen.

They need not go far. How about a look in the mirror? Their own mirror, that is.

Here we have editor-in-chief John Harris is a memo to staff in October, 2013:

POLITICO’s congressional reporters and editors have left not just their colleagues but the entire city in awe…of their sourcing, of their expertise on the personalities and process playing out on Capitol Hill, of their keen judgment during the most intense and competitive deadline situations, and of their indefatigable commitment to stay on top of the story. Very often it was as if we had hidden microphones in the private meetings as lawmakers plotted strategy and argued over options.”

And this from a Harris memo in November, 2012:

 *The newsroom continued to set the Washington and national agenda on our core subjects — a triumph visible on a daily basis. We broke our own records for traffic in August, September, October and November. We have had an amazing 25 million unique visitors in November alone. No one covered the campaigns with more depth, insight and edge than our team — and we are doing the same on the fiscal cliff debate unfolding before us.”

In January of 2013, they even renamed one of their techy people “Christ.” (Source: me, FishbowlDC.) Accidental biblical mention? Perhaps.

“Thanks to the development team who created the landing pages for the website, numerous job widgets and helping to launch the back end system. We really appreciate your hard work on this launch! Michael Marcialis, Jen Dryer, Ryan Mannion, Mike Devich, Paul Frederiksen, Christ Buddie, Walker Pitman and Chris Behm.” [His name should be Chris Buddie, not Jesus.]

In May, 2013, Jonathan Martin left Politico for the New York Times. Politico took the moment to congratulate themselves on a job well done.

First, they cited a meeting between VandeHarris and Martin in a Shirlington restaurant (yes, Shirlington). This is when they first laid eyes on Martin, who was, from their perspective, an obvious “natural.” Next, they complimented themselves for hiring such a God-like figure of journalism.

“From the POLITICO perspective, this is a day less for regret than excitement. We have an opportunity—indeed, from both Robert Allbritton and Fred Ryan we have an unambiguous order—to use this moment as a springboard. …At the reportorial level, on the politics, White House, Congress and policy teams, this place is filled with natural leaders—people who set an example for others to follow within the newsroom, and whose work echoes loudly beyond it.”

“Our success since POLITICO’s launch in January 2007 has allowed our ambitions to broaden and deepen in many areas. One core mission has remained unchanged since that night at Carlyle: This place is about creating a home for the nation’s top journalists, and allowing them a platform to have more impact and more fun than any other place in the business.”

Wait, was that an announcement that one of their reporters was leaving?

In October, 2013, then-Executive Editor Jim VandeHei, now President and CEO, compared Publisher Robert Allbritton to a cheetah:

“Robert Allbritton understands this time in media better than any publisher in the game today. While others retrench, Robert invests. While others worry, Robert pounces.”

VandeHei in that same memo:

“We have never had as much editing and reporting firepower as we do today. That’s not hyperbole. That’s fact.”

Egregious examples of bragging? Oh, how soon they forget.